How to Get a Driving License in Singapore (Class 3/3A)

by Oradious

The process for getting your license goes like this:

  1. Enrol online or on-site (walk-in at 9.30am, 2.30pm & 5pm on Weekdays at Level 3)
  2. Photo-taking, eyesight test & receiving your training record booklet. If you enrol on-site, this will happen on the same day
  3. Watch the online theory videos. Login to your account in order to access it. There are a total of 4 videos. Watch the first 2 to be eligible to book for your Theory Trial Test (TTT) for your Basic Theory Test (BTT). I will explain how the money-sucking TTT system and videos work below.
  4. Book BTT
  5. Apply for Provisional Driving License (PDL) ($25)
  6. Book practical lessons
  7. Book TTT for FTT and then book your actual FTT and pass it before your TP test
  8. Book simulator lessons (available after subject 8). You need to complete 3 compulsory simulator sessions.
  9. Book Auto car lesson (if you are taking Class 3) after subject 14
  10. Book TP test
  11. Book revision lesson before your TP if needed
  12. Pass TP test
  13. Apply for Qualified Driving License (QDL) ($50)

Wow, typing it out already makes it seem like an arduous journey. So let’s get started.

Cost (School vs Private)

Before you start enrolment, you might ask yourself: How much is it going to cost me to enrol in a driving school, compared to finding a Private Driving Instructor (PDI)? This article by GetGo gives you a pretty rough estimation, albeit the prices are as of 2022 before the 8% GST kicked in. As you can see, getting a PDI is almost always cheaper. However, that might not always be the case.

As you already know, I went with school and SSDC. If you are curious how much I spent to get my license, I have noted it down on a spreadsheet and here is a breakdown of it. The date column indicates the date that I spent the money, not necessarily the day that a particular lesson happened. If you are lazy to click on the image, I basically spent $2011.88, taking 15 practical lessons and 2 revision lessons, and passed in 1 try.

The issues with going the private route (and how school might be more beneficial)

Initially, with the thought of saving money and having a faster learning experience at my own time of convenience, I wanted to go private. I sought out finding a PDI, asking around friends, family & even people in the industry but to no avail. It is imperative to note that PDI licenses have NOT been issued since 1987, and the current PDIs are forced to retire once they hit 75. That means as time passes, the number of PDIs on the road are getting lesser and lesser. I scoured the internet and read online reviews of individual PDIs, using the now defunct website. I contacted around a dozen of these elderly man, but results were grim. They were either retired, had switched to teaching auto only, ghosted and I only found 2 who were still teaching manual, albeit at CDC.

Reading the reviews of certain instructors doesn’t inspire much confidence too. From issues ranging to payment/ending the lesson early, to not teaching crucial techniques tested during the TP test, to having troubles using the circuit/booking a simulator lesson, hiring a PDI might also turn into a bane if you clash with him, since you are stuck with that 1 guy throughout your learning experience.

With that said, I am not saying you should 100% steer away from PDIs. If you find one that’s really good, by all means go for it. If you are curious if a certain PDI has a high passing rate, you can check out and select Passing Rates of Theory and Practical Tests in the dropdown bar.

Getting There

SSDC is arguably the most ulu out of the 3 driving centers. It is located here, at the Woodlands Industrial Area and beside Woodlands Auto Hub. SSDC itself provides a free shuttle bus service from a bus stop near Admiralty MRT, so you can make use of that to get to the location. The nearest MRT is Woodlands North MRT, and you can take Bus 856 from Exit 1. Do note that Bus 856 is bi-directional at that bus stop, and you want to make sure that you take the one that is going TOWARDS Yishun. Alight at Opp Woodlands Auto Hub (3 stops), cross the road and you are at SSDC.

I would advise against taking 169/858 from Woodlands Interchange to get to SSDC, as the walk from Woodlands Ave 9 to SSDC is quite long, and there are just more efficient ways to get there.


SSDC is a multi-storey driving center. It has 5 levels, and these are the ones relevant to you as a Class 3/3A learner and the amenities/services it provides:

  • Level 1: Shuttle Bus/pickup/dropoff point, Canteen, BTT/FTT test room, Driving circuit (mostly for TP test cars) TP test warmup room & TP test waiting room
  • Level 3: Customer Service, Walk-in Enrolment, Eye Test, Photo Taking, Practical Lesson reporting area & driving circuit (this is where most cars will practice their circuit skills, unless you are nearing your test)
  • Level 4: TTT room, Simulator Room, Classroom for Theory Lessons
  • Level 5: Driving circuit (you might or might not go up there depending on your instructor)

There are signs almost everywhere, and each floor is not very big. So you shouldn’t have any trouble getting to whereever you want to go.

