How to book a driving test

There's lots of confusion as to when and how you can book a driving test in the UK at the moment - check out our guide for the answers to your questions!

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By Megan

Updated on Apr 16th, 2021

You’ve put the time in, your insurance is sorted, you’ve done plenty of practice and you’ve smashed your theory test. You’re finally feeling confident behind the wheel and your driving instructor is making positive noises about booking your driving test. Great news! If you’re a young driver in the UK, you’re probably wondering “How do I book my driving test?”. Well, fear not, we’ve got the ultimate guide.

We’ve highlighted what you can expect when booking a practical car driving test, as well as anything that may change due to COVID-19. 

*The DVSA have announced that face coverings must still be worn during your driving test

Can I book a driving test?

Driving tests have now resumed post lockdown, and anyone eligible can now book a driving test in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. You can book your test online through the GOV website.

Whilst this is very exciting news, many learner drivers are now unfortunately facing long wait times for a practical driving test slot to become available. 

Driving test waiting times

Due to lockdown and the backlog of driving lessons and tests, there are considerable wait times for learner drivers wanting to now book their driving test which many learners are finding very frustrating. Whilst some may be lucky and get a driving test soon, most learners are looking at lengthy delays for their driving test - some saying they've not been able to book a test for several months. To help you make sense of what is going on we have put together a guide to everything you need to know about the UK driving test wait times.

How long is the wait for a driving test? 

The wait times for driving tests will differ between each test centre. The best way to find out what the wait times are for your local test centre is to head to the DVSA website where you can find your nearest test centre. There are also no official driving test waiting lists - it is a case of booking a test at the earliest slot available at the time of booking.

Driving test cancellations

Even if you have booked your driving test but you want to get an earlier one, keeping an eye on available slots at your local test centre is a good idea as there may be a cancelled driving test from another person you can opt for. There are driving test cancellation apps such as 'Driving Test Cancellations 4 All' and 'Driving Test Cancellations Now' which help learner drivers pick up driving test slots that have been cancelled by other learners. 

How to stay prepared for a driving test when waiting

Whether you’ve got your test booked, or you’re waiting to get one booked, getting insured on a family car for extra practice in the meantime could help you get prepped to pass first time when the date finally comes! Also check out our blog on how to stay ready when waiting for a test.

How do I book a driving test?

Booking a driving test is super simple and is all done online.

Before you start you’ll need:

  • UK driving licence number
  • Credit or debit card (the cost of the test is £62 on a weekday or £75 on a weekend), and your theory test reference number.
  • Your instructor’s personal reference number if you want to check they’re available, unless you’re choosing to take the test in your own car.

Remember – you’ll still be required to wear a face covering during your driving test, unless you are medically exempt, which must be stated when you apply for your test. Wearing glasses does not count as a valid reason not to wear a face covering. If you are unable to wear a mask due to medical reasons, you may not be able to take the test at the centre of your choice. 

The new driving test booking system

Due to overwhelming demand to book driving tests, the system in which to book a driving test has changed over the last few months. Here's a run down of what you can expect: 

  • Head to the GOV website to book your driving test.
  • When you choose 'start now' on the booking page, you may be put into a queue if there are lots of people trying to book at that time.
  • If you are put in a queue - must remain in the queue (not close your browser) or you will lose your place.
  • When you're told it's your turn - you will have 10 minutes to start your booking.
  • You will be asked to select a preferred date and your chosen test centre.
  • Depending on whether there is availability you will either see a calendar which highlights the dates where tests are available, or you may see a message to let you know there are no available times.
  • There is no waiting list or cancellation list - you can only book what you see online.
  • If your local test centre is fully booked, shown a list of your nearest alternative test centres, which you could check for availability.
  • All available appointments are shown online - the DVSA customer service centre does not have access to any other appointments.

Do I have to re-take my theory test if it expired during lockdown?

Unfortunately, if you’re a resident in England, Wales or Scotland, and your Theory Test Certificate expired during lockdown you will be required to pass the Theory Test again before you book a new driving test. However, for Northern Ireland residents, theory test certificates which were due to expire between March 1 and October 31 this year will be extended by eight months.

We’d recently petitioned for the extension of theory test certificates for those who have seen them expire during lockdown, after learning how much lockdown has cost learner drivers. The government announced they would not be extending any certificates so to help, we're giving you the money back for the cost of your theory test!

Can I book a Theory test?

The good news is that you can book your theory test if you’re a learner driver, and it can be done fairly painlessly online.

Theory tests are currently going ahead, depending on your local restrictions. If you have a theory test booked, you will be contacted should it not be going ahead.

How do I book my theory test?

Head over to the GOV. website to book your Theory Test online. To save yourself time, make sure you have the following to hand before you apply:

  • UK driving licence number
  • Email address – you have to book by phone if you do not have one
  • Credit or debit card

The cost of the Car Theory test is £23.

If you’re looking to get your practical or theory test booked in soon, we’ve written a guide to what to expect in the practical driving test or the theory driving test with the new COVID-19 rules to help you be prepared!

Practice makes Perfect

Short term learner insurance allows you to practise in a parent's or friend's car and get test ready!
Get a quote in seconds and get covered in minutes - with no risk to the car owner's No Claims Discount
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By Megan

Hi, I'm Megan - I have recently graduated from university and I'm a marketing executive at Marmalade! I am a new driver myself and would love to share my tips, tricks and experiences with you :)

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