Best and Worst Driving Test Centres Revealed: NEW 2019/20 Stats!

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Breaking news! The stats we’ve all been waiting for are finally out. After a long delay, we can now reveal the best and worst test centres of 2019/20!

Today, the DVSA revealed the full stats for all test centres across Great Britain from 2019/20. We’ve crunched the numbers and figured out which were at the top and bottom. Also listed are the test centres who improved the most year-on-year—as well as those whose results slid.

Let’s not hang about any further. Here are the stats!

Best driving test centres: 2019/20

Loch Uisg on the Isle of Mull
Image source: Jill Dimond (via Unsplash)

Let’s start with the good news: this year’s top 10 driving test centres. For years, there’s been an established pattern when it comes to pass rates, with Scottish test centres coming out on top. In such a turbulent year as this one, would this hold?

Well, if the scenic image above didn’t give it away, our top 10 is indeed dominated by Scottish centres. This year, it’s the picturesque Isle of Mull which enjoys the country’s highest pass rate: a stunning 88.2%. In fact, nine of the top ten test centres are found north of the border. The one exception is the Isles of Scilly test centre—Britain’s most southerly test centre.

Top 10 driving test centres
Isle of Mull 88.2%
Isle of Tiree 85.7%
Inveraray 83.3%
Isles of Scilly 83.3%
Pitlochry 81.5%
Mallaig 80.0%
Ballater 77.4%
Islay Island 74.6%
Campbeltown 73.7%
Ullapool 72.2%

Worst driving test centres: 2019/20

Birmingham's Bullring shopping centre at sunset
Image source: Sarah Doffman (via Unsplash)

In stark contrast to the list of top test centres, the bottom ten frequently tends to feature locations in major urban areas. Again, despite all the upheaval 2020 has brought us, there wasn’t much change to be found in this list.

Bringing up the rear was The Pavilion test centre in Birmingham. With a pass rate of just 28.9%, this fell well short of the average 2019/20 pass rate of 47.1%. This was the second year in a row that it landed bottom, but it will also be the last. That’s because the test centre has since closed—something we can’t imagine local learners are too upset over!

Rounding out the top ten are three other entries from the West Midlands (South Yardley, Kingstanding and Wolverhampton), three in Greater London (Erith, Belvedere and Wanstead) and three in northern England (Rochdale, Speke and Leeds).

Bottom 10 driving test centres
Birmingham (The Pavilion) 28.9%
Rochdale 30.8%
Erith 31.6%
Birmingham (South Yardley) 31.7%
Speke (Liverpool) 33.8%
Birmingham (Kingstanding) 33.8%
Belvedere 34.5%
Leeds 34.7%
Wanstead 34.7%
Wolverhampton 35.1%

Figures above exclude the Carlisle LGV test centre and National Driving Centre Croydon.

Most improved: 2018/19 to 2019/20

Grantown-on-Spey blanketed in snow in winter
Photo © Clydecoast (cc-by-sa/3.0)

Back to the positives now, and an important question: which test centres saw the biggest jump from 2018/19 to 2019/20? That’s something we have the answer to!

Top of the heap, with a huge 18.0% leap from one year to the next, was Grantown-on-Spey in north-east Scotland. Just a shade behind this was Kyle of Lochalsh, on Scotland’s west coast.

Much of the big movement here came from test centres which saw relatively few tests. With this in mind, the appearance of the Nottingham Chilwell test centre is even more impressive. Despite hosting around 5,000 tests a year, this centre went from being slightly below average to well above it.

10 most improved driving test centres
Test centre 2018/19 pass rate 2019/20 pass rate Change
Grantown-on-Spey 52.7% 70.7% ▲ 18.0%
Kyle of Lochalsh 50.0% 67.9% ▲ 17.9%
Nottingham (Chilwell) 43.1% 52.1% ▲ 9.0%
Golspie 61.8% 69.8% ▲ 8.0%
Isle of Mull 80.8% 88.2% ▲ 7.5%
Rothesay 54.6% 61.8% ▲ 7.2%
Ballater 70.5% 77.4% ▲ 6.9%
Girvan 58.7% 65.1% ▲ 6.3%
Fort William 58.6% 64.9% ▲ 6.3%
Northwich 48.5% 54.7% ▲ 6.2%

Biggest drop: 2018/19 to 2019/20

Gairloch harbour
Image source: Kasman (via Pixabay)

What goes up must come down, as they say—and with that, we turn to the test centres whose results fell the most. Before we start, it’s worth noting that many of these test centres saw only a handful of candidates taking their test each year, leading to bigger fluctuations than we would see in busier areas. Additionally, despite lower pass rates, every single one of this top ten was above the national average of 45.9%.

Let’s take the biggest drop of all as an example. Gairloch fell a staggering 14.1% from 2018/19 to 2019/20. But let’s put that into context: last year, it had the highest pass rate of all, while this time, it lands just outside the top 10 (in eleventh place, to be precise!).

Test centres with the 10 biggest drops
Test centre 2018/19 pass rate 2019/20 pass rate Change
Gairloch 86.5% 72.4% ▼ 14.1%
Crieff 72.4% 60.4% ▼ 12.0%
Inverurie 64.5% 55.8% ▼ 8.8%
Brentwood 55.1% 47.3% ▼ 7.7%
Cardigan 56.7% 49.7% ▼ 7.0%
Lochgilphead 77.2% 70.4% ▼ 6.8%
Kingussie 55.6% 49.1% ▼ 6.4%
Haddington 62.5% 56.1% ▼ 6.4%
Mallaig 86.4% 80.0% ▼ 6.4%
Perth (Arran Road) 53.5% 47.5% ▼ 6.0%

We’ve only just scratched the surface of these new stats. There’s plenty more to come—so, keep your eye on the PassMeFast Blog in the next few weeks as we dig into the figures!

By Andy Boardman

Andy has been part of the PassMeFast Blog team from the very beginning. He'll provide you with plenty of useful motoring advice, helping you to get the most out of every trip. When he's not writing here, you're most likely to find Andy on the way to his next destination.

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