Pre-Practical Lessons (Steps 1-5)

Ok, so before you start touching a car, you have to complete the first 5 steps I listed above. The first step is to enrol. If you choose to enrol online, just head to and there’s a big e-Enrol button on the top right. Do the necessary forms, pay up and you will have your student account number and password.

If you choose to enrol in-person, just head down on Weekdays at the stipulated timings (9.30am, 2.30pm & 5pm). Go to Level 3, ask the staff for help and you will be led into a room at the same level.

After enrolling, you have to do Step 2. For online enrolment, just do the exact same thing as walk-in enrolment. Yes, you heard that right. You will be led into the same room, sit through some briefing and go for your eyesight/photo taking. The only difference is that you don’t have to do the paperwork there for enrolment. Afterwards, take a queue number, and wait for your turn to collect your booklet. Once you collect your booklet, you will be briefed on some matters which I will mention further down. This is also the point where the first hint of sexism at this place kicks in. If you are taking class 3, you will receive a blue booklet, whereas if you are taking class 3A, you will receive a pink booklet. I guess I don’t need to say much more than that, do I?

Now, you have to go home to watch the online theory videos. You have to “watch” all 4 videos to be able to book both BTT and FTT. Honestly, the videos are long and boring. Just open the popup, skip to the end and clock the attendance. Then, refresh the main browser and it should indicate you have completed the lesson.

Now is where you will start spending money for actual lessons and tests. I recommend topping up $500 into your account since each online transaction is taxed an additional $1.08 and paying for items individually instead of with an account fund is going to charge you $1.08 per transaction. $1.08 might not seem like much but multiple instances of $1.08 will add-up and that amount might be non-trivial to some people. Unless you feel like throwing money to this money-sucking organisation, don’t do that.

Afterwards, book your TTT for your BTT. TTT is basically the practice for your actual theory tests. It has 2 modes: practice and mock test. You have to get at least 46/50 in the mock test mode for each BTT and FTT in order to be able to book the actual test. The rule states that you have to book at least 2 TTT sessions for each BTT and FTT. However, I found out that was a fucking lie before my FTT TTT (that’s why you see I only spent $5.35 on my TTT before FTT compared to 2x the cost). You only have to book the mock test once and pass it (46/50) to be able to book the actual test. Results for these TTTs show instantly.

To practice/study for the TTT/BTT/FTT, you can either buy the BTT book or grind the questions using the TP Test app available on Apple Store/Google Play. You can grind the questions on your app whenever you are free (e.g while travelling on public transport). The app also shows how many questions in the question bank you have gone through, so it’s a useful indicator to show if you have experienced every single question. If you are on your computer, there is a web version available.

TTT slots are readily available throughout the whole day. Essentially there is no lack of them. The same can’t be said for BTT though. The waiting time now is around 1 month, so you will have a lot of downtime doing nothing in between. It’s not realistic to expect someone to grind the questions daily between passing the TTT and the actual BTT. My advice is to kickstart the routine again around 4-5 days before your actual BTT, depending on the individual of course. Do note that BTT/FTT/TP test is non-refundable/non-trysellable.

To pass your BTT (and FTT), you need to get 45/50. On the day of your BTT, report to Level 1 near the TP counter. Your name will be called out, go up to the person and show them your IC or digital IC. Once in, go to your assigned seat, listen to what the guy says and sit for the test. Results show instantly once you are done, and you can leave thereafter. Once you have passed, you can apply for your PDL here within the hour for a fee of $25. Processing of your PDL takes around 1 working day.

The road to TP test (Practical Lessons, FTT, Simulator, Revision)

Hooray! Now you have gotten your PDL and can get to the most important and exciting (or nerve-wrecking) part, the actual driving. To get to the actual driving, you need to book a lesson slot. SSDC offers 7 lesson slots on Weekdays, and 5 slots on Weekends. The timings are 8am, 9.50am, 12.15pm, 2.05pm, 3.55pm, 6.20pm and 8.10pm. Only the first 5 timings are available on Weekends, and only the first 4 slots on Weekdays are considered non-peak. Non-peak basically means your lessons are cheaper, costing $72.36 instead of $81 for peak. You can also book a fixed instructor for an additional $8.64. Here is where things get confusing, so do bear with me as I try to explain it to the best of my abilities.

Lesson slots can be booked in-person or online. Personally, all of my lesson slots were booked online, and I believe most students do it online too. If you want to book it in-person, I believe you have to book an appointment (waiting time varies from 2-5 weeks). Although you could just try your luck and take a queue number at the customer service. You can try asking the staff to give you a slot, but chances are you might not succeed. So, back to the online booking explanation.

