car side

Have you heard? Guaranteed pass on intensive driving course, yes you heard right, “you are guaranteed to pass your driving test on an intensive driving course”.

You know when things sound too good to be true, they usually are? Well, yes, the same applies above.

I feel the need to dispel a myth or 2 about intensive driving courses. I should firstly state my own experience in this subject. I have been providing intensive driving courses in Peterborough and Grantham for 5 years now, and they can be extremely effective. Only this week, a pupil of mine who did a 30 hour course in February, passed her driving test first time, some 2 months later; the only reason for the delay was due to poor weather resulting in a cancellation of her original test date. But, and it’s a big but, she did a 30 hour intensive driving course, and all of the negativity that I hear surrounding intensive driving courses appears to be coming from the 5 day 20 hour courses. For the record, I provide a choice of courses with different durations dependent on previous experience and ability, but not all providers do the same; some ONLY provide 20 hour courses.

I am increasingly hearing from very disgruntled parents and pupils who were under the impression that these courses provide a “guaranteed pass” – and I use those 2 words deliberately, it appears to be at the root of all the bitterness. But the fact of the matter is that often, not only do they not guarantee a pass at the test, they don’t even guarantee that having completed the course, you will be authorised to even do the test. One such Father, Mr Davis, contacted me very recently, and was very annoyed that he paid £899 for his Son to have a 5 day, 20 hour course with a provider in Peterborough, and not only did his Son get refused the opportunity to take the driving test having completed the course, but he would then have to pay for further driving lessons that could not be started for a further 3 weeks time!

And this appears to be at the heart of the issue. An intensive driving course is an accelerated learning programme and no provider can guarantee how much progress a pupil will make when they attend a course. The actual benefit, rather than being anything to do with how you progress, is actually that you are being given the opportunity to learn in a much shorter timescale than is the norm. How many hours one Learner requires can differ considerably to another, it is a complex mix of ingredients that include the learning style preferred by the pupil, the teaching style of the instructor, the environment which includes the comfort in the car and how the time is managed, and it also includes what other influences there are on the pupil eg peer pressure, attitudes to driving from friends/family, and previous experiences.   When you start to actually consider what might AFFECT the rate at which someone learns to drive, you begin to realise how silly it is to think that everyone can learn in a set time of 20 hours.

On BIG TOM Intensive Driving Courses, we pay attention to the detail. We treat our pupils as individuals not numbers, and we make every effort to create positive outcomes in ability and attitude that will help to create a safe, efficient driver for years to come.

My ending piece of advice is to not take anything on face value with any advertisement you see, question every aspect of the course, here are just 5 questions that I would recommend you ask all providers:

  1. If I am not ready to take the driving test after my course, what support would I then be entitled to eg how soon do I get more training, will it be with the same instructor in the same car and at what cost?
  2. Can you give me a breakdown of ALL the costs that I will need to pay to attend the course and use your driving school car for the driving test.
  3. How will I know if I am on track on your course, and what assistance do you give if I start to fall behind within the course itself?
  4. How do I know if my personal circumstances are suitable to attend your course? Do you adapt your courses to suit certain needs about how I like to learn?
  5. If I have absolutely no previous driving experience at all, is it realistic for me to attend your course, immediately take the test and pass it?

The answers that you receive to these questions will help you to decide whether an intensive driving course with that provider is good for you.

I hope this blog helps to erase some of the myths about intensive driving courses. Only today, Richard from Peterborough contacted us at BIG TOM and initially spoke of this “guaranteed pass”. Here is what he had to say after speaking with us:

“Hmmm, yes I see there are a lot of loopholes that most people would not see. I’m well and truly put off of the idea for sure, thank you for your wisdom, you may have stopped me from a possible bad choice.” Richard Lock

As we all know, there are very few guarantees in life, and it is utter nonsense to think that every single person can attend a 5 day, 20 hour course and have some kind of guaranteed pass on an intensive driving course. There is not even a guarantee that you will be ready to TAKE the driving test, let alone pass it.

For more details of BIG TOM Intensive Driving Courses in Peterborough and Grantham, just click HERE.