Self Improvement

Guide To Getting Your Driver’s Licence In Singapore – Private Vs. School Costs & Test Tips

Driver’s licence in Singapore


Like having your first drink and registering to vote, getting your driver’s licence is a rite of passage bestowed only on those who’ve turned 18.

As someone who is in the midst of getting her licence, I fully understand the ordeal of getting that coveted piece of plastic that lets you cruise down highways. There are tests to take, lessons to attend and the dilemma of choosing between auto or manual, school or private.

The process can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. But we’ve got the lowdown on all you need to know to get your driver’s licence in Singapore with this comprehensive guide.


How much does it cost to get a driver’s licence in Singapore


If you hold a foreign driving licence, you have to pass the Basic Theory Test (BTT), then apply for the conversion at any of the driving centres in Singapore. There is a processing fee of $50 for this, exclusive of any charges for the BTT.

If your licence isn’t in English, you’ll have to hold an international driving permit, or an official translation of your licence from your embassy, high commission, or a registered translation company.

Do note that the above is only for non-locals – should you be a Singaporean or PR who holds a foreign licence, you’ll have to prove that you lived or worked abroad for at least a year, and register for the BTT within 3 months of your return to Singapore.

Here’s a breakdown of all the costs involved:

School/Item BBDC CDC SSDC Private
Online Facilities Fee $3
Eyesight test $1.96
Photo taking $7.09
Provisional Driving Licence $25
BTT & FTT $6.50/test
Driving test $33
Qualified Driving Licence $50
Enrolment fee + 4 theory lessons $106.82

(enrolment)

$74.12

(4 theory lessons)

$179.85 $188.24 $80-90
Driving Simulator Training $14.17 x 3 = $42.51 $27.03 x 3 = $81.09 $24.38 x 3 = $73.14 Depends on school
Practical Driving Lesson – Off-peak (100min/session) $71.94 $73.03 $73.03 $38-60
Practical Driving Lesson – Peak (100min/session) $80.66 $81.75 $81.75
Test vehicle rental $250.70 $298.33 $239.80 Depends on school
Warm-up session $39.24 $43.60
Risk Forecast Training $22.89 (100min/session)
Induction Programme $23.98 (50min via Zoom)
Internal Evaluation $6.54 (off-peak)

$7.63 (peak)

Learner Driver Competency Screening $59.95 (off-peak)

$64.31 (peak)

Vehicular Pre-Operative Check (50min) $23.98 (off-peak)

$28.34 (peak)

Administrative fees $2.94/test

How to get a driver’s licence in Singapore?


Before we get started, here’s an overview of the steps you’ll need to take to get your licence. You can save this checklist and strike off each one when you’re done.

  1. Register at a driving centre in Singapore.
  2. Pass eyesight and colour-blindness test.
  3. Pass your Basic Theory Test (BTT) and Final Theory Test (FTT).
  4. Get your Provisional Driving Licence (PDL).
  5. Take driving lessons.
  6. Take three sessions of the driving simulator.
  7. Pass your Practical Driving Test (TP).
  8. Get your licence.

1. Registration process




Image credit: Google Maps

Regardless of whether you choose to take your practical driving lessons with a school or private instructor, you’ll need to register with a driving centre. Try to pick one that is the most convenient for you to get to, as this is where you’ll be taking all your tests – both theory and practical.

Whichever school you choose to attend, you can enrol directly on their websites, or at self-help kiosks in the centres. For a car driving licence, it’ll be either Class 3 (manual) or Class 3A (auto).

Here are the main differences between choosing a manual and auto licence:

Auto transmission:

  • Easier to drive without having to use a gear stick and clutch.
  • Most cars in Singapore are sold with auto transmission.

Manual transmission:

  • Easier to get an international licence when driving overseas.
  • Fewer learners so it might be easier to book lessons.

Once that has been chosen, you’ll be emailed details on how to sign up for your eye and colour test. You’ll have to go down to the driving centre to take this test before you’re allowed to book a date to take your BTT.


