St Neots pupil passes with Big Tom

 

Ramona Malkinska passes her driving test in Peterborough

Big congratulations go to Ramona for her success this morning in Peterborough.  She came up by train each day of her BIG TOM intensive driving course from St Neots.  She made full use of the flexible training session times that BIG TOM offers by doing some 7am starts due to her busy workload.

Her driving instructor Tom Ingram says:

“Ramona gave everyone at Peterborough driving test centre a bit of a wake up this morning when she heard she was successful on her driving test, there was lots of happy cheering!  I’m really pleased for her because I know how much this will improve her working life.  It just shows once again how the BIG TOM courses appeal to many customers from around the area. ” 

 

 

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Success from a cancelled driving test

 

Emily Ashcroft from Cranwell passes her driving test in Grantham

Emily has been successful in passing her driving test despite being on the receiving end of a very late cancelled test.  On the morning of her original driving test, Emily was called by the DVSA with just over an hour to go, saying that the examiner was unable to do the driving test.  Her driving instructor Tom Ingram was unimpressed (see below) but all credit to Emily for staying positive.  She now has a full driving licence and freedom to move on with her life.

Her driving instructor Tom Ingram says:

“I have to say how impressed I have been with Emily’s positive attitude. I give much credit to the support from her parents too. It was very unkind and bordering on unprofessional for a public service organisation to be cancelling a driving test at such short notice.  I know many pupils who can’t sleep well before a test and get very affected with pre-test nerves.  It seems cruel to me to not have provisions for dealing with such incidents when they occur.  Emily passed on her first attempt with just 2 minors recorded – what a star pupil.” 

Emily says:

” I would definitely recommend this course for anyone, whether that be learning to drive for the first time or practising techniques you’ve already learnt. Amazing experience!”

 

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Theory Test Pass Expiring

 

Stephanie Kwok from Bourne passed her driving test just in time

Steph was getting tight on time with her 2 year period for her theory coming to an end and used her BIG TOM intensive driving course to get her driving test pass in time.  She passed this morning at Peterborough on her first attempt having completed her 5 day course last week.

Her driving instructor Tom Ingram says:

“I’m very pleased for Steph.  She has uni coming up in Coventry and wanted to get her driving sorted all ready for her new academic year which she has now comfortably achieved.” 

Steph says of her experience with BIG TOM:

“The course made me realise how much I had forgot after not driving for 2 years.  I think the greatest thing I gained was confidence, because driving had never been something I liked and I usually found it stressful and scary” 

To view her full account of her BIG TOM experience just click HERE

 

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BIG TOM Continued Support

BIG TOM is committed to offering customers continued support post-intensive driving course

Abby from Bourne did her intensive course just over a week ago and is now taking some bolt-on sessions until she feels fully confident in her all-around driving.

This morning on a 2-hour bolt-on session she drove on A and B roads, as well as classified and unclassified roads. She drove for 20 minutes on the motorway, and she drove on dual-carriageways.

She managed to do 2 reverse parallel parks, pulling up on the right side of the road, practising operating controls within the car, e.g. windscreen washers, lights. She took a look under the bonnet at the main engine components.
She has now had 3 driving sessions with BIG TOM in the last 4 days, and she has planned in a mock test for Sunday morning; yes we work Sundays for our customers such is our commitment to help them achieve their goal.  We have also started work as early as 6 am before for customers who want to train prior to starting a working day.

BIG TOM is committed to the continued support of customers.  Deanne from Boston just completed her course and says: “Thanks tom had a wonderful week working with you, thank you for being very patient with me and explaining things in depth when I’ve needed it.  Also a great big thanks to being flexible with times and just generally putting up with me I now feel I am able to drive but not test ready just yet but hoping to work with you again in a couple of weeks to get me to that standard thanks once again”  Deanne 🙂

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Evening Intensive Driving Course

 

Alex Blades from Langtoft just passed his driving test at Peterborough after taking an evening intensive driving course with BIG TOM

Due to his commitments Alex needed an intensive course that would run in the evenings so he did 6-9pm Monday to Friday, finished the course off at the weekend and then passed his driving test the next day on his first attempt.  Alex said of his time spent with BIG TOM “Really great experience”.

His driving instructor Tom Ingram says:

“I’m really pleased for Alex as he was really keen to get his driving licence sooner rather than later and it makes me feel proud that BIG TOM was able to accommodate his needs outside our normal working hours.  If customers see this and there turns out to be some demand for an evening intensive driving course I would be very happy to incorporate it as a standard package option.  Do please  let me know!”