Online slots are unofficially categorised into two: Advance and Trysell. Advance slots refer to slots released by the center and usually have a wait time of 2-8 weeks. You won’t know when they are released, unless you head down physically to Level 3 and look at this hideous A4 poster located near the escalator. Ridiculous, right? Anyways, for the past few months, they have released slots on either Tuesdays or Wednesdays at 2pm. For this month, it is on the 1st, 8th, 15th and 23rd of March. From what I understand, the slots released on the first week would be for the last week of the next month (i.e 1st March would be last week of April), second week would be for 2nd last week of the next month, and so on. Sometimes, the school might release Advance slots randomly throughout the day as there might be an increase in the number of instructors available.

Trysell slots refer to last minute cancellations made by people who can’t attend their lessons. These lessons usually occur within the day or subsequent day. The best time to camp for these slots are commuting times (8-9.30am, 5-8pm), lunchtime (11am-2pm) and bedtime (10pm-11pm). These are usually moments where people find out if they are unable to attend a lesson. A good camping practice is to camp and spam to check for slots during these timings. A good 10 clicks or so every now and then should suffice. Another one is to have a separate tab open on your computer (if you are able to, don’t breach your company or school user policy), and refresh it every 30mins or so throughout the day. If you can inculcate one of these two habits into your routine, you WILL get a slot. No matter how despondent you might feel from seeing the lack of slots, a slot will eventually appear. Or, you know, you can just pay $10 for the service of Carousell bots.

You might see that there are 2 buttons, “Get the Earliest Date” and “Check for Availability” when you are trying to get a slot. The former basically checks if there’s any slots, and returns the earliest date the system can find. If there are none, it would say that there are no slots. The latter, however, returns you a table listing the next 7 days and the available timeslots (if any). It would still return the table even if there’s nothing. Do note that there is a LIMIT on the number of times you can click “Check for Availability” per day, so do not just blindly spam it. Spam the “Get the Earliest Date” button instead, as you need to click on the latter button to actually be able to click on a timeslot and purchase it. Once you select your slot, you would need to checkout within 10 minutes, or the system would remove it and it would be available for all once again. I discovered a bug where if you exit the cart and re-enter the cart again, the timer refreshes. I’ve held a slot once for 6 hours just to test this out. If you are desperate enough to do this, by all means go ahead. You can even write a Python script to automate this process for you, since there are no security and token checks while entering the cart. Booking of slots is a dog-eat-dog world. Everyone is looking out for themselves and trying to clear lessons.

Before you actually add a timeslot to your cart, do ensure that you have sufficient funds in your account. You are NOT allowed to top up any funds if you have a pending cart item, so you have to remove your slot, topup, and then fight for the slots again, by which time it might be gone. Slots can be snatched up in as fast as 2 minutes. Something else crucial to note is that you are only entitled to 8 practical slots per month, be it trysell or advanced. You are also only entitled to 18 cancellations before they start charging you money (cancellation differs from tryselling). Cancellations must be made at least 72 hours before your lesson.

There are a total of 34 subjects for class 3 (33 if you have the old book; not inclusive of compulsory auto lesson), and 33 for class 3A (not sure about the old book). Subjects are categorised into 4 stages. You can clear multiple subjects per lesson depending on your pace. Towards the end (stage 4), however, you must attend at least 1 session per subject. If your instructor deems that you aren’t good enough, he can note down in the system/booklet for you to redo the subject. I don’t want to give a number on how many subjects one requires before you can book your TP, because it really depends on the individual. You must also attend 3x simulator sessions (available after subject 8) and 1x autocar lesson (available after subject 14) for manual. And yes, the autocar lesson counts towards your 8 per month limit. Also, remember to bring your booklet and a screenshot of your PDL every lesson. Your instructor needs to check the validity of your PDL before you start driving.

Simulator slots are readily available. Wait time isn’t that long, and it isn’t impossible to find a slot on the same day. The only caveat is, there must be a 24h wait before you can go for another simulator session. The reason given is that some people might feel nauseous if they allowed consecutive simulator sessions. Anyways, each session is 15-20mins. You will be given a scenario, so just drive around and follow it. It’s not a pass/fail thing. IMO the things are not really important. The sim itself has no force feedback and the thing itself has less of a feel than an arcade machine. Just make sure the staff there stamps your booklet at the end of the session. As sim sessions are rather short, do try to make sure you have something else going on at SSDC that day, if not it’s going to feel like a waste of time. It can be a practical lesson, FTT, or whatever. Speaking of which, don’t forget to do your FTT. Just repeat the same process for BTT. Good news is, the wait time for FTT is relatively short (max 2 weeks).

