Are you on the fence about taking an intensive driving course?
If you are, it might be because of all the myths out there about intensives, most of which are either unhelpful or just flat out untrue.
It’s no wonder that you’re not sure what to do. Learning to drive is a memorable moment in life: a rite of passage. Committing to an intensive course is a big decision and inaccurate rumours don’t help anyone.
With this in mind, we decided to take 11 of the most common myths about intensive driving courses in a bid to expose the truth and give you some clarity. Then you can make an informed decision about whether taking one of these courses is right for you.
Myth: If you take an intensive driving course, you're guaranteed to pass your test
We probably get asked more about guaranteed passes than anything else. A lot of people mistakenly assume that simply taking an intensive course is enough to get them a pass.
However, all UK driving tests are arranged through the government and are carried out by independent examiners. It’s quite simple: no driving school can test a learner, so no driving school can guarantee a pass.
But it’s not all bad news. We think that you’re entitled to some assurances when you’re booking an intensive and at Learn, Think, Drive, we promise that you’ll be completely ready for your driving test after taking one of our courses.
We’ll ensure that you have all the tools, skills and knowledge you need to pass your driving test easily. And given our impressive stats, we think that’s as close to a guaranteed pass as you’ll get.
Plus, you know what? If you’re the type of person who needs some sort of security, then don’t worry. Should the unthinkable happen and you do fail your test, we won’t just leave you in the lurch. We have a tried and trusted plan for what happens next.
Myth: Taking an intensive course is easier than having traditional lessons
Intensives are more effective than regular lessons in terms of pass rates because of the heightened level of focus. However, it doesn’t change the fact that driving is a complex activity that requires both physical and mental training.
We’re not sure why people would assume that taking an intensive course is easy. Maybe they think intensives miss out certain things in order to meet the shorter deadlines?
In reality, the requirements are exactly the same regardless of whether you’re learning to drive across 14 days or 14 months. But obviously the shorter the timeframe, the more of a challenge it will be for the average Joe or Jane.
Taking an intensive is definitely more difficult than having non-intensive lessons.
Myth: If you're taking an intensive course, learners don't need to pass a Theory Test
Many learners are so seduced by the thought of learning to drive and passing their test in a week or so, that they forget about the rules of the road.
By law, all UK learners must pass a Theory Test before they can take a practical test. You definitely need your theory - absolutely nothing changes just because you’re being fast-tracked via an intensive course.
Okay, so is this an issue? Well, if you take an intensive having already passed your Theory Test, then no. But if you book yourself onto a course and you haven’t got your theory, there are a couple of potential scenarios which are worth knowing about.
Intensive or otherwise, both your theory and practical test must be arranged through a third-party (the government). If you book an intensive with us, we’ll organise and pay for both your tests, but obviously we can’t guarantee exactly when your tests will take place.
Most of the time, everything will flow smoothly and run according to plan. You’ll start your intensive, take your theory test and then have your practical at the end of your course.
However, if you fail your theory, this might cause an issue. We’ll need to rearrange another theory test and if there’s delay, this means cancelling and rescheduling your practical too. It’s unlikely to happen, but it’s good to be aware.
It’s also worth mentioning that if your practical test has to be rescheduled, there might be a delay between the end of your course and the test taking place.
Again, that won’t normally happen. We have ways and means of finding you the earliest tests available in your area (plus we’ll keep you posted on any last-minute cancellations that you can take advantage of). And most of the time, your practical test will take place as soon as your course ends.
For these reasons, we always advise pupils to take and pass their Theory Test before booking an intensive driving course. It just makes everything way easier going forward.
However, it’s not obligatory. If you just want to start your intensive, that’s fine too. Just be aware of what can happen from time to time and be prepared to show a bit of flexibility if required.
By the way, if you'd like help passing your Theory Test, check out our epic guide.
Myth: Learners don't get enough driving experience and intensives aren't very safe
Intensives are perfectly safe. For starters, pupils on crash courses don’t skip over anything on the driving syllabus. You’ll learn exactly the same things on an intensive as you would taking weekly lessons – you’ll just be on a much tighter schedule.
The driving test is there to ensure that a learner is fit, able and responsible enough to drive on UK roads in a safe and reliable manner. An intensive course needs to bring learners up to that standard.
When people refer to these courses as being unsafe and dangerous, they tend to talk about the lack of comparative experience that a learner gets on an intensive in relation to when you have regular, more traditional driving lessons.
But this just isn’t accurate.
For starters, experience is entirely subjective. Who dictates how much experience a driver needs? And whether an individual learner requires more or less experience than someone else?
Intensives aren’t about just passing a test. We believe in creating drivers with good, ingrained habits who will drive safely for the rest of their lives. After passing their test, experience is just something they’ll acquire day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.
Let’s be more granular, too.
Many of our shorter intensives aren’t for rookie driver and require learners to have various degrees of experience. Meanwhile, our 40-hour intensive (which is for complete beginners) is incredibly thorough and stands up well to a learner who has one lesson per week for a year (52 hours).
Moreover, we’d argue that the method of learning with an intensive is more effective. In other words, a learner is more likely to develop long-lasting skills if it’s all they’re doing for a few weeks.
If anything, someone taking weekly lessons in a less intensive environment is much more likely to forget a lot of what they’ve been taught over time.
Really, the only genuine point about experience that holds any weight at all is the fact that pupils on an intensive course don’t get to practise driving in various weather conditions.
But look, we live in the UK. Unless we’re in some sort of freakish heatwave, chances are you’ll see sun, cloud, rain, fog, mist and maybe more even if your intensive only lasts a week.
Myth: Intensive driving courses are an expensive way to learn how to drive
It’s easy for the price of an intensive driving course to cause a sharp intake of breath. But are they expensive in comparison to singular lessons?
Most driving lessons will cost between £20-35 depending on where you live. The average cost of a lesson is £24 and the average number of hours’ tuition required is 52.
So, if you’re taking the normal route, you’d better set aside at least £1,248 (don’t forget that figure doesn’t include one or more tests).
Now take a look at our intensive driving course prices.
Our pass-in-a-week course is £1,199 and includes both tests. Basically, you’ll save a lot of money with an intensive (and time, too).
Myth: Intensive driving courses are only for people who want to drive manual cars
Yes, you can. And the good news is that learning to drive in an automatic is easier.
There is a slight downer with automatic driving lessons though.
Automatic intensive driving courses are slightly more expensive because they’re extremely popular, plus it’s sometimes a little trickier to align an automatic car for learners with a trained instructor.
Myth: Intensive courses are unpredictable and unreliable
Intensive driving courses are actually very reliable and extremely effective.
The pass rate for intensives is really high at most driving schools; much better than the percentage that the average learner faces if they take a test after having lessons in the traditional way.
The average pass rate for UK learners has been hovering at around 47% for the last 10 years or so, meaning that over half of all people fail their test.
At Learn, Think, Drive, our pass rate is over 90%.
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Read our ultimate guide to intensive courses.
How to pass your Theory Test [epic 2019 guide]