Driving Schools vs Private Instructors in Singapore: How to Choose for Your Driving Journey

4 Minutes

Driving Schools vs Private Instructors

One of the most important questions to ask yourself when you've decided to get your driving license is - should you engage a private instructor or attend a driving school? 

Both choices have its merits, and knowing the pros and cons of each can help you choose wisely. 

In this in-depth piece, we'll look at the differences between private driving instructors and driving schools. We'll break it down to analyse it in terms of flexibility, personalised attention, structured lessons and more. 

So let's jump in and find out which way is best for you!

Private Instructors

There are many reasons why people would choose a private instructor.

It's cheaper, you complete your lessons faster and you get to gain more experience driving in the real world.

If you've managed find a good instructor who teaches everything systematically, the learning experience is great. If you've picked an unprofessional one - from stories we've heard, you're not going to learn much from your instructor.

It's important to get good recommendations from online platforms, your family or friends. If you need help looking for one, you can ask us here.

Here's the advantages you can stand to gain by engaging your own private instructor:

Flexible Scheduling: Unlike driving schools that offer fixed timeslots, private instructors offer more flexibility in the timing & duration of each slot. This gives people who have other obligations like work, school, or family responsibilities to schedule according to their availability. For example, instead of a 1 hour class, some instructors allow students to extend their lessons to 1.5-3 hours or more depending on their availability.

1-on-1 Guidance: You’ll be with the same private instructor throughout the entire course. They'll have a better understanding of your learning progress and help you focus more on specific problems in your driving that you may have.

Pick Your Preferred Location
: Some students may find it easier and more comfortable to learn in a familiar place, like their own neighbourhood, when they take private lessons. This level of comfort can improve the learning process and make students feel more at ease behind the wheel. However, not all instructors offer this option, so you'll have to check with your instructor.

Lower Cost: Each lesson generally costs cheaper, starting from $45 per hour. Do check with your instructor if there's a minimum number of hours you'll have to book for each session (as it might end up being more expensive per lesson).

The Downsides

So what is not so ideal when you're engaging a private instructor?

Finding a Reputable Instructor: Since 1987, Singapore's traffic police (TP) has stopped issuing private driving license to the public. In other words, private driving instructors is becoming a dying profession. It can be hard to find one who is qualified and reputable. As an independent choice, it's up to you to do your own research to find a good fit.

Self-Study: There are no classroom lessons, so you will have to study for your BTT and FTT theory tests on your own. You may book a practice session through the driving school you have enrolled with (Do note that you'll only be allowed to attempt one practice booklet, while a driving school's student who have access to all their practice booklets). There are online assessments and apps that you can use to help you prepare for the tests.

Additional Costs: You will need to bear the additional costs of entering the driving school's circuit, which may cost about $40 or more depending on your driving school and instructor.

Driving Schools

Structured Curriculum: Driving schools have a well-defined curriculum that covers both academic knowledge and practical skills. Their structured methodology ensures that training is complete and systematic, covering driving theory and practical lessons, covering areas like lane change, U-turn, parking, S course, going uphill and downhill of the slope and more.

Theory Lessons in the Classroom: Driving schools offer theory lessons in the classroom, where you learn with other students in a group setting. These lessons give you a chance to ask questions and have open discussions with your classmates. 

Practice Tests and Resources: Driving schools have practice test sessions to help you prepare for both the Basic Theory Test (BTT) and the Final Theory Test (FTT). You'll have access to all their practice booklets, and therefore a higher chance to pass at first try. Most of the BTT and FTT questions can be found in the practice booklets, so you don’t have to worry about failing your test.

Experience in Teaching: Many driving school instructors are reported to have high passing rates. With a higher volume of students as compared to some private driving instructors, they are able to receive more feedback based on their students' performance in the actual practical test and therefore, know what examiners are looking out for.

The Drawbacks

Less Scheduling Flexibility: Unlike private instructors, driving schools usually have set times for lessons. This lack of flexibility in lesson times could be a problem for people who have tight schedules or other responsibilities.

More Lessons to Attend: You may have to attend a minimum of 20-25 lessons before you can go for your practical test. Under a private instructor, if you're a fast learner, you may not have to attend as many lessons.

Higher Costs: Driving schools tend to be more expensive than private instructors because they have a set curriculum with a minimum number of classes to attend. 

When choosing between private instructors and driving schools for your driving classes, you should think about your own preferences, pace of learning, how flexible you need to be, and your budget. Private instructors offer more flexibility in terms of scheduling, location and better affordability. On the other hand, driving schools offer a structured curriculum, highly experienced instructors and mock test resources. It's important to do your due diligence and choose a private instructor or driving school with a good reputation to make sure you get good training and support as you learn to drive.

In the end, the best way to get your driver's licence is to find an instructor or school that fits your needs and how you like to learn. Remember that safe and responsible driving is the most important thing, no matter which way you take. Good luck on your journey to driving in Singapore with confidence and skill!

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