The waiting list at all four Nottingham test centres (Beeston, Clifton, Colwick and Watnall) is currently around 4 months! This is, in part, due to the fact that there are an increasing number of people learning to drive and taking tests and partly due to a shortage of DVSA driving test examiners.
On average, it takes most people between 6 months (for people who have a 2 hour weekly driving lesson) and 9 months (if having a 1.5 hour weekly lesson) to move from being a total beginner to being ready to take the Practical Test. In the past, discussions about plans to take a practical test would only commence when it was clearly evident that the learner was close to being ready to take the test. With the current waiting list for a practical test being 4 months, it can be quite difficult to judge when a learner should book a test and the discussion now often takes place after only 2 or 3 months of lessons (before all the manoeuvres have been taught and before it is evident that they would be ready to take the test). With this in mind, the following points are worth noting:-
1. On average, people need between 6-9 months of lessons before being ready to take the Practical Test. However, given the nature of the way averages work, some people will take longer and some people will be ready earlier. With my experience of teaching different learners over the years, I usually get a sense of what pace you are learning at after about a couple months of lessons and will be able to assess when you may be ready to take your test.
2. It is really important that the Theory Test is taken within the first 2-3 months of learning to drive. As the Practical Test can only be booked once the Theory Test is passed, the sooner the Theory Test is passed, the sooner the Practical Test can be planned.
3. Once a practical test has been booked, it is important that lesson plans do not suddenly change (e.g. taking an unexpected break from lessons and reducing the lesson duration) as an assessment of readiness will be based upon a continuation of the existing lesson plan.
4. I usually plan to give learners a mock test in the month leading up to the test. This will highlight areas to work on and check readiness for the test and may result in a need to increase lessons in the weeks leading to a test (or even look to change the test date).
5. If practising between lessons (e.g. with a parent), it is useful if these sessions increase (rather than decrease) in the month leading up to a test.