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Your guide to getting a driving licence in Singapore

Kimberley Ng
14/04/2022
2022 - CarBuyer Singapore - woman driving

CarBuyer Singapore helps you make sense of the different steps involved in acquiring your driving licence in Singapore


So you’re finally ready to (legally) take charge behind the wheel – but how exactly do you go about it? Where do you start? What do you do to prepare yourself?

Luckily, we’re here to help. Acquiring your driving licence in Singapore can be a long process that’s hard to make heads and tail of. But it doesn’t have to be – think of us like the Obi-Wan to your Luke Skywalker.

But, the first and most important question: Which driving licence should you obtain?

The most commonly taken driving licence in Singapore is Class 3A, for passenger cars with an automatic transmission. It used to be Class 3 for both manual and passenger cars, but with automatic cars nearly ubiquitous now, 3A is the simplest.

But before you even begin enrolling in a school, you’ll want to decide if you want to study with a driving school or a private instructor. Either way, you still have to register with a school to actually sit for your tests. 

Why study with a driving school?

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Structured lessons

Driving schools provide a structured environment for you to learn – from your basic theory test all the way to the practical driving test. Driving school instructors have a syllabus for you to follow ensuring a natural progression in your learning.

Driving schools also require you to sit for evaluation tests before you sit for the actual theory tests.

Pass rate

Based on the Traffic Police website, the first time passing rate for Class 3A licences for students from driving schools is higher than that of private students. 

Driving Centre(1stTime) Class 3A – Dec 2020 to Nov 2021
 Total TestedTotal Passed%
Bukit Batok Driving Centre4,5352,45654.16%
ComfortDelGro Driving Centre5,8743,61761.58%
Singapore Safety Driving Centre2,2521,28457.02%
Other Candidates10,3984,84746.61%

Of course, this also depends on your performance during the practical driving test.

Free use of circuit

There are two components to the practical driving test – the circuit test and the road test. If you pass the circuit, you’ll be asked to head out onto the main road for the second half of the test. In preparation for that, driving instructors will be dividing your lesson time between the two.

Because the circuits are located within the driving schools, it’s part of your lesson fees if you take your lessons through the school. In comparison, learning under a private instructor will incur extra fees for booking the use of the circuits.

What about private instructors?

Consistency

As a student under a driving school you’ll be assigned to a different instructor each time who might not necessarily be familiar with your progress. But with a private instructor you will be with the same person every lesson, allowing them to tailor lessons to areas you might be weaker in.

You’ll also be required to complete a minimum number of hours of lessons before you can sit for the practical test. But if you progress faster with a private instructor and they deem you ready, you could save money on additional lessons.

Flexible schedule

Dedicating time to learn driving is no small feat and scheduling is a big chunk of that. Under a driving school you’re tethered to the availability their instructors have, whereas private instructors are able to work around that.

Cost

Because you don’t have to complete a minimum number or hours/lessons with a private instructor, there’s a chance that you save money on practical lessons.

You also save on theory lessons by learning with a private instructor. All you need are theory textbooks that are available at any Popular bookstore. And if you want further practice, both Apple and Google Play app stores offer various apps that provide mock tests for you to build your confidence before actually sitting for them.

Getting a Class 3/3A Driving Licence

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Now that you’ve made a decision of going public or private, you’ll next have to create an account at one of the driving centres in Singapore:

Bukit Batok Driving Centre

Address: 815 Bukit Batok West Avenue 5 Singapore 659085

Contact: +65 6561 1233

Business Hours: 8:30am to 7:30pm (Weekdays), 8:30am to 1:00pm (Weekends)

ComfortDelGro Driving Centre

Address: 205 Ubi Avenue 4, Singapore 408805

Contact: +65 6978 8199

Business Hours: 9:00am to 7:00pm (Weekdays), 8:30am to 12:30pm (Saturday)

Singapore Safety Driving Centre

Address: 2 Woodlands Industrial Park E4 Singapore 757387

Contact: +65 6482 6060

Business Hours: 8:15am to 6:30pm (Weekdays), 9:15am to 12:30pm (Weekends)

How Much Does A Class 3/3A Driving License Cost?

Each driving school has varying degrees of cost but the three most common fees are the enrolment fees, eyesight test, simulator lessons, theory test costs, and practical test costs.

ComfortDelGro Driving CentreSingapore Safety Driving CentreBukit Batok Driving Centre
Enrolment feeS$176.55 (inclusive of e-learning and theory lessons)S$104.54S$96.30
Eyesight testS$1.82S$1.82S$1.82
Simulator moduleS$26.54/lessonS$23.06/lessonS$26.54/lesson
Theory testS$6.50/testS$6.50/testS$6.50/test
Practical testS$33S$33S$33
Vehicle + warm-up fee for practical testS$289.97S$231.12S$289.97

*These prices are accurate as of April 2022 and are inclusive of GST.

Complete your theory and practical classes

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Before you get behind the wheel for practical classes, you’ll need a Provisional Driving License (PDL). To obtain one, you’ll have to pass the Basic Theory Test (BTT). The test consists of 50 multiple-choice questions. You’ll need to correctly answer 45 or more questions to pass. 

If you’re a private learner studying on your own, you can download the BTT SG mobile app, grab a copy of the BTT Q&A handbook, or practice questions and mock exams here to prepare. 

Once you pass the BTT, the result is valid for life whereas a PDL has a 2-year validity period and the application or renewal fee of licence costs S$25 respectively.

After passing your BTT, the Final Theory Test (FTT) is the final test that you have to take before your Traffic Police (TP) test. You will also be given an hour to answer 50 multiple-choice questions, and need to correctly answer 45 or more to pass.

The FTT is a little more complex as it focuses on the different driving techniques and operation of vehicle controls. Similarly if you are a private learner, grab a copy of the FTT Q&A handbook or practice questions and mock exams here or on the FTT SG mobile app.

Traffic Police Test 

Before you’re allowed to book your practical test however, you’re required to sit for three simulator training sessions. Each session is 15 to 20 minutes and puts you in the most common traffic situations to test your response to them. 

Once your instructor deems you ready for the practical test, you can book your Traffic Police test date online. The test is divided into 2 components: the circuit and road.

The circuit consists of: crank course, directional shift, emergency braking, parallel parking, perpendicular parking, moving off on a slope, and S course. 

While the road consists of: Left turn, U-turn, right turn, and lane changing. As it is entirely up to your examiner, there is no fixed sequence to how you would be tested.

You are required to score below 20 demerit points to pass the final driving test. Each error committed has a penalty score attributed to it depending on its severity, some even leading to an immediate failure.

We’ve got an article with tips on how to ace your practical test right here.



Applying For Your Official Licence

If you pass the practical test with less than 20 demerit points, you’ll be able to officially apply for your licence. Remember that you’ll need a recent passport photo and S$50 for the registration fee. Fret not, this is the last payment.

After this you’ll still be on a probation period of 1 year. You’ll be required to display the P-plate on your car for a year from your pass date. These can be bought at any convenience store, supermarket, or gas station.

During this time, you’re also only allowed to rack up 12 demerit points. After that, you’re free to accumulate up to 24 demerit points, but we of course strongly advise you not to. Short of that, you’re ready to take off onto the Singapore roads with your new driving licence!


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Kimberley Ng

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