I’m based in Baildon, which is pretty much on the border between Leeds and Bradford.
And I love both cities.
They each have their own unique personalities which make them great areas to deliver driving lessons. I have pupils in Leeds who like to drive into Bradford, and learners in Bradford who love driving into Leeds.
Practicing driving lessons in both areas is an excellent way to develop, rather than just focussing on learning a specific route or town.
But the question I get asked a lot is, which is the best test centre? Leeds has Harehills and Horsforth while Bradford has Thornbury and Heaton. Plus there’s Skipton and Steeton just up the road. Well, the truth is, there is no correct answer to that question. In all honesty, if you’re driving to a ‘test standard’ it shouldn’t really matter where you take the test, you should be able to drive regardless.
But that doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to have a preference! For example, Horsforth has a lot of big open roundabouts, whereas Thornbury tends to have more light controlled junctions. Horsforth has more rural roads and Thornbury has more town driving.
Every driver and learner driver is going to have a preference. Not necessarily something they find easier, just something they find less stressful. Perhaps you would know the Leeds area a bit better and that gives you a bit more confidence. Or do you go the other way? Are you concerned about people you know spotting you at the driving test centre or while your out on your driving test? If so, would it benefit you to head to a different area?
Whatever the reason for choosing a certain test centre, it should not be based around your ability to drive! Each test centre is different ad has it’s own unique personality. Take bay parking for example. Horsforth doesn’t have it’s own private carpark, so, at the time of writing, so wouldn’t be asked to do a reverse bay park at Horsforth. Whereas Thornbury has it’s own carpark, so a reverse bay park is quiet common.
Here’s the latest pass rates for each test centre:
You can see that apart from Harehills, they are all quite similar in pass rates, so would it really matter which you used? But why is Harehills quite dramatically different? There’s a lot of talk about Harehills, but I’ll happily offer my theory:
Harehills has a certain reputation. A lot of students tell me they don’t want to take their test there because there’s lots of bad driving. But there’s bad driving wherever you go! So what makes Harehills so special?
Because people try to avoid that driving test centre, it tend to be the one you can book earliest at. It’s also the one where you can get a cancellation crop up quicker. In my experience, this leads to people booking their driving test who aren’t quite ready to book it because they’ve seen a space whereas at Horsforth, they may have to wait an extra 2 months.
So if more people are taking their test at Harehills who aren’t actually ready, would that lead to a lower pass rate? Probably. And I believe that’s one of the reasons. Admittedly not the only one.
Wherever you’re thinking of booking your test, a word of caution: try not to listen to too many stories about the test centres. People who fail their driving test often complain about that particular test centre or examiner. And the people that pass, guess what they do? Yep, they say how easy they found the test routes!
Now, not everyone does this, but a lot of people do. In most cases the examiner and test centre have absolutely nothing to do with whether someone passes or fails their driving test. It generally comes down to whether that person can drive or not.
So when you’re tryin to decide whether to take your test in Leeds on Bradford, try not to worry about it too much. Talk to your driving instructor and ask for their opinion. They may be able to advise you based on your preferences.
Wherever you want to book, here’s a link to book your driving test: https:www.gov.uk/book-driving-test
And if you want to know a but more about the whole process, click here.