 

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Driving test pass in 4 days

 

Anthony Coe from Grantham has passed his driving test in 4 days

From the time of booking his BIG TOM intensive driving course to obtaining his driving licence was only 3 weeks and he received a tidy £30 discount due to his age.  His previous driving experience before the course was only 10 hours with friends/family.  He passed his driving test today in Grantham with just 4 faults recorded.

His driving instructor Tom Ingram says:

“An incredible achievement from Anthony.  To pass his driving test on his first attempt having had so little previous driving experience is a real credit to him.  I think this just proves how trusted and reliable the intensive course is for getting results for Anthony and my other customers.  I know that this quick result is life changing for his family and his work prospects.  He can now get on with his life with a full driving licence.” 

Anthony says of his experience with BIG TOM:

“Big Tom’s course is fantastic!”

 

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Passed driving test using own car

 

Olivia Ronson (17) from Surfleet passed her driving test in Boston using her own car

She took her BIG TOM 5 day intensive driving course in early March and then made use of the driving test booking service and continued training with her parents.  She used the BIG TOM mock test service a week before her driving test and then went on take her test yesterday which she passed comfortably with just 4 driving faults recorded.

Olivia said of her BIG TOM intensive driving course:

Using Big Tom has been a very good experience for me. It’s very handy that he can pick you up from your home address and also the videos are very helpful, they get you ready for your driving”

Her driving instructor Tom Ingram says:

“This is a wonderful achievement as Olivia came to BIG TOM with absolutely no previous driving experience at all and yet in the space of just 2 months she has passed her driving test on her first attempt.  On her intensive driving course she got experience of driving on the big Peterborough roundabouts, and in Spalding, Elton, Bourne as well as Boston.  This is particulalry pleasing to me as she and her parents had flagged up issues relating to anxiety when the course was booked; it just goes to show how the training can be adapted to suit all needs.”

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Pre-Course Preparation

BIG TOM Driving School Offers Customers Premium Pre-Course Resources

Being given the best head start to help to learn to drive is really important for BIG TOM customers.  The learning process starts before the in-car training and that means customers can engage in the resources sooner.  Tom Ingram is the owner of BIG TOM Driving School and says:

“It is truly staggering what progress can be achieved when pupils fully engage in our accelerated learning programme.  Time and time again, customers with little or no previous driving experience are able to learn to drive and pass the driving test in quick fast time, due to asking questions about the resources they read and watch.”

There are over 4 hours of specially prepared driving videos which are for exclusive viewing to BIG TOM customers as well as carefully prepared graphics and text explanations.  Topics include:

  • How to reduce stress when learning to drive
  • How to improve your manoeuvres
  • When, how and why drivers do mirror and observation checks
  • Identifying hazards on faster moving roads
  • The relationship between speed and gears
  • The skill of self-evaluation
  • How to learn from making mistakes when driving
  • What the clutch does
  • Practical tips for your roundabouts
  • Assessing risk
  • What speed to drive at
  • Goals, options, practice and reflection
  • Myths about the driving test

Previous BIG TOM customers say this about preparing for the accelerated learning programme:

“Tom gave me some brilliant resources to look at prior to my 5 day intensive course” Sam Smith

“Theory resources online are really good and the videos, especially for watching prior to the course to make yourself more comfortable when meeting Tom for the first time” Anna Forbes-Rogers

“He also has a YouTube channel with many videos which I knew I could watch the night before a lesson, or even if I wasn’t sure on something, there will always be a future reference, so yet again, he goes above and beyond to help” Adam Favell

“I thought the resources provided to help me were very useful” William Platt

 

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How does your intensive driving course work?

General Q&A with the owner of BIG TOM Driving School, Tom Ingram

What effect has the new style driving test had on national pass rates?

It is a little too early to know as yet. I appreciate that might come as a surprise to many reading, but the statistics are gathered quarterly so the next batch that covers January – March 2018 have not been published by the DVSA as yet. When they are, I rather suspect it will show a marked overall increase in the pass rate, but that is just my opinion; I will blog for my customers when the hard data is released.

Is it true that the new driving test is easier?

In so far as the technical aspects of manoeuvres, in my opinion, I would say it is. However, regardless of the driving test format, here at BIG TOM we train customers to the DVSA Driving Standard which is freely available online for the public to view and ensures new drivers are confident and competent to drive in a variety of driving conditions.

If I was to fail my driving test, what would happen?

I can offer accurate assistance to pupils if they allow me to observe their test but it is entirely their choice. There is a system in place should you fail a test that invites you to further develop the skills that were exposed as deficient. Another important factor here is confidence and in my experience, not to be underestimated the effect it can have on driving ability.

