There’s actually some good news for the nation’s learners – driving test pass rates remain at their highest level for seven years, standing at 47.1%. But that still means there are over 50% who are failing to make the grade – but why and what can they do about it?

While pass rates have climbed, the number of students actually taking tests is falling. Many attribute this to the cost of the learning process itself with more and more young people realising that the theory and practical tests are not easy to pass so those who do are knuckling down – and who can blame them when you look at the average costs:

Provisional Licence £50

Average Lesson Cost £24

Average No. of Lessons Before Achieving a Pass 47

Theory Test Cost £31

Practical Test Cost Up to £75

Overall Cost £1,250+

It’s enough to make anyone pause for thought and eye the contents of their bank balance nervously. But are there any ways in which you can increase your chances of passing?

City vs. Rural Your chances of passing the practical driving test dramatically increase depending on where you live. According to DVSA data, the best place to take your test is in rural areas, not cities – and the more remote, the better; it means a more predictable driving environment and far less traffic when compared to busy built-up areas and their veritable obstacle course of hazards and other drivers. Bearing that in mind, here is a list of the test centres with the highest and lowest pass rates for 20132014:

Test Centres With Highest Pass Rates

Isle of Mull – 80% (but with only 10 candidates for the entire year)

Barra – 77.8%

Brodick – 73.1%

Isle of Skye (Portree) – 72.2%

Ballachulish – 71.4%

Test Centres With Lowest Pass Rates

Belvedere (London) – 32.2%

South Yardley (Birmingham) – 32.4%

Barking (London) – 33.3%

Wednesbury – 33.4%

Wanstead (London) – 33.5%

*– For the full list, head to the BBC’s breakdown here.*Men vs. Women The age old argument about which gender is the best at driving continues with the latest research by Privilege Insurance revealing that women are streets ahead in terms of ability. While that will surely raise the heckles of male motorists, the Department of Transport has its own figures about which gender is better at achieving a pass rate in the practical and theory tests:

Theory Test Pass Rate (last year)

Men 48% Women 54%

Practical Test Pass Rate (last year)

Men 50% Women 44% Winging It vs. Practising For most of us, driving hundreds of miles to somewhere with a higher pass rate or changing gender are not what one might call practical. Instead, the same universal truths remain about how to give yourself the best possible chance of test success – source a reputable driving instructor, have as many lessons as possible and practise your theory test extensively.

That might not be the silver bullet you were looking for – but it’s the best way to ensure that your investment doesn’t go to waste.

Image © Terry Presley