Getting My Class 3 Driving License – SSDC Learning Journey

class 3 driving license Singapore

I have been wanting to note down my class 3 learning journey since August this year. Personally, I find the online resources quite limited but I feel it is very useful for those readers who are still learning or still deciding to learn.  Hope I can chip in my personal experience to share with the rest to help.

Ever since Covid-19 started last year, I finally decided to get my class 3 as one of my targets for 2021 since the future now seems very unpredictable, and also likely I won’t be going overseas holiday trip due to restrictions.


Why did I eventually decide to learn at this age?

Definitely in my case is not peer pressure. Most of my friends already got their class 3 when they reached 18?  The same thing for me, when I was over 18 still doing my diploma, I already took my basic theory. In the end, I never took any practical lessons as I spent all my savings from my part-time job which I planned to use for my driving for a holiday trip, gifts, etc with my ex-girlfriend. 🙁

Furthermore, my family has no cars unlike others and I also do not have any intention to get a car yet to add further financial burden for myself. After hearing some of my friends having a license for maybe 10-2- years yet did not have a chance to drive since they passed. Therefore, having a driving license may not be useful for me at that stage of my life so end up totally having no intention to take driving initially.

Technically, I already cleared my basic theory test almost 20 years ago.  Oh yes!  Unlike final theory having 2 years expiry once you passed, the basic theory is lifetime therefore there is no expiry.

1. Unpredictable Future

Like I mentioned earlier, the future is so unpredictable. Furthermore, I have a family and more concern will be my daughter. In case one day I lost my job, with a driving license and a vocational license I still temporarily can earn a living while looking for a full-time job, etc.

2. For my daughter

This part maybe just a dream for me as a father. Ideally, I am able to send my daughter to school every morning in case my daughter completes her primary school and is able to enroll in a secondary school that is further from our home.

Enrollment Process

This may be a major headache for some when they still considering enrolling as a school or private student or which school should enroll in.

For my case, I enrolled in SSDC (Singapore Safely Driving Center) because of one reason. I am staying in Woodlands easier for me to travel, save effort, and traveling time. Although I did a bit of research during the last 1 year, SSDC is one of the lowest passing rates according to the police website, under traffic matters.

During the registration, they will actually ask you to go to the Police website to log in with your Singpass to show them the date that you passed your BTT.

So my case since I already cleared my Basic Theory Test (BTT) long ago, I can prepare for my final theory test (FTT) and apply the PDL directly through the police site in order to take Practical Lesson. You can refer to the image below for the course outline from SSDC.

B41 - SSDC Class 3 Course Outline
Image Source: SSDC Website –

Enrolment Fees

If you go for the private instructor, I think the enrolment fees varies but will be cheaper compared to school.

These are the enrolment fees for your reference for each school when I started writing this post , it is recommended to check on their website directly for the updated fees.

  • SSDC – $174.09
  • BBDC – $96.30
  • CDC – $176.55

The enrolment fee will be valid for 1 year. Therefore, if you took more than a year to complete then you will require to extend the membership with additional costs.

Requirement Checklist For Enrolment:

  1. E-Appointment (Depends on the Covid-19 restriction. I am not sure about other driving schools but SSDC require to make e-appointment online in order to do enrolment as they may not entertain walk-ins due to Covid-19)
  2. Cash or Nets
  3. NRIC

Clearing Your Theory Test

So I took a half-day leave and enrolled with SSDC on 29 Apr 2021. They also share that all the practical classes were fully booked so the next opening will be in July.

During this period, I start off doing some reading on the Final Theory textbook which can be downloaded free from the police website, and do some practice exams that I got it online. I will revise whenever I am free like while waiting for my daughter’s class,  before I go to bed etc, bit by bit every day, and book for the theory trial test around May 2021. I cleared my trial test with 49/50 and manage to book my final theory in June.

Do take note the waiting time for the actual theory test is about 1 month during that period. I will strongly suggest clearing your FTT asap before or during your practical lesson. You will need to clear FTT in order to book for your actual TP test which also requires you to wait about 3 -4 weeks.

Since I have been practicing and revising since May, I manage to clear my final theory test with one-try as well with a full score.

Cost of Clearing Basic & Final Theory Test

You require to book & pass a trial test first before you can book for the actual theory test. This applies to both basic and final theory in SSDC. I am not sure whether other schools also apply the same process.

In SSDC,  each trial test costs $5.35 and the actual theory test will be $6.50. If I still recall correctly, you need to score 45 out of 50 for the final theory test.

Resource To Clear Your Basic & Theory Test (BTT & FTT)

You can do a google search to get the PDF version of the Basic or Final theory book to do revision.

