Intensive driving courses – are they worth it?

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When I first started learning to drive I was desperate to pass as soon as possible, just like any other young person learning to drive.

Intensive and semi-intensive driving courses enable learners to drive and take both the theory and practical test within a short amount of time, the tests are booked by most organisations and providing everything goes to plan, you can essentially pass within a week.

But, there are some downsides. An intensive driving course is just that, and some might say intensive driving course candidates don’t experience the variety of road conditions that longer term learners do. Everyone wants to pass as soon as possible and the choice is tricky, but it mostly depends on your circumstances and how you learn.

I think the most appealing thing about an intensive driving course is the time frame. Passing everything in just a week and then getting out on the road sounds like a dream. With life being so busy, fitting in a two hour lesson can be quite a task sometimes, especially with children or work to think about.

Devoting a week just too driving means it’s all over and done with in just one week and you don’t have to constantly juggle your lessons around your life.

Another great thing about the course is the price. Ranging between £850 and £1,000, they  include the theory and practical tests - roughly,  it works out slightly cheaper than paying for blocks of lessons and the individual tests.

Take a look at our guide on the costs of learning to drive to get a good idea of how much you can expect to pay for lessons, learning materials and the tests.

When I first started my lessons I struggled with nerves. To begin with, my lessons were just an hour and I found by the time I had settled and the nerves had subsided my lesson was over. In the intensive course a days’ driving could be up to six hours.

After the initial bout of nerves has passed you still have a good few hours to build your confidence and drive without the sweaty palms or the death grip on the steering wheel. Also, the next lesson is the following day, so your confidence won’t go back to square one in between lessons.

However nothing is perfect, and although intensive courses sound like the ideal way to learn, there are some downfalls. The long lessons allow you to have that settling in period, but learning to drive is mentally draining.

After driving for a couple of hours, I always found my brain was like mush and I really wasn’t taking in anything from the lesson. It’s like cramming in a years’ worth of revision before a big test, it really isn’t very successful.

Sometimes, completing things within a short amount of time isn’t necessarily a benefit. Learning week to week at different times ensures a variety of different road conditions. When I was learning I began in the summer and passed in the winter. I experienced a great deal of road conditions from bright sun to heavy rain, and had some lessons at night.

Driving in these road conditions added to my experience and I felt confident that if I sat my test on a wet and windy day, it wouldn’t increase my nerves.

In school, everyone had different ways of learning, some of my friends preferred cramming a week before the test, some people prepared months in advance.

An intensive course allows you to get a great deal of driving practise done within a week, even if you don’t pass the test first time. Whereas learning week-by-week allows you to experience different road conditions and learn at your own pace.

Both styles of learning have their benefits and you should choose the method that best suits you.

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