The ultimate guide to
intensive driving courses

Are you thinking of taking a crash course, but unsure of a few things?
Here's everything you need to know about intensives, but were afraid to ask.

Taking an intensive driving course is the quickest way to learn how to drive and pass your test. 

With an intensive, you can get everything done and dusted in a week or two (instead of taking months or even years). 

There's lots to know about them, so we've created a guide to help you decide if this route is for you.

Either click on the section that interests you the most or settle back, start scrolling and get fully clued up.

A cartoon man and car

What are intensive driving courses?

An intensive driving course is something that's specifically designed to help learners pass their test as quickly as possible, much faster than by taking traditional driving lessons every week or so.

With a more intensive lesson schedule and a sharper focus, it's possible to drastically cut down on the amount of time required to pass your test. And they save learners plenty of cash too.

​According to Government surveyson average, UK learners buy 52 hours of professional driving lessons and take around 14 months to pass their driving test. That's quite a commitment.

It's a helluva financial outlay as well, so who wouldn't want an alternative? 

But teaching someone to drive and getting them to pass their test in a short space of time is tough. The tuition needs to be both carefully structured and expertly delivered.

Also, learners must pick a course with the right duration.

Quality instructors see 40 hours as being the optimum amount of training required to teach a complete beginner how to drive from scratch. That's the ball-park figure and your ideal course depends on how much previous driving experience you have.

Although there are no set rules, intensives tend to consist of 4-hour blocks of continual driving and you're typically looking at either a 12, 16, 20, 24, 32 or 40-hour intensive driving course.

Therefore, if you've had approximately 10 hours of lessons before, you'd be looking at a 32-hour crash course. By contrast, if you've had 30 hours of tuition (and maybe failed a driving test already), then a short 12-hour intensive should be fine.

The instructors on our platform understand that every learner is different. Some have zero experience, others have had been behind the wheel with other instructors or friends and family.

Also, some learners progress quicker than others. Luckily, if you book an intensive with an instructor listed on our website, everything's flexible and sessions can be added or removed with no hassle.

That means if you breeze through your course with lessons to spare, any unused hours will be refunded to you (please allow up to 21 working days for refunds to be processed). Equally, if you require a few extra hours to be added to your course, that's no problem either.

And remember that you're in full control of the schedule. If you'd like to learn how to drive and pass your test in 5 days flat, you can. But if you want to spread the lessons out over a few weeks, that's fine as well. You'll see all the instructors' availability, so pick what works for you.

For the record, you may also hear intensive driving courses referred to as crash courses, a driving crash course or crash course driving lessons.

And note that intensives are not to be confused with an advanced driving course or the Pass Plus. These are optional courses that some drivers choose to take after they've passed their test to enhance their driving skills and reduce their insurance premiums.

How do I book an intensive course with you?

Unlike going through a driving school, we offer you full control of every aspect of your course.

We've done the hard work and assembled a database of reliable driving instructors who meet our high standards. Simply enter your postcode into our smart booking system and we'll show you all the ones nearby.

You'll be able to see their profile, prices and past reviews. 

Plus, you can access their calendar. That means you can book out a schedule to suit you. Want to learn in a week? No probs. Rather sessions over a month? That's cool. Prefer to have a female instructor on a Monday afternoon? You get the picture.

Basically, you decide when and where you take your lessons, who they're with and for how much. Oh and our instructors cover 99% of UK postcodes, so you'll always be about to find an intensive driving course near you.

How much do intensive driving courses cost?

We allow our instructors to set their own fees and give you the freedom to choose between them based on their credentials.

But generally speaking, intensive driving course prices can vary dramatically depending on how long your course is and where it's taking place. Usually, instructors charge anything between £15-40 an hour, with the average cost of a driving lesson being £24. 

You can work out approximate totals by multiplying the number of hours in the intensive course you're thinking of taking by the price the instructor is charging. As an example, 40-hour intensive at £24 would work out at £960.

Let's calculate your savings on that.

If you had 52 hours of weekly lessons (which is the national average), you'd shell out £1,248 learning how to drive. That figure doesn't include any tests (theory or practical, nor any retakes), so taking an intensive would put £288 back into your pocket.

And remember, you're far more likely to pass your test with an intensive.

They have a really high pass rate because they're laser-focused, whereas the general pass rate for a driving test is just 45.8% (basically, most people fail).

What do you learn on a driving course?

