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Learning to drive in Singapore – Part 2: Driving School vs. Private Instructor

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Almost every Singaporean faces the dilemma between learning to drive at a driving school or with a private instructor.

Our very own learner driver weighs the pros and cons to help you make the best decision:

Driving School


  1. Receive the handbook of the Highway Code. This contains the traffic rules and regulations you will need to know to pass your Basic Theory Test (BTT) and Final Theory Test (FTT).
  2. Access to the school’s e-Learning system for Theory lessons.
  3. The free E-trial session, up to a maximum of 6 times each, for the BTT and FTT.
  4. A systematic process for practical driving lessons - ensuring you can learn everything clearly. One step at a time.


  1. Very pricey, expect a much higher enrollment fee than when enrolling privately.
  2. Expensive fees for practical lessons, varying between peak and non-peak hours.
  3. Requires a longer time to complete the entire course, since the lessons follow a defined system.
  4. Likely you will have a different instructor each lesson. This makes it more difficult for each instructor to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Unless you go for the higher fee option of having the same instructor throughout the course.

Private Instructor


  1. Cheaper enrollment fee
  2. Cheaper fees for practical driving lessons, although prices will vary amongst different instructors.
  3. Same instructor for your entire course. This means the instructor becomes familiar with your strengths and weaknesses, and can easily address challenges.
  4. Generally shorter time required for completing the entire course. May vary depending on individual skill!
  5. Flexible timings for each lesson. You can agree a fixed date for lessons. At the driving school, you will compete with other learners to book the timeslots you want.


  1. There are no complimentary E-trial sessions, or Highway Code handbook. You will have to pay for what you want.
  2. Learning under a private instructor has no fixed procedure. You may get confused if the instructor skips a step that s/he thinks is unnecessary.
  3. Some risk of having an instructor you don’t gel with, or think is competent. Try a lesson or two before you commit to more.

So… which of the two should I choose?

The simple answer is both choices have their benefits and drawbacks. The real question is “which of the two better suits my schedule and style of learning?”

Personally, I took driving lessons while I was studying in a polytechnic, feeling that time would be more constrained as I got older. I had to pay the lesson fees myself. I also decided on the private route to suit my schedule and complete the course quicker, which helped my budget!

Whether you are working full-time or still studying, pick the option that accommodates your schedule and needs best. If you are someone that requires a step-by-step learning approach, a driving school may be more beneficial. If you want your lessons to be flexible and quick, learning under a private instructor may be the way to go.

No matter which route you choose, the Number One priority is to stay safe. All the best for the road ahead!

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