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More people now pass GCSE maths than driver theory test

  • The number of learners failing their theory test has grown in three years, with more people now passing their GCSE Maths exam (61%).
  • One in five (20%) of those who failed their theory said they weren’t familiar enough with the rules of the road as they should have been.
  • More than one in six (15%) admitted to winging their theory test as they thought it would be easy.
  • RED Driver Training says more than £16 million1 has been wasted in flunked theory tests since 2023.

More people now pass their GCSE Maths exam2 (61%) than their driver theory test (45%) 3.
In 2023, 1.3 million people took the theory test, with over 590,000 (45%) managing to pass.
According to research from RED Driver Training, more than £16 million has been wasted in
flunked theory tests in the past year alone. Since 2007, the theory pass rate has steadily
declined with 65% likely to pass in 2007 compared to just 45% last year 4 .

The most common reason for failing was due to nervousness or anxiety (34%), followed by
one in five (20%) lacking familiarity with road rules. A further 15% admitted they chose to
‘wing it’ on the day, underestimating the difficulty of the theory test.

Busy lives are a contributing factor for those who failed their theory exam. One in seven
(14%) said they lacked sufficient time for revision while 39% of those who didn’t pass on the
first try devoted less than five hours to preparation. RED Driver Training suggests that
successful candidates should aim for daily revision using the theory app for a period of at
least two months before attempting the theory test.

Mastering the theory test is one of the first challenges for learner drivers, and our goal is to turn it 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.’ That’s why we’ve developed an easily accessible trainer app to support new drivers at every moment of their learner-journey.”


For the learners who have failed, honesty seems to be thrown out the window as 42% who
didn’t pass kept it hidden from anyone outside of their immediate family and one in eight
(12%) didn’t tell anyone at all.

The data also shows millennials and gen-zs’ prefer to use mobile phone apps (51%) and
practice tests (51%) to revise which is exactly why RED Driver Training has introduced the

“RED Complete Driving Theory” App, available on subscription for download on the App
Store and Google Play.

In addition, RED has also developed the fuller “Learn to Drive with RED” App free to all
learner customers. The App provides support across the complete journey from applying for
a provisional licence to booking and getting progress updates on driving lessons with a RED

For more information about RED Driver Training and the RED Apps, please visit the website home page

Resources & References

1 711,098 people failed their test in 2023 at a cost of £23 per test at a collective cost of £16,355,254
2 UK GOV – GCSE English and maths results As of August 2023, 61 per cent of GCSE entries
secured a pass, compared with 64.9 per cent in 2022 and 59.6 per cent in 2019
3 DVSA – Car theory test data by test centre