Driving Test Cancellations
Everything you need to know about getting a driving test cancellation
(and which service to choose if you decide to pay)
How the DVSA cancellation system works
Hours of operation
There is a lot of misinformation about the DVSA system. The DVSA cancellation system is only available between the hours of 6am and 11:40pm. We’ve seen websites saying that night workers can grab a test in the middle of the night – it’s just not true, the service isn’t operational after 11:40. In fact, it says exactly that on the front page of the DVSA website hereDVSA website
To search for a cancellation you MUST HAVE
You must have a valid Driving Licence to search – Only use the first 16 characters (not the 2 digits at the end of the licence number). It looks something like this MORGA657054SM9IJ – with the first 5 letters usually being the first 5 of your surname.
Future Driving Test You must have a future test booked before you can search. You cannot search with the reference number for a test in the past that you have failed. If that’s the case you need to book another test BEFORE you sign up for any service – none of them can search without it.
How many times can you change a test date
You can change your test date a maximum of 6 times.
- If you need to change your test more than 6 times DVSA will make you pay again so be careful when accepting cancellations.
- It usually pays to wait for a really early date rather than try and bring your test forward by a few days at a time. The last thing you want to do is have to pay again.
- TIP – if you are on your last cancellation CHECK WITH YOUR INSTRUCTOR FIRST that he can make the date and time. It’s no good booking that last slot only to find your instructor is unavailable and…… you have to pay again.
- If you fail a test and rebook, you get another 6 chances to change your test date.
Saturday tests are more expensive costing £75 and the additional fee needs to be paid in advance. If you need a test on a Saturday, make sure your chosen service can search for Saturday tests (some don’t) AND that you have paid the additional fee. Otherwise, when it comes time to book that Saturday cancellation it won’t work.
- TIP – not all test centres offer an option for a Saturday test, check with your test centre before you pay.
Getting a Refund
- You will only get a refund if you leave at least 3 clear working days’ notice. After that, if you need to cancel your test DVSA will make you pay again for a new one. Sundays and Public Holidays do not count as working days.
- If you absolutely have to, you can check the latest time you are able to cancel by logging in to DVSA website.
Actually Getting a Cancellation
- A cancellation becomes available when another learner at your test centre cancels their test. That slot is put in the pool and becomes available for anyone to book.
- TIP – you can only ‘hold’ a cancellation for about 15 minutes. Most of the paid services quote 10-12 minutes to allow for text messages and booking requests to go back and forth.
- TIP – if It is a text message service, change the ring tone for that number so you know it’s from them – you don’t want to pay and miss the text message with your perfect date!
- So you have everything sorted now you can actually look for that elusive cancellation date.
- You (or the service that you have paid for) log in to the DVSA website here - https://driverpracticaltest.direct.gov.uk/login
- Your details are entered and the search begins
Securing the Cancellation Date
- Given you only get about 10 minutes to decide you often won’t have a chance to speak to your instructor
- it’s usually best to grab the date and ask questions after but this is YOUR decision. It’s a risk, yes, but most instructors are flexible when it comes to test dates.
- If you are using a paid service they send you cancellations in app or by text message or sometimes both.
- Be SURE you know how to respond. Most text message services need you to reply to the text message with a key word like ‘book’.
- DO NOT put anything else in your reply or their systems will not work. Some polite people reply with ‘book please’ and guess what, you miss the chance. Now, whilst we always encourage politeness, in this case it will cost you the chance to get the date you want.
- When you book a new test, your old test is automatically cancelled. You don’t need to do anything further.
When the cancellation is in the next few days
If the cancellation date you are offered is within the next few days – lucky you, BUT you have to be careful. You should get a warning along the lines of ‘This test cannot be cancelled’. If you are unable to take that test FOR ANY REASON, you will have to pay again. So, be certain. CHECK with your instructor.
My Theory Test is Running Out (and I can’t find a test at my preferred test centre)
This can be a real problem if you are looking for a test at busy test centres. DVSA will not offer you any test date options after the expiry of your Theory Test Pass Number. So, if your Theory test is expiring in the next few weeks (and you don’t want to have to sit it again) you are often stuck, unable to book a test at all.
- TIP – Some of the paid services offer the opportunity to search at multiple test centres and there is a little trick you can use to get around an expiring theory number. Book a test at ANY test centre in the UK where you can find availability before you theory expires (it will probably be a location nowhere near you). Then, use a paid service to search at your preferred test centre as well. REMEMBER that you can only cancel a test (without having to pay again) more than 3 clear working days beforehand so, if you do not find a cancellation at your preferred test centre, it is UP TO YOU to remember to cancel your test.
Using Your Instructor's Number
Every Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) is registered with the DVSA and they have an instructor number. You can use this number to try and make sure that you are only offered a test date that doesn’t clash with your instructor being on another driving test. Great in theory BUT it doesn’t seem to work in practise. Why? Not everyone uses it and it doesn’t cover for times when your instructor is booked for lessons or away on holiday etc.
My Driving Test Got Cancelled
It happens. It is incredibly frustrating. Apart from having geared yourself up for test day, if you are at a busy centre the next test might be months away. Many learners don’t know that you can CLAIM BACK EXPENSES if the test was cancelled with less than 3 working days clear notice (Sunday’s and public holidays don’t count as working days).
What You Can Claim For
- The cost of hiring your instructors vehicle (based on your instructors standard hourly lesson rate)
- Any standard pay or earnings lost through taking unpaid leave (usually a half day on the day of the test).
- Other expenses that you incurred directly.
- Driving lessons before the date of your test
- Extra lessons before the rearranged test date
- Commission and overtime payments
- Your test is cancelled due to poor weather or light conditions
- There are issues with your vehicle
- You are ill or otherwise unable to attend
- You were given more than 3 clear working days’ notice of the cancellation
- The cancelled test was more than 6 months ago
DVSA will require permission from you to contact both your employer and your driving instructor along with letters from both. You will need to supply receipts for all the expenses incurred.
The actual application form can be found here, make sure you complete it correctly and sign it.
Do's and Dont's
Sign up to a serviceYes, they cost, but they log in hundreds of times a day and you just cannot compete trying to do it on your own
NEVER, EVER sign up to more than 1 serviceIt’s a disaster. Some (desperate) people think signing up for multiple services increases their chances of getting a test. But, the DVSA system only allows a single connection per user at any time. If one service finds you a test and the other service tries to log in, DVSA cancels the original session (the one holding the cancellation that you are desperate for) and YOU LOSE THE TEST YOU WANTED. Don’t do it.
Log in yourselfIf you have paid for a service. Same reason as before, it’s a disaster. You actually lose cancellations that way.
Driving Test Cancellation Services Compared
How the Cancellation Checking Services Work
The paid for services essentially do the same thing using the same data. None of them have any preferential treatment from the DVSA which was confirmed by an application for information made by an instructor under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. DVSA stated that no third-party had any preferential access to their data. So, the only difference in the services is their ability to design a system that works efficiently. Some are (much) better than others. It’s not as easy as it looks as the DVSA uses software to try and limit access.
We’ve ranked all the paid for services we can find below – there’s quite a choice – in order to arrive at our ‘Best Buy' and we will be reviewing them regularly.