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  • Writer's pictureDean Wyatt

"Pros and cons of intensive courses.”

Updated: Mar 12, 2021

By Dean Wyatt (Approved Driving Instructor)

July 2019


Intensive courses (or “crash courses” as they’re sometimes oddly named!) have been around for a while in the learner driver world. In this blog, I’m going to run through what they are and some of the pros and cons of them.


What is an intensive course?

A traditional intensive course is a number of consecutive days of driving tuition with a practical driving test at the end of the last day. The number of days your course lasts can range from 1 to 6 days (but semi- intensives can run over a longer period of time). One day of driving usually involves 4- 6 hours of lessons, but again, this can vary. The price you pay for the course covers the cost of the lessons plus the practical driving test.


Pros

  • In theory, you'll get to test standard in anything from 1 to 6 days. Most companies would require you to do an assessment lesson before booking an intensive course so that they can recommend the number of the days you’ll likely need to get up to test standard. This would all depend on the amount of experience you have beforehand. So for example, a new driver who had never driven before may be recommended to do a 6- day course, whereas a learner that had recently failed a driving test may be recommended to do just a 1 or 2 day course (depending on how that test went as well as how their assessment lesson went).

  • You'll pay 1 set fee for your lessons and practical test. The price of the course covers the driving tuition for however many days you have booked, plus the test booking on the last day, plus the use of the same car that you did the course in for your test.

  • You don't have to handle the admin of booking your practical driving test as it will be booked for you. As mentioned in the introduction above, the company you book your course through will arrange the driving test booking for you as well (they will obviously need some details from you like your driving licence number etc in order to do this). This would usually be in the afternoon of the last day of your course, so you still have time in the morning for more tuition time.

  • It’s a great way to potentially get your full licence in a short amount of time. This is particularly useful if you’re struggling to find week by week time to have driving lessons, but are able to find a chunk of time over 1 or 2 weeks (depending on how many days your course is) to get it all done in.

  • The intense lessons can provide strong reinforcements that fast learners would benefit from, potentially making it easier for them to pass the driving test at the end of it all. There’s less time for skills to be forgotten and everything stays fresh in the mind.

  • A lot of companies that offer intensive courses also advertise a ‘guaranteed pass’ scheme. However, something they can’t guarantee is that you pass your driving test as the safest driver that you can be, which leads us to the cons...

Cons

  • You won't get the same experience of different road and weather conditions, like you would by having regular lessons over a period of time. Once you’ve passed your test, you’ll be driving in all weather conditions, at different times of the day and night, and in different areas. Intensive courses do not usually give this range during such a short space of time. Sure, an intensive driving course is a great way to pass your driving test quickly, but perhaps not the safest way. There have even been calls by some for intensive courses to be banned, so that learners can gain experience in a wider variety of road conditions.

  • You may pay pumped-up costs for the 'extras' like test booking. Realistically, booking your own test isn’t very difficult and certainly doesn’t warrant you having to pay a hefty ‘administration’ fee for a company to do it for you. You should also weigh up the amount of lessons per day you’ll be getting and how much these would cost with the companies normal daily rate, as some companies bump these rates up too just because it’s an intensive course.

  • The 'guaranteed pass' scheme is a myth - you'll usually just get a free first re-take of the practical driving test. Read the small print!

  • You could end up not taking your test on the last day. Again, read the small print, as most companies will state that it is at the instructor’s discretion whether you are deemed to be up to test standard or not. If you’re not, then they can’t allow you to use their car for your test and it will then be too late to amend that test time to a later date, so a new one will have to be booked (and paid for!) by you.

  • The less time spent on the roads usually means that the learner driver doesn’t get the same experiences as a learner driver who has had lessons over a longer period of time. This could lead to young drivers being even more of a risk on the roads once they pass their driving test.


Remember, passing your test is not the be all and end all of learning to drive. Your test is just 40minutes out of the rest of your life, so it’s important that once you pass you feel safe, but more importantly, ARE safe. Will you feel safe and prepared after just a couple of days/weeks?


Also, an intensive course is not for everybody. Some learners can cope with the intensity, and it actually benefits them. Others really struggle taking it all in within such a short space of time, and actually need time in-between lessons to process all of the information. Does your brain reach saturation point after a few hours?


Once you have weighed up all of the above, you need to decide if an intensive course is the correct path for YOU (nobody else!) to become the best and safest driver you can be...


Thanks for reading.


July 19th 2019 | Dean Wyatt


Best Dean Wyatt Driving School Petts Wood


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