With long driving test waiting times an unfortunate reality, it’s understandable that many learners seek to get ahead of the game. One tool that aims to help them out is Fetch. With Fetch, getting an earlier test is as simple as entering your details and waiting for a text. At least, that’s the theory—but how does it work in practice?
Here at PassMeFast, we decided to check out Fetch for ourselves. Would it really help us to find an earlier test? Read on to see how it went!
How Fetch works
The concept behind Fetch is simple: early practical and theory tests without any fuss. The exact process to follow in order to get things going varies depending on which test you need.
Fetch for theory tests
If you’re looking for an early theory test, then you’ll need to pay £30 to set up your account. This includes the cost of booking your test. There are two theory test options: choose standard, and Fetch will search the DVSA site every 30 minutes; go for premium for an extra £4.99, and they’ll search every 15 minutes.
As the theory test fee is included in the price, your payment only entitles you to use the service once. Should you fail, you’ll need to pay the £30 once more to get the Fetch team back on the case. Make sure you read up on our guide to passing the theory test to prevent this from happening, and be sure to avoid falling for any of the common theory test myths!
Fetch for practical tests
When it comes to finding an early practical test, things work a little differently. The fee for a standard account is £19.99, whilst a premium account is £24.99. Fetch searches for tests for standard accounts once every 15 minutes; for premium accounts, it’s once every 5 minutes.
A very important difference between the theory and practical test systems is that candidates need to have already booked their test before using the practical test system. Once you’ve booked, the DVSA will provide you with a booking reference number. You’ll then need to provide this number to Fetch. Fetch will then use this, alongside your licence number, to log in to the DVSA’s test booking service, where they can change your test.
There’s a further advantage to this booking method. No matter whether you opt for standard or premium, you’ll gain unlimited use of the service once you’ve paid. This means that, if the pass rate statistics are against you and you end up failing first time around, you won’t have to wait around for months to get back on the horse (or, well, behind the wheel). Simply book a new test, email the details to Fetch, and they’ll start looking once again.
Our experience with Fetch
Fetch certainly piqued our interest—but we wondered whether it could live up to the hype. There was only one way to find out: try it for ourselves! We opted to use the site’s practical test service—here’s what happened…
Having already booked a practical test, we had everything in place to set up our Fetch account. So, we headed to their booking form, which looks like this:
To begin with, we have to enter a first initial and surname, alongside our practical test reference number. We could then choose the centre where our test was due to take place from a drop-down list, with the chance to choose two alternatives. This is a really useful feature if you’re okay with travelling a little to take your test, or simply live in between a few different test centres.
Next, there were a few more standard details to complete: email address, mobile number, and driving licence number. You can also choose to be notified of new tests by email, SMS, or both—for sheer convenience, we’d definitely recommend choosing the SMS option!
One downside we noticed here is that, while Fetch lets you set the earliest and latest dates you’d like for your test, it doesn’t let you specify individual days. As a result, those who are only available on certain days of the week, for example, may find many of the appointments on offer to be unsuitable.
It’s also worth noting the slightly dated feel of the booking form—and the lack of user-friendliness that comes as a result. We’d love to have been able to simply search for a test centre, for example, rather than having to scroll through a mammoth list of every test centre in Britain.
While some people are fine being flexible with the date and location of their driving test, most learners simply don’t have this luxury. This was certainly the case for us: we only had three available dates (April 27th, April 30th, and May 4th), and could only travel to the Doncaster driving test centre.
With average waiting times at Doncaster standing at six weeks, we certainly gave Fetch a real challenge. In fact, having booked with Fetch on April 18th, the service had less than three weeks to find us something suitable—less than half the usual waiting time!
Finally, having inputted our details into the system, all that was left to do was confirm the booking, pay—and start waiting!
Just a few minutes after making our booking, an email confirmation arrived in our inbox letting us know that Fetch had begun work. A day later, we received our first text, noting that they’d found a test for May 2nd.
Within just over a day, Fetch had managed to find us a test that was less than two weeks away. Result! Unfortunately, this is where that earlier limitation came into play.
Due to our availability, we only had three dates to play with: April 27th, April 30th, or May 4th. As such, the May 2nd test wasn’t suitable—back to the waiting game!
Later on that evening, a text did come through for April 27th. The only issue? It came through during a driving lesson!
Due to the limitations of the DVSA’s booking site, Fetch can only hold early test appointments for 15 minutes. If you don’t confirm that you’re able to take your test within 15 minutes, they won’t be able to book it for you. This means that you need to keep an eye on your phone to make full use of the service.
On Sunday, we finally got our hands on an elusive May 4th test. Within one minute of receiving the SMS, we replied… and then, nothing.
Despite responding promptly, Fetch didn’t book the May 4th test for us. This was quite frustrating, as there seemed to be no obvious reason why the booking wouldn’t work.
We were still hopeful of the potential of the service, though—so we decided to wait it out.
A few more days passed, and while Fetch had managed to find us a few more tests, none were quite right for our availability. Thankfully, you’re under no obligation to take any individual test: if something doesn’t work for you, then simply ignore the SMS and Fetch will start the test again!
For the team here at PassMeFast, it took six days for Fetch to find us an ideal test. This backs up their claim that “in most cases, cancellations are found and texted to you within 1 week”. And this time, when we replied to the SMS, Fetch wasted no time in confirming!
As you can see in the images above, our confirmation text came through almost as soon as we responded. Speedy! Shortly afterwards, the DVSA confirmation email arrived, and everything was in place!
Pros and cons
Whilst our experience with Fetch ended on a positive note, there were some ups and downs along the way. We’ve highlighted some of the main pros and cons in the table below.
|Found a suitable test||Dated website|
|Near-instant confirmation (sometimes!)||Won’t always confirm tests|
|Confirm by text||Can’t specify individual dates|
|Free rebooking if you fail||Need to constantly check|
There were certainly ways in which Fetch impressed us. It didn’t take long for the tests to start rolling in, and the service excelled even working to strict criteria. The ability to confirm by text also made Fetch even more convenient, and we love the fact that, should things not go to plan with the practical test, we can simply ask Fetch to search for more driving test cancellations.
Nevertheless, there were plenty of downsides. The inability to choose individual dates meant that Fetch offered us a number of unsuitable appointments. It would surely save their team more time if we could be more specific! The lost test on May 4th was another disappointment—though perhaps it was just the effect of a lazy Sunday? Meanwhile, the convenience of confirming by text comes with downsides—if you don’t constantly check your phone, you may miss out.
Fetch: our conclusions
The hiccups we experienced meant that we ended up with a somewhat mixed impression of Fetch. The major positive was that the service succeeded in its aim of finding us a new test that met our requirements, with quick confirmation the second time around. However, Fetch was inconsistent and rather inconvenient—if you’d rather not spend days tethered to your phone, it may not be right for you.
Luckily, if you’re looking to beat the long driving test waiting times, there are other quick practical test services in town. In fact, PassMeFast offers its very own fast-track practical test service, which has successfully found quick driving tests for learners across the UK. Better yet, when you book any of our courses, you’ll get a fast-track test as standard.
So, take the hassle out of booking a test, and come to a driving school that does the hard work for you. Book your PassMeFast course online, or call the team on 0333 123 4949.