What guarantees do you provide on your intensive driving course?

The BIG TOM course offers customers theory study resources + pre-course resources + 20 hours of driving training + 2 hours use of the driving school car for driving test purposes. The one thing that cannot be guaranteed for a variety of reasons is the progress that a pupil will make on the course. A previous customer shown here demonstrates that it is possible to turn things around very fast with proper pre-course preparation even when they have minimal previous driving experience. However, the very latest DVSA independent research indicates that it takes pupils on average around 40 hours training with a driving instructor + 19 hours private practice and on average seven months to pass. We are very fortunate to have that very recent research provided to us in the industry and for the public.

Do I have to pass the theory test before doing your course?

I would recommend it yes because it then gives us the opportunity to apply that new knowledge while you are driving around. There are added safety implications as well as pressure on pupils if they do not have the theory knowledge, rules of the road while driving on them. Another important point is that a BIG TOM customer is entitled to a practical test booking for up to 30 days after completing their intensive driving course (with or without BIG TOM involvement), but the DVSA booking system prevents that if the theory test is not passed. For lots of reasons, it makes good practical sense to pass the theory test prior to the in-car training.

Why do your pupils drive in places where they don’t take their driving test?

Some locations are rather limited in what they offer to practice. Boston, for example, has no faster moving dual carriageways to practice entering/exiting or even overtaking. Peterborough has very few hills to practice controlling the car, whereas Grantham has plenty. Also, some customers specifically request to drive to some places due to the type of typical journeys they will do after they pass their driving test.

Can I continue to train with you after my intensive course?

Yes, you can. It is important to recognise that we are referring to practical skills when learning to drive and the ability of pupils to develop them can vary considerably. While some customers will complete their course and then make their own arrangements, others do like to keep going and have the consistency of driving instructor and driving school car. That is an important point to make because we do not switch pupils around at BIG TOM – that could be very unhelpful especially if they are happy and comfortable in their learning environment.

Do I need to be of a certain standard before booking my course?

At BIG TOM we have experience of assisting pupils with a wide variety of needs. We do not put any undue pressure on pupils to complete their training within the 20 hours because when pupils are working hard at learning to drive, they do not need added stress to do with timescales. Sometimes this kind of pressure that relates to focussing too much on driving tests can be very unproductive and inhibits learning. My advice would be to concentrate on developing the skills and have trust in the assessments that are provided to you. Pupils receive constant feedback when in the car training as well as formal assessments and these do offer the pupil the opportunity to realise the driving standard that is required.

Is it true you can fail a driving test for driving too slowly?

Yes it is, a driver who drives too slowly for the driving conditions can become a hazard to other road users. It is a skill to be able to identify what is the appropriate speed for the conditions and you get plenty of practice of that skill on the course.

Is it normal to get so frustrated when learning to drive?

The path we all take is pretty unique. What is apparent, natural or easy to one is not necessarily so for another, so it is unwise to make any assumptions about it. It is a fact that when learning things, humans do have a tendency to overinflate their perceived ability compared to the reality and that can create frustrations for people who have an unrealistic belief in their driving standard. The other thing to bear in mind is that the challenges we face are also pretty varied; physical hand/feet coordination, the perception of risk, the ability to anticipate. I also very much enjoy assisting pupils who have particular learning difficulties. As long as pupils have an accurate understanding of how to achieve goals, how to deal with obstructions to learning, then, in general, it is possible to overcome difficulties. Be under no illusions though; for some, it can be an intensely personal battle which it does pay to have realistic expectations of how much can be achieved in what timescales.

 

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8 day turn round

Stephen Carn from Moulton Chapel passed his driving test today at Boston on his first attempt

Stephen contacted BIG TOM in March with a particular date he wanted his 5-day intensive driving course in April. His previous driving experience was just 3-4 hours of driving lessons a year ago, so he was an absolute beginner. He bagged himself an automatic £40 discount from the price due to his age.  Just days later he passed his driving test first time and got his full driving licence.

His driving instructor Tom Ingram says:

“I’m really pleased for Stephen and it just goes to show what can be achieved with little previous experience.  I knew Stephen was capable of turning this around fast as he fully engaged in the pre-course resources that BIG TOM provides.  He was even taking them into his work and getting full licence holders to assist him.  It is a fabulous example of a pupil getting properly prepared for our accelerated learning programme and should reassure prospective customers what can be achieved in literally 8 days by using BIG TOM.  He also benefitted from our home collection service considering he lives out in the sticks.”

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