Driving schools in Singapore



Image credit: SSDC

The 3 driving schools in Singapore are: Bukit Batok Driving Centre (BBDC), ComfortDelgro Driving Centre (CDC) and Singapore Safety Driving Centre (SSDC).

You’ll see that each school offers different prices for various items, with CDC charging students for other compulsory modules.

Do note that it is more expensive to book a lesson during peak hours than off-peak hours:

  • Peak: Mon-Fri 10.20am-12pm, 4.25pm-10.20pm | Sat-Sun 8.30am-4.30pm
  • Off-peak: Mon-Fri 8.30am-10.10am, 12.45pm-4.15pm

The schools also offer extra theory lessons for those who need extra help in studying, but these are optional.

Bukit Batok Driving Centre Ltd
ADDRESS
815 Bukit Batok West Ave. 5, Singapore 659085
Opening Hours: Sunday 07:30 a.m - 03:00 p.m Show More Timings Hide
Monday 07:30 a.m - 03:00 p.m
Tuesday 07:30 a.m - 10:50 p.m
Wednesday 07:30 a.m - 10:50 p.m
Thursday 07:30 a.m - 10:50 p.m
Friday 07:30 a.m - 10:50 p.m
Saturday 07:30 a.m - 10:50 p.m
Sunday 07:30 a.m - 03:00 p.m
GOOGLE REVIEWS
4.8
(8012)
CONTACT INFORMATION
ComfortDelGro Driving Centre
ADDRESS
205 Ubi Ave 4, Singapore 408805
Opening Hours: Sunday 07:30 a.m - 07:30 a.m Show More Timings Hide
Monday 09:30 a.m - 06:00 p.m
Tuesday 09:30 a.m - 06:00 p.m
Wednesday 09:30 a.m - 06:00 p.m
Thursday 09:30 a.m - 06:00 p.m
Friday 09:30 a.m - 06:00 p.m
Saturday 08:30 a.m - 12:30 p.m
Sunday Closed
GOOGLE REVIEWS
4.3
(2542)
CONTACT INFORMATION
Singapore Safety Driving Centre
ADDRESS
2 Woodlands Industrial Park E4, Singapore 757387
Opening Hours: Sunday 09:15 a.m - 12:30 p.m Show More Timings Hide
Monday 09:15 a.m - 07:00 p.m
Tuesday 09:15 a.m - 07:00 p.m
Wednesday 09:15 a.m - 07:00 p.m
Thursday 09:15 a.m - 07:00 p.m
Friday 09:15 a.m - 07:00 p.m
Saturday 09:15 a.m - 12:30 p.m
Sunday 09:15 a.m - 12:30 p.m
GOOGLE REVIEWS
4
(2090)

2. Pass your eye and colour test


For private learners, you’ll have to book an appointment to take your eye and colour test at your registered driving centre. But for driving centre students, you’ll automatically be assigned to take your test on the day of your first theory lesson at the centre.

There are no tips or tricks to pass the eye and colour test. This is a routine practice done after registration to ensure you’re able to distinguish traffic light colours, as well as see well enough to drive.


3. Taking your theory tests & tips for passing


There are 2 theory tests to take – the BTT, which allows you to get your PDL, and then the FTT, which you’ll need to pass before you can take your driving test.


Image credit:
@stay23 via Carousell

There are textbooks that will help you with cramming all that information you need, and are published by Mighty Minds or ACE. You can easily find brand new textbooks in bookstores like Popular. But if you’re looking to save a couple of bucks, there are loads of listings on Carousell and Facebook Marketplace for secondhand books.

Do take note, however, of when these books were published, just in case there have been updated traffic rules and regulations.

The traffic police also have guidebooks for BTT and FTT that are free to download and updated regularly.

Like any good Singaporean student, you’ll want to take practice papers before sitting for the real deal. SG Driving has a bank of more than 400 questions each for BTT and FTT you can refer to. They even have flash cards and topical practice questions so you can focus on the areas you’re weakest in.


Booking a trial theory test


Even if you’ve decided to study the BTT or FTT on your own as a private learner, you can still sign up for a trial theory test at a driving centre to prepare yourself for the actual thing. Prices vary per trial test, depending on the centre you book it at. You can also take a free mock theory test on the Singapore Police Force website.

The trial tests replicate the actual examination, where you’ll have to sit for a 50-minute session to answer 50 multiple choice questions. Take note, you’ll only get your score at the end of it, but you won’t know which questions you’ve gotten wrong – if any.

Do take note that trial theory tests, also known as internal evaluation, are compulsory for students who have signed up with a driving school.

Don’t forget that you’ll need to score at least a 90% or 45 out of 50 questions in order to pass both theory tests.

Once you’ve passed, congrats – the practical driving test is the only thing standing between you and your licence now.


4. Registering for your PDL



Image credit:
DrivingInstructor

Once you’ve passed your BTT, it’s time to apply for a PDL. You can do so online with your Singpass using the Singapore Police Force’s e-service portal. Otherwise, head down to the Traffic Police Test Centre to apply in person. You’ll need your BTT results and your NRIC, plus $25 to pay for the licence, which can be done with cash or NETs.

Your PDL allows you to drive on roads with a licensed instructor in the front seat next to you. It is a must to present your PDL to your instructor every time you go for your practical lessons. You can take a screenshot of your PDL, or print it out to carry around with you.


5. Taking your driving lessons


Most student drivers will choose between a private instructor or driving school for their practical lessons. Both have their pros and cons, depending on what you’re looking for.


Time


Having lessons with a private instructor will allow you greater flexibility in scheduling lessons to your own convenience. You can even book back-to-back lessons if you want to speed up your learning process.

Driving schools, on the other hand, work on a first-come-first-served basis when booking lessons. If you miss out on booking classes for the month, you’ll have to wait till the next month to book your lessons. Having a large gap in between classes would mean having to play catch up each time you drive.

Some driving school students resort to camping on the booking website just so they can secure their slots for the month.


Instructors


If you’re going private, you’ll be stuck with your instructor for the next 6 months or so, which may be beneficial. Having just 1 instructor throughout your course of learning means they’ll be able to keep track of your progress.

As an added pro, getting a private instructor could mean being picked up at a more convenient location. Some driving schools are in quite ulu locations, which can be difficult to get to, and you might end up spending more time on the commute.

Driving schools do not assign a single instructor to their students, although you can request for it at an additional charge. But since the instructors are all from the same school, you should be able to get a similar education from each one.

Also, the myth of driving schools having higher passing rates than private instructors isn’t exactly true – it really depends on the private instructor you have and your own learning trajectory.


6. Taking the driving simulator


Since December 2019, it’s been compulsory for all driving students to complete 3 sessions on the driving simulator, before you’re able to book the practical test. For private learners, you’ll have to book this through the centre you’ve registered with.


The simulator puts you in the most common causes for traffic accidents for you to pick up tips on defensive driving but in a safe environment.
Image credit: @andrian_id via Instagram

Whether you’re a private learner or a student at the centre, it’s advisable to book the sessions as soon as you can, as there’s usually a long waiting list. Note that you’ll have to complete at least five practical lessons before you can book these sessions.


7. Passing your practical driving test


With lessons and theory tests out of the way, you’re now prepared to take on your practical driving test. We’ve got you covered there, with our driving test tips.

P.S. If you’re struggling with parking, many driving instructors recommend downloading Dr. Parking 4 (App Store | Google Play Store). It’s a simulation game to practise parking with, albeit on your phone.


How to get your driver’s licence in Singapore


Getting your driving licence in Singapore may involve lots of steps, but it’s all in the name of making sure our roads are kept safe.

This guide and the tips we’ve included should make passing this milestone in life easier for you, hopefully. It won’t be long before you’ll be racing out – carefully and safely – onto the roads.

Check out our other driving-related articles here:

Rachel Tan Yuan

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