It rather depends on whether you have any previous driving experience or not. And if you have driven before, whether you've mastered the basics or picked up some bad habits.

Clearly, a driving instructor must cover the same information on an intensive driving course as they would through more conventional driving lessons. From safety checks to maneuvering, junctions to roundabouts, overtaking to hazard awareness, everything will be covered.

That said, the instructors on our site are trained to quickly ascertain what a learner is good at and what they need to work on. As such, because time is tight, they’ll tend to focus on certain areas that must be improved.

Who can take an intensive driving courses?

Anyone can take an intensive driving course, so long as they hold a provisional driving license in either Great Britain or Northern Ireland.

You can apply for a provisional driving license when you’re 15 years and 9 months old, but you won’t be able to take any driving lessons or intensive driving courses until you’re 17.

You can apply for a provisional driving license on the official GOV UK website. Just ensure that you’re able to:

  • Read a number plate from 20 metres away.
  • Show a form of ID, such as a passport.
  • Present proof of address for the last 3 years.
  • Pay £34 by credit or debit card.

When you’ve done those things, your provisional licence should be with you in a week.

Speaking less technically for a moment, anyone can take an intensive driving course regardless of how much driving experience he or she has.

Most intensive driving courses are designed to take someone with zero knowledge to pass their test quickly, so don’t worry if you’ve not driven before.

If you're in any doubt as to the application process, check out our guide on learning to drive.

With an intensive, what happens with the test?

Normally, a daytime test costs £62 and an evening or weekend one costs £75. Either way, we'll automatically arrange and pay for your test as part of the service. 

The practical test will take place as close to the end of your course as possible. Clearly, we’ll try and arrange for your test to take place as soon as possible after completing your intensive course, but obviously we can’t guarantee exactly when that test date will be.

No driving school can.

We'll apply for your driving test as soon as you've booked your intensive course with us, so much will depend on how far ahead of time you book your course. 

If you book an intensive and your course is due to start in less than 8 weeks’ time, there may be a slight delay between finishing the course and taking your test.

If you were booking a driving test yourself via the Government's website, on average, it'll take 6-8 weeks to come through. But we check the DVSA database every 5 minutes for cancellations, which means we can usually get you a test in a few days.

However, please note a potential issue if you book a course and haven’t already passed your Theory Test.

By law, every learner must pass a Theory Test before they can take a practical, so if you were to fail your Theory Test during your intensive, you wouldn't be able to take your practical at the end of the course.

In that situation, you'd have to retake your Theory Test and book in another practical (at your expense), causing a potential delay.

Because of this, we advise learners to pass their Theory Test before taking an intensive course. But it's not a compulsory requirement; just please be aware of the risks involved.

Am I guaranteed a pass with an intensive?

This is a common question where intensive driving courses are concerned and the answer is simple: driving tests are always carried out by independent government testers, so no driving school or instructor can guarantee a pass.

That said, an intensive driving course will certainly be prepare you for your test. Crash courses have a high pass rate and you'll arguably be in better shape that if you had 52 hours of lessons spanning over a year.

So, whilst we can’t guarantee you’ll pass with 100% certainty, we’ve done this enough times to be very confident in our ability to train and prepare any learner driver thoroughly.

As unlikely as it is, if you fail your test, we've got a tried and tested plan for you to follow to make sure that it doesn't happen again.

Do I still need to pass a Theory Test?

Yes. By law, every learner must take and pass a Theory Test before they can take a practical driving test

We advise people to get this obstacle out the way before booking a crash course. The tight deadlines mean that if you were to fail your Theory Test during your intensive, your practical would have to be cancelled.

It's unlikely that you'd be able to book, take and pass another Theory Test at such short notice, so you'd have to complete your intensive lessons, pass your Theory Test and schedule another practical (causing a delay).

That might not bother you - this warning is more for learners who need to pass their test urgently (perhaps because of a new job) and can't risk anything going wrong.

Need help passing your Theory Test?

Check out our free guide.

Why are intensive driving courses good?

There are loads of reasons why intensives are awesome, but let’s start with the obvious one: speed.

A driving course means you’ll pass your test quickly. Whether that's within one week or over a few, it'll always be quicker than if you'd have taken traditional driving lessons.

People often wonder how long it takes to learn how to drive. Unfortunately, there’s no definitive answer. It depends on the learner, their natural ability and their level of motivation.

Whether you need to pass your test for a job, travelling to college or university, or if you just want some independence and freedom, who wants to learn for over a year?

