Getting your driving license in Singapore is almost like a rite of passage, and symbolises a sense of independence. You’re not beholden to public transport schedules, Grab/Gojek surge fares, or your parents’ willingness to drive you to wherever you need to be. Also, it’s just a good skill to have lah.
If you’ve finally reached the age to get your driving license (18 years old), you can now take your next step towards independence. But where to start? Private or school? Which class of license? Does all of that matter? We’ll take you through step-by step on what you have to decide on and do.
Step 1: Manual or auto? Car or motorcycle?
There’s 11 different driving classes but they can be broken into 5 categories.
- Class 1 – Invalid carriages and can only be obtained by those with physical disabilities
- Class 2, 2A & 2B – For motorcycles only
- Class 3, 3A, 3CA & 3C – For cars only
- Class 4A – Right to drive a bus
- Class 4 & 5 – Right to drive heavy motor vehicles such as trucks or large vans
Most Singaporeans are looking at getting a driving license for cars, so you’re looking at a Class 3 or Class 3A (Class 3CA and 3C are for foreigners). Class 3 lets you drive both automatic and manual transmission vehicles, while 3A only qualifies you to drive an automatic transmission vehicle.
Step 2: Study and pass your Basic Theory Test
The first thing you’ll have to do when you get your license in Singapore is to study for the Basic Theory Test (BTT). However, this doesn’t include any of the materials you may need to buy in order to pass.
One of the best ways to study is to enroll in a self-study course like this one, which gives you access to different books that will ensure you pass your theory test with flying colours.
Another way to ensure you’ll pass is to try your hand at mock papers. This way, you can get a better idea of what theories you need to brush up on. If you follow these study tips, you’ll be sure to pass!
After you pass your BTT and take your eye exam, you’ll be able to apply for your Provisional Driving License, which is given to those who have just passed the Basic Theory Test and are learning to drive.
Here are some driving centres where you can book your BTT. Be sure to book your test in advance! You’ll have to create an account with your preferred driving school so choose one that’s near home (even though all of them are honestly…. so ulu).
ComfortDelGro Driving Centre
205 Ubi Ave 4, Singapore 408805
T: +65 6978 8199
Bukit Batok Driving Centre
815 Bukit Batok West Ave 5, Singapore 659085
T: +65 6561 1233
Singapore Safety Driving Centre
2 Woodlands Industrial Park E4, Singapore 757387
T: 6482 6060
Step 3: Driving school or private instructor?
Because slots for BTT are usually booked out far out in advance, you’ll also have the time to consider between a driving school or private instructor. Both have their pros and cons, so here’s a small list depicting their differences.
Think about what you’re looking to get out of your learning experience, and choose accordingly!
|Driving School||Private Instructor|
|Pros||– Structure curriculum, organised method of teaching
– Driving schools have the highest pass rates
|– More flexibility with timing
– Lots of different private instructors to choose from
– Instructor can travel to meet you which saves travelling time
– Cheaper fees
|Cons||– You’ll have to go to class more often than you would with a private instructor
– Driving school costs more
– Less choices, only three official driving schools in Singapore
|– Not always as structured as a driving school
– Passing rates are around 37%, while driving schools offer 48%-55% passing rate
The total cost to get your license in Singapore depends on whether you’re going the driving school or private driving instructor route. For a driving school, you’re looking at an estimate of $1,860 to $2,400. With a private driving instructor, it’s about $1,340 to $1,790.
You can definitely shop around and read online reviews of private instructors before deciding. After all, getting your driving license is quite the monetary investment so you want to be comfortable with your decision!
Step 4: Apply for your Provisional Driving License
Passed your BTT? Woohoo! Well, now you can apply for your Provisional Driving License (PDL). Using this, you can ride and operate a vehicle with your driving instructor. Also, you have to take a mandatory eye exam before you can apply for your PDL. Don’t worry – you can do that at the driving schools.
Apply for your PDL online using your Singpass here.
Step 5: Apply for your Final Theory Test
Unfortunately, the studying doesn’t end… yet. You’ll have one more Final Theory Test (FTT) to clear before getting your license. The good thing is you’ll be able to study for your FTT at the same time you’re taking your practical lessons (more on that in a bit!). But it’s best to book your FTT early since slots can get snapped up quite quickly. Plus, you’ll need to have already passed this before you’ll be allowed to take your practical test. So plan wisely!
Step 6: Learn how to drive
Decided between driving school or private instructor already? Because this is where the fun begins. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and get practicing. If you’re going for a driving school, start securing slots asap because they get snapped up in a flash. Plus, you ideally want to keep your lessons close to each other so you can actually remember what you learn and get used driving.
Step 7: Take your simulator test
What?! Another test? We promise – you’re almost there! The traffic police mandates that all learners must go through 3 compulsory modules of the simulator course. You can sign up for a slot once you’ve booked 5 practical lessons (booked! not completed!), so it’s best to get this out of the way early if you can. Think of it as going to the arcade lah, then maybe it’ll be less of a chore.
Step 8: Take your practical test
Your driving instructor will tell you when you’re ready to go for your drivers license. They’ll also help make the booking for you. Once your booking is confirmed, you will get a receipt with the time, date and venue for your Practical Driving Test. Don’t nervous ah!
The test will be conducted by a Driving Examiner and comprises two parts. First, they’ll test your skills on a driving circuit, then you’ll go onto the public roads to test your how well you interact safely with other road users, as well as your ability to comply with traffic rules and regulations.
Serious mistakes will result in an immediate fail, which can be nerve-wracking (don’t mount kerb like us). Be sure to take a few deep breaths before starting. Think clearly, and trust in everything that you’ve learned.
If you didn’t pass your first time (which is more common than you’d think) you can apply for a re-test as soon as you’ve booked two compulsory revision lessons.
Step 9: Pass liao, now what?
Congratulations! You are now a driver! You’ll now hold a Qualified Driving License, and will be under probation for a year as a new driver. If you’re interested to be a private hire car driver, then you’ll have to take an additional test to be qualified for a Vocational Driving License.. Phew!
So, what comes next? Well, the next obvious step is to get a car.
If you’re looking to get a car, look no further! CARRO has you covered. We offer a variety of cars to suit any and all of your needs. Plus, with our 160 point inspection check, quality is assured. Browse our cars here.