On average, learners require 52 hours of lessons and take over a year to pass their test, so the idea of passing your test in a week or so is a tempting one.
An intensive driving course is pretty appealing, especially when you consider that an intensive saves you money as well as time.
However, it’s important to be realistic and practical.
We’ve specifically looked at whether it’s really possible to learn to drive in a week before, but let’s now be a little more general:
As a concept, do intensive driving courses actually work?
And if they do, why?
If you’re wondering whether you should take an intensive course, we’re going to look at the facts behind them so that you can make a more informed and rational decision.
If you take an intensive, you're really likely to pass the test at the end of the course.
Seriously, if you were to look at the stats, it's not even funny.
Intensive courses have a great pass rate, especially when compared to the average pass rate for normal lessons in the UK (which is only about 46%).
Let us explain why...
Learning to drive is demanding. There’s plenty to think about and it you take lessons every week, it’s easy to forget what you were taught (certainly some of the more subtle things).
By contrast, intensives don’t allow for this to happen. Because of the frequency of the lessons, learners tend to pick up the fundamentals much quicker.
And of course, with an intensive, you’re usually taking a test after your last session whilst everything’s still fresh in your mind.
However, despite all this, let's make one thing really clear:
If you take an intensive course, we can’t guarantee that you’ll pass the test at the end.
But no driving school can. All driving tests are carried out by independent examiners, so there’s no such thing as a guaranteed pass.
And that's also the case if you were taking traditional driving lessons.
Ultimately, we can't speak for other driving schools. But if you choose to take an intensive course with us, we’re really confident that we can help any learner, so long as they choose a course befitting their level of skill, knowledge and experience.
How long does it take to pass a crash course?
It depends on the course you choose.
We offer a number of different options, from short refresher courses for learners who’ve had lessons before, through to 40-hour intensives for beginners.
Everything comes down to previous driving experience and your level of skill, confidence and comfort.
And we give our pupils the chance to adjust the course (in terms of duration, plus adding lessons and removing sessions). So, the course schedule will also play a role.
Are intensive driving courses safe?
Pupils learn exactly the same things on an intensive as they do when they’re taking lessons on a weekly basis, so they’re perfectly safe.
One argument against intensives is that pupils don’t pick up as much driving experience as they do with traditional lesson schedules.
That’s kind of true. Certainly as far as weather conditions go. If you book an intensive course in the summer, then you won’t know what it’s like to drive in icy conditions.
But if we stop and think about it, is this a truly valid argument? How much extra experience will you actually build up with one lesson a week over a number of months? It’s debatable.
And anyway, experience is relative. The likelihood is that you’ll see something new every time you get behind the wheel, so where do you draw the line?
Ultimately, we think that the test is there for a reason – to prove that you can drive safely. And if you can pass the test, you’re good to go.
Some people wonder if intensives are a good thing, but there are no short cuts and experience can be built up over time after you've passed your test.
Are intensive driving courses worth it?
You might be wondering whether intensive driving courses are worth it in terms of value. Well, in terms of time, it’s a no-brainer.
The average learner in the UK takes over a year to become test-ready, so even if you were to take the longest course we offer and stretch it out over a few weeks, you’d still be saving months of your life.
That’s particularly important if you’ve got to pass your test quickly because of a job opportunity or if you need to travel to college.
As for money, a crash course will save you cash too.
On the surface, it’s easy to become put off at the cost of most intensives.
They don’t seem that cheap at first glance, particularly when you’re laying down a deposit and then having to pay the rest quite soon after.
But, in reality, this is a mere inconvenience. A crash course will put money back in your pocket over the long-term.
Suppose you were to have one lesson a week for a year (which is a conservative guess). If you had lessons with a driving instructor who charged £35 an hour, you’d be forking out £1,820.
That doesn't guarantee you a pass, nor does it include a theory test or a practical driving test.
Compare that to our pass-in-a-week course for instance, where you’ll pay £1,199, get all your tests arranged and paid for as part of the service, plus be much more likely to pass.
Money-wise, there's a huge difference – in this case, a saving of over £600. Then you've got the time element and the luxury of having everything sorted out for you.
Surely that’s got to be worth the short-term financial hit?
Can you handle what an intensive brings?
Many people ask if an intensive course is easy and the answer is no. Some people might find them okay but it’s challenging for most learners.
You learn the same things on an intensive as you would during traditional, long-term driving lessons… only on a much tighter schedule. Whilst a crash course might seem doable, don’t underestimate the extra stress that comes with having a test looming.
Suddenly, failing to grasp a particular manoeuvre becomes more frustrating and you need to prepare for a pretty hectic time.
Essentially, intensive driving courses are for people who need to pass their test quickly (maybe for a job or students who have to travel to college).
The point is, unless you're someone that works well under pressure, you need a reason for taking an intensive. You need a clear incentive.
If not, just wanting to pass quicker might not be a good enough reason to take one of these courses.
If you’re having second thoughts, don’t worry. Deciding whether to take an intensive or not isn't a question of coping with either a week of hell or boring lessons for months on end - there are plenty of options which will offer the best of both worlds.
How about a semi-intensive driving course as a compromise?
A semi-intensive driving course is spread out over a little more time. So, instead of racing through everything you need to learn in just a week or two, you could stretch out the schedule.
You’d still be saving loads of time and money.
What happens if I start an intensive and don’t like it?
You might find an intensive course really easy, but we think it's important to be upfront about the demands that come with them so that you make the right decision for you.
Because of the logistical demands of organising an intensive (from blocking out extensive sessions in an instructor's calendar through to booking tests), we don’t offer refunds once a course has started.
There might be an opportunity to adjust how the course plays out once it's started, but this is at your instructor's discretion. Once it's begun, it must be completed one way or another.
And whilst it’s our job to make sure you get a pass, we’ll need your help as well.
A crash course will require hard work and dedication. As such, for an intensive course to get the desire result, you’ll need to be highly motivated and to be good at coping under pressure.
In summary, intensive driving courses definitely work, but only with the right learner.
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Read our ultimate guide to intensive courses.
How to pass your Theory Test [2019 guide]