Driving Licence in Singapore at BBDC (review, cost savings tips, guide)

In this article, I will share the cost and experience in getting my driver’s license in Singapore. I obtained a Class 3A Driving Licence in Singapore at Bukit Batok Driving Centre after completing 23 practical driving classes. To get your license, you have to take theory and practical lessons, tests and stimulator training. I hope my review and tips can help you make a more informed decision, if getting a driver’s license in Singapore is on your mind.  

Useful links

https://eservices.police.gov.sg/content/policehubhome/homepage/mock-theory-test-singpass.html

ComfortDelGro Driving Centre (CDC) in Ubi

Singapore Safety Driving Centre (SSDC) in Woodlands

Bukit Batok Driving Centre (BBDC) in Bukit Batok

My decision

Class 3A is for auto cars which makes up the majority of the cars on the road. If you have a Class 3 driving license, you can drive cars with automatic or manual transmission.

Total cost breakdown

Some of my classes are affected by the GST increase.

If you have moderate interest in learning how to drive, you might want to consider doing it asap due to the rising cost. It used to cost around $2100 3 years ago. It’s currently at least $2500 for those who pass on their first try.

Cost saving tips

The course materials for the theory component can be purchased on Carousell for about $5 each. The other resources are free, which I will share under the exam tips section. 

Driving schools

To get your driving license in Singapore, you can either get it as a school or a private candidate.

If you choose to go the private route, you have to find your own private instructor. Otherwise, you can consider between these three driving schools in Singapore: ComfortDelGro Driving Centre (CDC) in Ubi, Singapore Safety Driving Centre (SSDC) in Woodlands, and Bukit Batok Driving Centre (BBDC) in Bukit Batok.

Public vs private 

FactorsDriving SchoolPrivate Driving Instructor
Cost
100 mins per class. Generally 18-23 classes to clear the syllabus and have sufficient practice before the test.Practical lesson fees vary based on lesson timing (100 mins). Peak hour lesson was $77.76 (8% GST) vs non peak lesson at $69.12 This means that 1h of lesson (peak timing) costs $46.60
Perhaps private driving instructors offer cheaper lessons in the past. BBDC offers lessons at a lower rate, even for classes at the peak timings. 
I was quoted these prices from a private instructor$50 per hourEnrollment fee $100Test fees $350
InstructorsSurprinsgly, it is not disruptive to have different instructors. was assigned to the same instructor at most 2 times. The instructors for my 18 classes are detailed and patient during the lesson. It is good to get feedback from differentinstructors, to see what works best for me 
Consistent quality for the same instructor 
Lesson BookingIt’s very hard to book classes at BBDC due to the high demand. If your next class is sometime away,  it may delay your progressRelatively easier to book lessons
Circuit PracticeSufficient practices within the circuitSeparate booking for circuit practices for the students
Passing RateApparently BBDC has a higher passing rate  
Theory testsStudents from driving school are allowed to work on more practice tests as compared to private students
SyllabusA structured curriculum, with the handbook providing the details of what will be taught during the practical driving lessons in advance. Learning objectives are defined for each lesson.  So for closer guidance, you may consider going to a driving school for lessons.
Able to practice parking at carparks etc.

If you intend to learn driving from a driving school, you may want to pick the one closest to you so it will be more convenient. 

Enrolment

For enrolment in BBDC, you have to make an online appointment before heading down for eyesight, colour blindness test and photo taking which will be used for  your driver’s license.

You will need to top up your account for enrolment fee, lessons and tests etc. For school learners, $2000 is a good sum to start with. A refund will be provided if your account has a minimum value.

Extension

As the enrolment period is for a year, it will be good to get your driving license within a year. 

The cost of membership extension varies according to each driving school. BBDC may be a better option in this case as you’ll be allowed to do a monthly extension, after one year from the application date is up.

Duration 

The waiting time for tests may take around 1 month or less, in the case of popular driving schools like BBDC. It takes around 3-6 months until I could book my first driving lesson due to the limited slots. I heard that it is much easier to book the practical classes at ComfortDelGro Driving Centre (CDC) in Ubi

How you should allocate your time to the driving classes depends on how fast you want to clear the classes, and the speed at which you can pick things up. I took 18 classes within 5 weeks. 

This means taking at least 3 classes per week. It was taxing but doing back to back classes means what was taught during the last class is still familiar.  

Theory Lessons

There are 2 online lessons each, to prepare your for Basic and Final Theory tests.

After enrolling at BBDC, you will learn about road safety, signs and watch footage of road situations from the online basic theory lessons Do book the Basic theory test as early as possible, which will enable you to apply for a Provisional Driving License (PDL) via the Singapore Traffic Police website after passing the test. Obtaining a PDL will enable you to move onto the practical driving lessons and drive on the public roads.  

Final theory test is not a rush as you can study for it while taking the practical classes. Even if you are taking class 3A licenses, final theory classes covers some aspects of how driving a manual car works. So it may be easier to internalize some concepts while learning how to drive. You may consider taking the final  theory test after having some practical driving skills.

It is good to book practice sessions from the driving school to familiarize yourself with the exam style questions. PDL 

Extra lessons

There are compulsory simulator lessons for all learners. 

You will also be tasked to accelerate to a certain speed in the driver’s seat in a simulator room and be tested on your reaction to hazards etc.

The lessons are available for booking once you have completed a specific module for your practical lessons. You should book the slots swiftly so you can move onto the next level of the driving syllabus.

Practical Driving Lessons

First Lesson

You will know which car you are allocated around 30 minutes before the class. The cars in BBDC are modified with a brake pedal on the passenger seat at the front. So the instructor can brake the car on your behalf if needed.

It is important to consolidate your learning after every lesson.

Circuit lessons

The coverage of the syllabus for the circuit include directional change, brake on ramp, various types of parking and navigating the road with regards to right turn, U-turn, signaling, changing lanes and reacting traffic signs).   

Summary

For BBDC students, you are allowed to book a maximum of 18 classes. 

You’ll need to attend around 18-23 lessons to finish the syllabus, before you’re allowed to take the driving test. The class duration of 100 minutes are good enough. You will drive on the public roads first, then learn how to park and drive within the circuit. I recall heading out to drive on my second lesson. 

23 lessons enabled me to have sufficient knowledge for practical driving. 

I scheduled my first 18 lessons at 7.20pm. It isn’t not difficult to drive at night, but it is a tough to drive in the rain. Since it’s easier to learn without much traffic on the road, it’s best to skip the timings where people head to or leave work.

You will need to pass your FTT and complete the simulator lessons before you can take the practical test.

Final Lesson

I booked 1 lesson before the final test, which is my 20th class.

Exam tips

I had wrote down the commonly tested questions for final and basic theory tests. 

I had added my notes after every practical driving class

2 resources that are the most helpful in helping me pass the final tests on my first try are the practice questions from driving school and SPF. 

I find that the questions from the workbook and app store are quite different from what will be tested.

The practice questions from driving school are pretty similar. Approximately 80-90% from it are tested during evaluation. The final tests are much easier than evaluation. 

Another great resource comes from online mock theory tests on the SPF website. 

Exam date

There will be a 1-hour warm up before the test. Do remember to bring your NRIC and my Provisional Driving License.  

After passing the exam

 It’s good to practice driving, especially for students from driving schools as there’s only parking limited to the circuit. This means that we do not know how to do vertical parking or parallel parking or going up the slopes of the multi-storey car parks yet.

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