Despite the high price of owning a Certificate Of Entitlement (COE) in Singapore, driving schools like the Bukit Batok Driving Centre still see their practical lessons fully booked with new comers having to wait for up to three months before getting their first driving lesson.
There are 3 driving schools in Singapore: Singapore Safety Diving Centre (SSDCL) in Woodlands, ComfortDelGro Driving Centre in Ubi and Bukit Batok Driving Centre (BBDC) in Bukit Batok. Most people will pick a school closest to their home, but some people may also look at other factors such as price and passing rates.
Before you rush to join the crowd, let’s examine the cost of getting a driving license in Singapore.
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Cost of Passing Your Theory Tests
If you’re a school candidate, expect to attend 4 compulsory theory lessons before being allowed to take the theory test.
The cost of the theory lessons for the 3 schools are summarised as follows:
|BBDC||$17.12/lesson, $68.48 for 4 lessons|
|SSDCL||$69.55 for 4 lessons|
|CDC||$69.55 for 4 lessons|
After that, schools would require you go for an evaluation test (think of it like a Prelim exam) before you can sign up for the real theory tests. In order to pass the evaluation, it is important to go for some practice sessions that contain questions similar to the actual test. It’s not worth it to fail the Basic Theory Test (BTT) and Final Theory Test (FTT).
These practices and evaluation would cost some money as well.
|School||Price for practice||Price for evaluation|
|BBDC||$3.21/session for school students
$5.35/session for private students
|SSDCL||$4.28/session for school students
$17/session for private students
|CDC||Price included for school students
$10.70 for private students
After passing the internal evaluations, you can book the Basic Theory Test and the Final Theory Test. Each test cost $6.50 per attempt. The BTT does not have an expiry date but the FTT will expire in 2 years if you don’t pass your driving test by then. If you don’t, you have to retake the FTT every 2 years.
Private candidates can buy the BTT and FTT books from Popular at about $7 together and self study. You would not be subjected to the compulsory theory lessons and evaluations. However, it is still recommended that you try the theory practices in schools or online (sgdriving.org) before you take the test.
Cost of Practical Lessons for School Candidates
We move on to the real bulk of the cost of learning how to drive – practical lessons. Once you pass your BTT, you must apply for a Provisional Driving License (PDL) at a cost of $25. It is only valid for 6 months, so do aim to pass your driving test by then.
Costs of practical lessons differ greatly for peak and non-peak timings:
|School||Peak Hour Lessons||Off-Peak Hour Lessons|
|BBDC||$77.04/100 min||$68.48/100 min|
|CDC||$77.04/100 min||$68.48/100 min|
You can save a lot by going for non-peak hour classes – almost $10 per lesson. However, if you’re a working adult with a fixed work schedule, you have little choice. You can consider private instructors but even then, their schedule is likely to be tight during peak hours.
Even on weekdays, the majority of sessions are considered peak hour lessons. For instance, in BBDC:
|Session||Monday – Friday||Saturday & Sunday|
|1||07:30 – 09:10||*07:30 – 09:10|
|2||*09:20 – 11:00||*09:20 – 11:00|
|3||*11:30 – 13:10||*11:30 – 13:10|
|4||13:20 – 15:00||*13:20 – 15:00|
|5||*15:20 – 17:00|
|6||17:10 – 18:50|
|7||*19:20 – 21:00|
|8||21:10 – 22:50|
* Peak-Hour Sessions for BBDC
Typically, school students have to attend around 25 lessons, depending on how fast they learn, before they can take the test.
If you prefer to have the same instructor taking you through all your lessons, you will need to pay extra. SSDCL and BBDC charge an extra $8.56 per session if you request for a specific instructor. CDC charges $10.70 for that. It is beneficial for those who want a single instructor to provide personalized feedback.
After completing your driving lessons, you can finally move on to the (daunting) driving tests. This is where you would hear stories from your relatives about how they took at least 2 or 3 times to pass. We break down the cost for you:
|School||Cost of Driving Test/Attempt|
Cost of Practical Lessons for Private Candidates
Private candidates can expect to save more than school candidates. Registration costs range from $50 to $80.
Typical lessons cost $30-$40/hour and might be more expensive on weekends. However, expect to pay more to book circuit trainings in school.
The number of lessons required differs widely among private students. While some are ready to take the test with merely 10 lessons, others may have up to 30 lessons. It really depends on your instructor.
Congratulations if you pass the driving test! You now have to pay a fee of $50 for your driving license. That is thankfully the last cost on this driving journey.
Summary of Total Cost
|Item||School (Average)||Private (Average)|
|Theory lessons||$69||$7 for books|
|Theory Practices (assume you attend 2 practices and evaluation)||$12||–|
|Theory Tests (BTT and FTT)||$13||$13
|Provisional Driving License||$25||$25|
|Practical Lessons||25 x $68.48||25 x $55|
|Circuit Lessons||Included||3 x $58|
|Other cost: Membership Extension/month||$8.50/month||–|
The Hardest Decision: Should I Attend School Lessons or Private Lessons?
There are a few considerations here. Private lessons are definitely cheaper and you can definitely save a few hundred dollars if you learn fast, but they come with some “risks”.
School candidates have a higher passing rate compared to private candidates because the standard curriculum drills every student to be familiar with the circuit and the exam routes.
In comparison, lessons are more flexible for private instructors and they might not fully cover all that’s required in the exam. Furthermore, it is difficult for private instructors to book circuits, so students may have more difficulties in the circuit test.
Private candidates have better flexibility as they can arrange with their instructors based on their schedules. Some instructors who live in the same area could even pick students up/drop them off at their houses. If you’re a busy person and confident in your learning abilities, you will definitely save more with a private instructor.
When choosing a private instructor, it is useful to read reviews and check every instructor student passing rate on the Singapore Police Force website.
If you’ve decided on getting a private instructor, our tip is to call them because they usually don’t reply texts. Let’s just hope they don’t pick up your call when driving on the road.
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