Over half of aspiring motorists (55%) failed their driving theory test last year – with 34% of those putting this down to feeling nervous or anxious beforehand, according to research.

Other reasons for a lack of success included not being familiar with the rules of the road (20%) – as 14%, of the 2,000 adults polled, claim they did not have enough time for revision.

However, 39% of those who didn't pass on their first attempt admitted they spent less than five hours preparing for their theory test – with 15% underestimating how tricky the questions could be, and choosing to simply “wing it” on the day.

As a result, a whopping 711,000 learners were left disappointed in 2023 as they missed out on the chance to progress to their practical driving examination – although women were more likely to pass than men (47%, compared to 44%).

And at £23 a go to take the theory test, this amounted to over £16 million wasted across the UK.

However, data shows that pass rates have been on the decline since 2007, which peaked with 65% getting top marks. Since then, successful tests reached an all-time low in 2022 – with just 44% getting the chance to move on to the practical examination that year.

The DVSA data has been analysed by RED Driver Training, whose CEO, Seb Goldin, said: “The driving theory test is not as easy as people think, and there certainly are tricky questions – from first aid, to knowing your driving documentation.

“Factors such as stricter test standards, evolving road regulations, and heightened examination rigor, have contributed to this trend.

“Learner drivers must prioritise comprehensive preparation, including consistent practice, thorough understanding of road rules, and seeking professional guidance.

“Success on the road begins with diligent preparation in the classroom, before mastering the technical skills behind the wheel.”

It also emerged that 42% chose to keep their failure hidden from anyone outside of their immediate family – and 12% didn’t tell anyone at all.

Seb Goldin, from RED Driver Training, which has developed a fuller, free version of its “Complete Driving Theory” app, said: “We want to turn theory tests into a positive and rewarding milestone, rather than a daunting task.

“Our focus revolves around empowering learners to excel and feel safe on the roads, emphasising the importance of understanding rules and acing the theory test. We want to see an increase in first-time theory test successes, steering away from the approach of attempting to “wing it”.”

2024-02-23T14:30:02Z dg43tfdfdgfd