Are intensive driving courses worth it?

Find out all about intensive driving courses, from what they cost to whether they really work

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What is an intensive driving course?

An intensive driving course is a course that provides many hours of driving tuition in a short space of time, with the aim of getting learners to pass their practical driving test faster. Intensive driving courses vary in length, price and how effective they are.

How long does an intensive driving course take?

You can find intensive driving courses of many different lengths. Week-long intensive driving courses are popular and generally require learners to commit to the course full-time for the duration of the week. Busier learners may be able to find courses that label themselves intensive, but that spread out the number of lesson hours over a slightly longer period of time.

Is an intensive driving course easier?

The short answer is no, they’re not. Regardless of whether you choose to take 2 hours of driving lessons a week or you take a week-long course, you will still need to take exactly the same driving test with far less time to mentally prepare.

Some learner drivers might find an intensive course easier, but that’s purely down to the way an individual likes to learns. Whilst some learners can struggle with the pressure of an intensive driving course, others find the fast pace to be stimulating and beneficial.

Do intensive driving courses work?

They’re are a popular option for learners who want to pass their driving test quickly, but are intensive driving courses effective?

Well, it's true that many learners are able to pass their driving test after taking an intensive driving course, but learning to drive isn't just about taking the driving test. There are concerns over the safety of leaning over such a short time period. You won’t have built up experience driving in a variety of different road and weather conditions, or have built up muscle memory around specific driving skills and routines. This raises questions around how well rounded you’ll be as a driver.

What is the pass rate for intensive driving courses?

Pass rates for intensive driving courses vary between schools. However, because you're guaranteed to take your test at the end of an intensive course, it's possible that you could take the test without being ready. This is in contrast to weekly driving lessons, where you'll wait until you're ready to book the test.

The UK pass rate for the driving test in 2018-19 is 45.7% (or 38.8% in an automatic).

Are intensive driving courses really worth it?

To help you decide whether an intensive driving course is worth it, we’ve listed out some pros and cons.

Pros

  • Intensive driving courses allow people to get on the road quickly. If you need your driving licence suddenly for employment, or for any other urgent reason then an intensive course may be a good option.
  • In some cases, going intensive could be more cost effective, as you’re paying for a set number of lessons with a definite test date at the end of it. With non-intensive learning, you could be tempted to take extra lessons to sure up things, in the meantime putting off your test, meaning you end up spending more on lessons.

Cons

  • If you don’t pass first time on an intensive course, you may feel like you’ve wasted money. With non-intensive lessons, you can wait to take your test only when you’re confident of passing, to give you the best chance of passing first time.

  • There are concerns over how safe intensive driving courses are. It’s debated whether learner drivers get enough on-road experience on an intensive course, with some road safety organisations criticising how well equipped the learner would be for solo-driving.

  • Learner drivers who take intensive driving courses might not have the benefit of experiencing varied road and weather conditions. Although your driving instructor may be able to do some night lessons, weather conditions may not change enough over a week-long period to fully prepare you for life as a qualified motorist. You may pass faster, but you won’t be as well-rounded a driver as you could be.

Before you decide whether or not to go for an intensive driving course, it might help to book an assessment driving lesson with a driving instructor. Some intensive courses make an assessment lesson compulsory. This will give you an idea of whether an intensive driving course is the right option for you before you commit to the whole thing.

How much is an intensive driving course?

Intensive driving course prices depend on how much the driving instructor or driving school you choose charges. The overall cost of an intensive course is generally based on the full course rather than on an hourly rate, but this may differ depending on who you take your course with.

That said, taking an intensive driving course is unlikely to work out cheaper than spreading your lessons out over a long period of time. If you take your intensive driving lessons with a school who specialises in these courses, you’re likely to pay a premium for the pleasure of taking all your driving lessons in such a short period of time.

Some courses also offer ‘guaranteed pass’ schemes, which can mean they won’t charge you if you fail your test and need to take extra lessons before your retake (subject to individual school terms and conditions). In this case, you get the best value for money if you fail your first test and take the school up on the free lessons - otherwise, you’re effectively subsidising the extra lessons other learners need to take.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that an intensive driving course might not give you the time to do your own private practice between lessons, so you’ll be paying for all your experience behind the wheel rather than being able to hone your skills for free between classes.

Do intensive driving courses include the theory test?

Some intensive driving courses will train you to take your theory test, whereas others will expect you to have passed your theory test before you start the course. If you’re looking to get the best value for money, you might prefer a course that doesn’t include the theory test, because that’s something you can train for in private - then the entire cost of your course will go towards preparing you for the practical test.

That said, many learners find it helpful to prepare for their practical and theory tests at the same time, as they each feed into the other and enhance your understanding. So, it really is up to you to choose the best intensive driving course for you.

Topping up your intensive driving course

If you do choose to take an intensive driving course, you might also want to enhance your on-road experience with a Pass Plus course. Once you’ve passed your driving test and you’ve got your driving licence, a Pass Plus course will allow you to gain some more experience of driving in different road and weather conditions.