Why can’t I book a driving test?

See our tips on increasing your chances of getting a driving test sooner and what is being done about the driving test backlog.


By Marmalade Author

Updated on Nov 21st, 2022

The burning question every learner driver is eager to, finally, get an answer to. And understandably so! The driving test backlog is one of the many consequences of lockdown in 2020, leaving countless learners with no choice but to wait, and wait they have. So the question is - how do I book a driving test sooner with the backlog?

Whether you have a driving test booked or you’re still in the process of getting one, you might find it useful to go through our Driving Test Checklist to prepare. One of the biggest problems the backlog has caused for young drivers is the delay in independence and freedom - 68% reported feeling this way. You can find more backlog related articles on our Driver Hub, such as Everything you need to know about the driving test wait times and Learners spending more than ever.

How do I book a driving test sooner?

If you’re still yet to book a driving test, you may be eager to get on the road but disappointed in how long it seems to be taking. You can read our ultimate guide on How To Book A Driving Test which includes everything you need to know, but some quick tips include:

  • Check the DVSA website regularly (the DVSA posts tests on a Monday for up to 24 weeks away) 
  • Seek help from your driving instructor as they may have the most recent information on availability
  • Get your test sooner through a cancellation 
  • Widen your test search, some instructors are willing to travel to nearby towns for practical exams where there may be more availability 

How do I get a driving test cancellation?

If you already have a driving test booked and want to bring it forward, you may want to try the cancellation technique. This is simply moving your test to a slot that’s become available through another learner’s cancellation. To do that, there are a few different ways - a test cancellation app (such as Testi), the DVSA website, and driving schools. Apps have varying success rates, especially now that the DVSA are actively blocking them to make the playing field a little bit fairer, so use them with caution that they may not be as successful as they were for learners in the past. The DVSA website frequently updates driving test slots and is directly connected to driving test centres so make it a habit to check for new slots often!

What is being done to reduce driving test wait times?

It’s been an uphill climb to get back on our feet post-lockdown, and the DVSA have had an overwhelming amount of learner drivers waiting for their turn to get on the road. However, changes to the system have been made in order to decrease wait times. This includes:

  • Providing test slots on weekends and bank holidays.
  • Offering examiners overtime
  • Inviting recently retired examiners to conduct tests 

This has resulted in an estimated total increase of 124,000 test appointments being available! You can take a look at this DVSA article to read further about the changes made to ease the situation.


On the test backlog, Chief Executive of DVSA Loveday Ryder said: “We are doing all we can to provide as many tests as possible so we can get our services back to normal. I know learners will be keen to take their test now, but it is important that they are properly prepared for their test and don’t take it before they are ready.

With more than half of candidates failing, and demand currently extremely high for tests, learners should only take their test when they are confident they can pass. This will help them to avoid a lengthy wait for a retest and help us by not adding to the driving test waiting list.”


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