Five things to know before trying for a driving licence in Singapore

If you’re new to the process of applying for a driving licence, here are some things to take note of!

Khalisa Zulkiflee

Creative writer and comedian on the side.

Published: 7 April 2021, 1:53 PM

As you turn 18, one of the things you may be looking forward to is getting a driving licence. However, the tedious and confusing process of deciding between options may put you off registering for one. 

Here are some things you should think about before heading to your nearest driving centre.

1. Auto or manual?

There are two main types of driving licences for cars: auto in Class 3A and manual in Class 3. 

Choosing between learning Class 3A and Class 3 is up to you.

However, anyone who has taken Class 3 will tell you that driving a manual car is much harder than an auto car as balancing between the clutch, brake and changing of gears takes a lot of effort. 


Automatic transmission cars are generally more common than manual cars in Singapore. PHOTO CREDITS: DEVEDZC and RAHULCHOWDERY VIA UNSPLASH


Despite that, people still choose a Class 3 licence as it allows you to drive both manual and auto cars. If you wish to drive when travelling overseas, you can also have more options when renting a vehicle. 

Most importantly, if you get a manual licence, you automatically get the bragging rights of “bro, I can drive stick leh!” 

2. Private instructor or school?

If you get lessons from a driving school, you will not have to source for your own instructor or worry about getting ripped off by an unreliable driving instructor. 

On the flip side, booking a lesson at the driving school is competitive. As lessons are based on a first-come first-served basis, you may end up not going for any lessons for a month if you miss the booking of classes with the school. 

When you do get to a book class, you may find that you will not have the same instructor every time, as they are on a rotational schedule. This means that your instructor will not be as familiar with your progress. 

At ComfortDelgro Centre (CDC) and Singapore Safety Driving Centre (SSDC), you can opt to get the same driving instructors at a surcharge. 




On the other hand, with private lessons you can get a fixed instructor, relatively low prices for lessons, and more flexibility in terms of lesson schedules. 

However, you will have to pay for each use of the driving circuit, unlike students enrolled in the driving school who can use it for free. 

You can find out more about differences between the lessons taught by private instructors and school instructors here.

3. Which driving centre?

There are three driving centres in Singapore: SSDC in Woodlands, CDC in Ubi, and Bukit Batok Driving Centre (BBDC) in Bukit Batok. 


You can take both your theory and practical lessons at any of the three centres. PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK/COMFORTDELGRO CENTRE

For those still having difficulty deciding between the centres, the SSDC is located in a rather ulu part of Woodlands. Meanwhile, BBDC is the most affordable of the three centres and known for having friendly instructors. 

As you will likely be busy with school or work, choosing the most convenient location can save some valuable time, especially since you’ll be taking driving lessons for months. 

4. Where to get competent private driving instructors?

If you have decided to go to a private instructor, you may be wondering where to find a competent one.

Finding your ideal instructor may be hard, as every instructor has their own style of teaching and may not accommodate your learning style. 

You can read others’ reviews of their private instructors on PDI Reviews. On the site, you can find information about which instructors may be impatient, or find recommendations on good instructors. 

Another way to find a good instructor would be through word of mouth! You can ask your friends or relatives who have already gone for driving lessons with private instructors for recommendations. 

5. How many tests are there?

There are three main tests that you have to take in order to obtain a driving licence – Basic Theory Test, Final Theory Test and Practical Driving Test. 

For the theory tests, it would do you well to have a cheat sheet to remember all the things to do and avoid while on the road, such as where you can and cannot park, and the identification of important road signals.

The cheat sheet cannot be brought with you during the test, but writing important things down will help you remember them easier later on. 

As for the practical test, you may be stressed and nervous as there are many things to pay attention to on the road. But just like with any other test, as long as you have practiced and rested enough, the chances of you passing are improved. 

When you’ve given these five considerations a thought, your road to getting a driving licence should be much easier. All the best!

You may like these