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with taking a relaxed approach and taking your time, but such a lengthy commitment isn’t for everyone.

When met with an alternative, most people would choose the quickest option and with an intensive course, you could hook up with an instructor as early as next week and pass your test within a few days.

But there's also the money side of things.

At first glance, intensive driving courses can seem expensive. But when you drill down into the numbers, they usually end up being a much cheaper option (even if you don't realise it at the time).

Finally, the other awesome thing about intensives is, because the practical test is taken when all the knowledge is still fresh, pass rates are usually extremely high.

If you've been learning to drive for 14 months (like the national average), then can you really remember everything you were taught at the start? Intensives use momentum, which is crucial whenever you learn anything new in life.

What's the downside to taking an intensive?

The main issue with crash driving courses is that learners don't realise how intense they can be. Driving for 4 hours at a time over several days can be exhausting and you'll need to prepare yourself for a tiring time.

Some people can become overwhelmed, whilst others are inspired by the challenge. Either way, it's important to know going in that this won't be straightforward. 

Aside from that, the other thing that's sometimes levelled at intensives is that learners don’t pick up as much driving experience as they would if they were heading out on the road regularly over a longer period of time.

That argument doesn't seem to hold much weight, though. 

On the surface, it's reasonable to think that you'll pick up more experience if you were to have lessons for a year. But would you really? You'd actually be spending a similar amount of time behind the wheel.

Perhaps you could say that if you took an intensive during the summer months, then you'd need to master driving in difficult weather conditions in winter time. But that kind of experience can be acquired. 

Should I take an intensive driving course?

An intensive driving course isn’t for everyone, so this is a very personal decision.

There's no doubt that an intensives can seem a little extreme at times, so you should consider how good you are at coping with pressure.

Of course, if you’ve got a little bit of driving experience, then that will help. But really, so long as you know what you’re getting into and can demonstrate enthusiasm, then that’s half the battle.

A lot of this will come down to attitude and if you have a specific need to pass your test quickly then that will serve as great inspiration. Perhaps you need to be able to drive a car to college, travel to and from university, or commute to a new job, for instance.

What if my crash course gets too much?

If during your intensive driving course, you feel that you can’t handle the training, you need to speak to your driving instructor and see if there is any room flexibility.

It might be possible to stretch the lessons out over a longer period.

However, please note that once your intensive course has started, any kind of adaption is entirely at the discretion of your driving instructor. If your driving instructor is unable to accommodate your wishes, you must either complete the course or end it without a refund.

The best thing to do is think carefully about how you'd like your intensive to play out beforehand. If you're a little worried about it being too much, pick a schedule that's a little lighter at the booking stage.

Do I get much flexibility with an intensive?

Definitely. You’re the customer and the instructors will aim to work around your needs. Should you need to be picked up and dropped off at certain locations, please liaise with your driving instructor.

What will my driving instructor be like?

Know that driving instructors must meet our high standards if they are to operate on our platform. They're also continually being assessed.

They are all CRB-checked and fully qualified to DVSA standards, possessing all the skills needed to deliver an effective intensive course.

Look carefully at all the reviews, because good instructors must be great teachers, too. A quality instructor will be able to connect with learners and quickly ascertain what they’re good at and what needs work.

Everyone learns differently and the right driving instructor will know how to tailor a formal agenda to you and develop your skill level in a fun, relaxed environment.

What kind of car will I learn in?

This depends on the instructor you choose. Some teach in manual car, others in an automatic. Some will offer both options. But we insist that all cars come fully air conditioned and with power steering, electric mirrors, windows and everything you'd expect to be comfortable.

Unfortunately, you can’t learn to drive in your own car. Checking that learners have a car that's roadworthy and insured properly would be a logistical nightmare, so we insist that instructors use their own vehicles.

Also, bear in mind your long-term driving goals when choosing between the manual or automatic option.

Because you don’t have to worry about gears, clutch control and the like, driving an automatic car is much easier. However, as a result, you can’t drive a manual car until you’ve passed a manual test.

You should only choose automatic driving lessons if you’re 100% sure that you’ll be driving an automatic car when you pass your test.

Other common FAQs

Can I cancel my intensive driving course?

Can I cancel a session within my course?

Can my instructor cancel my course?

What if my instructor's car breaks down?

What if I need to cancel either of my tests?

What if I don't like my driving instructor?

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