2016 Driving Test Practical Pass Rates

If you’re a driving instructor, you’ll want to read this.

DIA Insurance Statistics

Driving Test – Practical Pass Rates for 2016

To understand the statistics produced by the department for transport you would need to sit and look at a rather large spreadsheet.
Have you ever read a government statistical spreadsheet?
Fascinating as it is, easy to compress into summarised information, it isn’t. At DIA Insurance, we thought you might like a more digestible way of understanding some of the major statistics of the national trends for practical pass rates last year.
When broken down, this information opens a whole avenue of conversation about pass rates, the difference in urban to rural driving experience and why exactly are male drivers of Golspie in Scotland, so good at passing their practical test first time?

So let us save you the eye strain of reading the spreadsheet and delve a bit deeper into the driving test practical pass rates across the UK for 2016.

National practical pass rate figures by gender 2016

There were


practical tests taken between April and December 2016.

With an national average pass rate of


Of these,


were male

With a national average pass rate of




were female.

With a national average pass rate of


National distribution of practical test centres in the UK

Of the 338 national practical test centres;
  • 240 are in England (71%)

  • 75 are in Scotland (22%)

  • 23 are in Wales (7%)

Number of English Practical Driving Test Centres
Number of Scottish Practical Driving Test Centres
Number of Welsh Practical Driving Test Centres

So does the distribution match the population?
According to the office for national statistics, the population of the UK (released in June 2016) was broken down as follows:
UK population (minus Northern Ireland) was 63,258,400.
Of that number, England’s population was estimated at 54,786,300 which accounts for 86.6% of the population.
The population of Scotland was estimated at 5,373,000 which accounts for 8.4% of the population.
Wales comes in at 3,099,100 which makes up the remaining 5% of the population.

Initial figures show Scotland to have a far higher proportion of test centres per capita but the geographic landscape of Scotland with it’s 790 island landscape would lend itself to this.
Both England and Wales fall short of an equal geographic proportion of test centres.
Breaking this down further will be considered for future publication.

Pass rates by country


St. Georges Cross
Total Amount of Tests Conducted was 1,095,328*

National Average – 48.3%
– Male Average – 51.7%
– Female Average – 45.1%

On average the male pass rate was 6.6% higher

Highest amount of tests taken at a center

Goodmayes (London)

Lowest amount of tests taken at a center

Bristol (Avonmouth)


St Andrew’s Saltire
Total Amount of Tests Conducted was 102,357*

National Average – 57.1%
– Male Average – 60.0%
– Female Average – 54.9%

On average the male pass rate was 5.1% higher

Highest amount of tests taken at a center

Glasgow (Baillieston)

Lowest amount of tests taken at a center



The Red Dragon
Total Amount of Tests Conducted was 54,815*

National Average – 54.1%
– Male Average – 57.4%
– Female Average – 51.7%

On average the male pass rate was 5.7% higher

Highest amount of tests taken at a center

Cardiff (Llanishen)

Lowest amount of tests taken at a center



Overall Scotland came out on top for the national average with a rate of 57.1%.
This was followed by Wales at 54.1%.
England came in 3rd at 48.3%

Statistics for national average of practical pass rates

Gender difference

The biggest gender difference in first time pass rate was in England where the difference was 6.6%.
Scotland had the lowest gender difference in pass rate with 5.1%.

The national average for gender difference in practical pass rates was 5.8% in favour of the male students.

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The highs and lows

To conclude these statistics, we’ll give a mention to the numbers at either end of the scale.

Highest scoring test centre – Golspie in Scotland was the highest ranking individual test centre with an average score of 80.4%. This was 46 annual tests conducted (23 male/23 female).

Lowest scoring test centreBelvedere in London ranked last with an average pass rate of  28.2%. This was from a combined total of 4796 tests taken. (Details below)

Highest male pass rateMales from Golspie in Scotland clocked up an impressive 91.3% pass rate getting 21 out of 23 first time passes. (The ladies came in 6th in the national average with 69.6% with 16 out of 23 passing first time).

Highest female pass rateMallaig in Scotland produced a figure of 85.7% for female pass rates and were one of only 7 test centres nationally where the female pass rate was higher than the males. This was from a yearly total amount of 13 conducted tests. (The lowest number taken at a test centre in the UK).

Biggest difference between the gendersGairloch in Scotland had a difference of 25.1% with the females getting a pass rate of 78.9% to the male pass rate of 53.8%, and was the second highest female pass rate nationally.

Smallest difference between the genders – Consistency is obviously a strong point in Dunfermline with the males and females separated by 0.01% difference. 2478 tests were taken in 2016 and the males achieved 47.6% to the females 47.5%.

Lowest male pass rate – Belvedere in London where males got an average of 31.4%.  This was from 783 passes out of 2497 tests taken.

Lowest female pass rate – Belvedere in London also came in with the lowest female pass rate of 24.7%. This was from 569 passes out of 2299 tests taken.

For a full map of the UK test centres and their results, you can follow this link

Figures published are based on individually published test centre results and may differ from the governments own summary sheet which concludes with the following disclaimer:
“Please note the table above summarises the information contained within each worksheet. There may be circumstances where this information will not match the information published as Official Statistics due to the relevant reports being run on different dates.  As the difference is negligible it is considered an acceptable variance.”
The figures published did not include the results for Northern Ireland.

* Actual calculation discrepancies are a total of 371 (0.03%) Government summary sheet reports a statistic of 1,252,871 tests taken nationally compared to individual test centre numbers totalling 1,252,500.

You can download the original document here.

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