Time to get your license? (Steps 10-13)

Once you have completed your sims, subjects and FTT, you can now book your TP test. The waiting time currently is around 4 weeks. I don’t exactly remember the timings, but the warmup starts 1 hour before the actual test. If you are curious, there is a timetable pasted on each counter at the customer service area. Unlike practical lessons, you can only hold 1 practical test slot at a time, and you can’t check for new slots once you have one. The charge is also non-refundable, which makes it highly unlikely for people to cancel.

During this time, it is normal for one to lose touch with driving, so I would recommend you to book a few revision lessons and tell the instructor what you specifically want to focus on (e.g if you are weak in parking, tell him you want more practice for parking).

On the day of the TP test, bring yourself, your booklet, NRIC (can be digital) and a screenshot of your PDL. Report to the warmup room at level 1 beside the escalator. A random instructor will be assigned to you, and he will ask if you want the old car or new car. He will then bring you to the car and go through the circuit once, before going out on the road. The whole process took 20mins for me, but I am sure my instructor was just a lazy bum who was more concerned with puffing away, because he denied me the chance to try the slope again (told me “you go and try with the tester later”) and I came back at least 10mins before the rest of the testees.

After awhile, the testers would come and call your name. Go up to him, verify your name and NRIC, and show him your PDL if he requests for it. Go to your car, go through the circuit. If there are no immediate failures (IFs) or you have not exceeded 18 points, you will go out on road. Once you return to SSDC, you will go back to where you started. At this point, if the tester has not tested you on e-brake, there is a chance he might do so right here. So do be prepared for that.

Once you are back, your tester might or might not explain the mistakes to you. Mine did, and gave me the test paper that indicates I passed. Some others got a slip printed out instead. Either way, head up to Level 3 to collect back your booklet, and get a queue number to ask to withdraw any remaining funds from customer service. Afterwards, your account will be closed, and you can get out of that hellhole and hopefully never see it again (unless you plan to come back for other courses).

If you need to extend the course, I think SSDC recently made it so that they will deduct the funds automatically from your learner account instead of forcing you to do a manual transaction. Just ensure that you have sufficient funds at all times, especially if you know you need to pay for a course extension.


One point I found hard to cover above was the instructors. I believe the instructors are grouped, so you will more or less see the same guy various times throughout your practicals. They also work 2 shifts (lesson 1-4, lesson 5-7) which rotates every week. That is about as much as I know regarding their shifts. During my time, I’ve had an array of instructors. All except 1 I was fine with. I am still undecided if I should give an honest review on each of them individually, since it is just my personal experience and I might say something that could ruin someone’s reputation. However, I would like to give a shoutout to 6308 for being a no frills, clear-cut and concise instructor who is easy to understand and someone I could banter with to make learning driving a more fun experience.

If you have an issue with a particular instructor, it is possible to request for a last-minute change from the Supervisor. You can usually tell by the car number if you are going to get the same guy. Just head to their office at the Level 3 carpark and tell the guy in charge you want to change car. If not, you can just fix a particular instructor.

Personal Anecdotes and Feelings (as well as those from acquaintances/friends)

What I’m about to write is a little bit of a rant, and not too important on how to get your license. Feel free to skip this part.

To be honest, trying to find out what exactly to do caused a huge frustration, which was why I decided to write this long-ass guide in the first place. I had to scavenge for bits and pieces of information everywhere, and some little details like there was a limit to the number of times you could click “Check for Availability” I had to find out from some random comment on Reddit.

As for the learning experience itself, I didn’t have many problems, but I have witnessed first-hand just how incredibly sexist this place was. I attended one of my sim sessions with a friend of mine and her 2 friends. I was initially with my friend and one of her friends, and the instructor was grumpy and rude, lowkey belittling some students. When the other friend walked in, let’s call her F, and he learnt that I was a part of their group, his tone towards me completely changed, just because of the presence of females. F herself was also harassed in one of her earlier practical sessions, with one of her instructors stalking her on social media and trying to hit on her, going as far as finding out who her cousin is and asking her if a certain person was her cousin.

Other anecdotes from acquaintances/redditors also mention that comments like “Wah, you got a female student with you today ah? Lucky!” and “Why are you learning manual as a girl? Auto is easier” are being passed around quite often. Unfortunately I don’t think much can be done about it, as I am certain passing sexist remarks doesn’t break the law, though it is a cunt move.

These problems aren’t exclusive to SSDC, and also occur throughout the other driving centers. When my SO was learning driving back in CDC, she once had an instructor ask her why she didn’t put on make-up that day, and that her putting make-up would make his day better and he would feel happier while teaching. Big yikes, isn’t it?

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *