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Guaranteed Pass: Too Good to Be True?

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At the end of every learner driver’s journey, there’s one final obstacle to overcome before finally getting your licence: the driving test. Unlike any other test you’ll have sat before, the driving test’s ability to turn even the most confident learner’s brain to mush is infamous. But what if there was a way of defending yourself against the peril of failing? What if there was a guaranteed pass?

As it so happens, there are plenty of companies out there offering just that. Unfortunately, what they promise isn’t as good as it seems. To find out why, we’ll examine what exactly a ‘guaranteed pass’ is, and why it won’t increase your chances of getting on the road.


Why do people look for a ‘guaranteed pass’?

Pass and fail practical test - PassMeFast characters

Learning to drive is an ambition for millions across the country. However, the process of getting your driving licence is rigorous. To succeed, you’ll need to pass not one but two tests: theory and practical.

It’s understandable for learners to experience a few pre-test nerves before each of them. (Indeed, despite some common myths, the theory test catches out many a candidate!) However, it’s the practical test that’s at the root of most learners’ worries—for numerous reasons.

Firstly, driving test prices come in at £62. Needing to take it multiple times can, therefore, be pretty pricey! Secondly, if you’ve got to the point of being able to take a practical test, it means you’ve already passed your theory. Once this test is in the bank, the clock starts ticking, and you’ve got two years in which to pass your practical. Fail to do so in time, and you’ll need to sit your theory all over again!

Another key concern is the pass rate for the practical test. As of 2017/18, the likelihood of passing the practical test was 46.3%. In other words, on any given attempt, learners are more likely to fail than to pass. As the final hurdle before getting your licence, even a normally confident driver can experience a few wobbles—but what if there was a way to ward against this?

Spooked by the spectre of failure, learners want to make sure they walk away from their practical test with a licence in hand. This is where their search for a guaranteed pass begins. Some driving schools are only too happy to offer enticing options—but do they deliver the goods? To find out, we need to look at what driving schools mean when they say they offer a ‘guaranteed pass’.


What is a ‘guaranteed pass’?

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It’s easy to grasp what learners mean when they want a guaranteed pass. Unfortunately, what they want isn’t necessarily what they get. That’s because each driving school has its own interpretation as to what a ‘guaranteed pass’ course should include—and few seem to reflect learners’ wishes.

Were you to search through driving schools’ websites, you’d notice that many of them are deliberately obfuscatory about what they offer. Of those whose dealings are more clear-cut, though, the most common form of ‘guaranteed pass’ course is one where learners are eligible for a retest should they fail first time around.

The specifics of this type of course vary by provider. Some offer just one extra test while others offer multiple chances; sometimes, additional tuition is included as well. There are even driving schools offering ‘unlimited’ tuition and tests—though with the stipulation that everything must be done and dusted within one year.

While each schools’ version of a ‘guaranteed pass’ may differ, they all agree on one point: you’re going to need to pay for it. In some cases, this means paying a fee for the booking of additional tests. Elsewhere, the entire course cost can inflate to nearly £3,000. Cashback is sometimes available for those who pass first time.

Even when taking this into account, though, these options are still far pricier than paying for standard lessons or intensive courses. A 48-hour beginner’s course from PassMeFast, for example, with lessons in a manual car and including a practical test, is less than half the price of some ‘guaranteed pass’ courses!


Do ‘guaranteed pass’ courses really work?

Photo © Oregon Department of Transport (cc-by/2.0)

Let’s be clear: no company can guarantee you a pass on any given practical test. Those who offer a ‘guaranteed pass’ know that this is impossible; even the best drivers have their bad days, after all!

The sneaky thing is that these companies play on learners’ desire to pass with deliberately confusing offers. Is one free retest really a guarantee that you’ll pass? Of course not—yet that’s how it’s advertised, and you’d need to delve into the terms and conditions to realise what’s really on offer.

At best, these companies may ‘guarantee’ that, so long as you pay thousands upfront, you’ll eventually pass with them. But therein lies the problem. Once you’ve paid, you’re locked in. Pass first time, and you’ve wasted a four-figure sum. Even those who take multiple attempts, however, will still be paying way over the odds compared to a standard course.

As you can see by now, there are more holes in a ‘guaranteed pass’ than a Swiss cheese. You might pass with this type of course, or you might not. The one real guarantee is that you’ll be out of pocket.


Why PassMeFast doesn’t offer ‘guaranteed pass’ courses

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We’ve made our opinion of ‘guaranteed pass’ courses fairly clear by this point. But what can we offer learners that helps to save you money and get you on the road? It’s simple.

Rather than charging you for false promises, we focus on providing excellent service. We only work with DVSA-approved instructors who’ve achieved grade A or B on recent check tests. We then add in fast-track tests, scheduled to take place when your newfound driving knowledge is still fresh in your mind. Add into this excellent customer service from our office-based team, and you’re in for a great chance of getting your licence first time.

But what if things do go wrong? What if you fail? The good news is that we’re here to help every step of the way. With us, you can book onto a quick refresher course, including a practical test. Unlike a ‘guaranteed pass’ course, you’ll only pay for it if you actually need it—and, better still, we offer rebooking discounts to customers needing additional courses. This means that, even if you need a few attempts to pass, it’s still cheaper to come to us than to go for a ‘guaranteed pass’.

The choice is clear: come to PassMeFast, the quick, simple and cost-effective way to get on the road. To compare everything we have to offer, visit our prices page.

By Andy Boardman

Andy fell in love with driving while road tripping around Iceland. 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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