How to download basic or final theory driving book from Police site

Practical Lessons

I started to book my practical lessons around the June period for July onwards. So this is the time that we top-up your account and try to book as much as possible.

Since I feel that I am not that fast learner or really knowledgeable about cars, I booked about 25 lessons in advance till Oct first whatever slots are available in the system. For this part, you can top up your account with about $2,000 to book at least 20 lessons in advance.

For SSDC, there are in total 4 stages and 33 subjects complete class 3 course. My first practical lesson started on 14 July 2021 and completed all 33 subjects on 1 October.

I booked my practical test slot before I complete all 33 subjects with the customer service when I am on subject 32.  You can do it by yourself online after you completed all 33 subjects.

Provisional Driving License (PDL)

I applied and paid for my Provisional Driving License (PDL)  after my enrolment. The PDL will cost $25 through an online application and is valid for 2 years.

There is no hardcopy card type for PDL anymore so either you have to print it out or screenshot the PDL validity using your phone. You have to show this during your practical lessons & during TP.

It is advisable to clear your BTT fast in order to apply for your PDL.

Lesson Frequency

Overall, I find it enjoyable and meaningful for all my class 3 driving classes and every lesson is like gaining new insights and experience.

In total, I met about 6 different instructors in total & I do have a fixed one too. So sometimes I also try to sell my existing pre-book lesson and get lessons from try-sell to match her shift. I will share more in the next section.

I managed to push myself to attend 2-3 lessons every week and can be quite tiring sometimes. Each lesson is 120 minutes but it will be 100 minutes similar to other schools from Dec 2021 onwards. Which I feel is good as I find my mental and physical really drained out at the end of the lesson for driving a manual car.

There are too many things to do, like keep changing gear, control your clutch, check mirrors, blind spots etc especially lane changing during peak hours.

My Fixed driving instructor

My usual fixed instructor is called Elizabeth as I find her really passionate to teach and correcting the mistakes you make.  I decided to fix her after my 4th lesson which is also my first actual road lesson. She is very careful or strict as most of the time she will only clear 1 subject at one time to drill you well on the road & circuit.

Most importantly, she really boosts my confidence, bringing me around to places like near Woodlands Checkpoint or Woodlands Ave 12 which allows me comfortable with the speed to drive up to 70km/h.

There are funny incidents too like making a right turn instead of a U-turn where we too engrossed talking, or the plastic sheet fly onto my face suddenly while driving because too windy. The plastic sheet which used to block between the 2 seats due to covid 19 measure can be hazardous at times as it also causes difficulty to see through the plastic sheet as there is reflection.

Though my progress may not be as fast as others I believe she plays an important role in my one-time pass for my TP.

Though she may not see this post, I do appreciate and remember all the guidance she has given me!

Try-sell slots

In the end, about 50% of my lesson got from try-sell as sometimes due to work and other commitment or sometimes I will try to sell it to match with my usual instructors shift.

So I usually try to camp on the SSDC website, keep refreshing like while eating my meal or waiting for something, etc. Overall, I will say I have no issue getting try-sell slots as long as you are willing to spend a bit of time to keep refreshing the site for slots.

Refresh daily limit for SSDC site

In Oct 2021, I did notice SSDC placed a limit of a refresh for each user.  I was not sure what is the maximum number you can refresh for the slots daily. I did hit the maximum refresh quota when I keep refreshing since morning and during my lunchtime for my revision slots.  I also checked with customer service about this refresh limit, they not sure what is the exact number you can refresh per day.

I guess SSDC put this new measure to counter those people who used scripts etc to get try-sell slots as I did see some people providing this service in the carousel.

Simulator Lessons

Under the new rule, we are also required to complete 3 simulator lessons before we can book a practical test.

For SSDC, you only can book after you have cleared Stage 1 and only able to book one session after you complete. This can be a blocker when you require to book your practical test.

As the waiting time for the next simulator’s earliest slot can be as long as 2 months. My advice or tips for this will be to book the remaining 2 with customer service directly instead of waiting to clear your 1st simulator lesson.  I cleared all 3 simulators on 24 (2 sessions) & 27 Sept) where I am completing my stage 3.

Driving Simulator Training

Practical Test

My practical test was on 26 Oct 2021, 10.15 am, and required to report 9.15 am for the warm-up session. In total, I had about 4 revisions while waiting for my TP. Once a week and the last one was 3 days before my actual TP. Do note that you required to bring the following during the TP

  1. NRIC
  2. PDL (printed copy or screenshot on the phone)
  3. Lesson Booklet (the warm-up instructor require this for school student)

Warm-Up Session Before TP

For the warm-up,  got to know my test car is number 5, forget to see the car plate number. Everything went quite smoothly in the circuit, No mount or strike kerb. Just that during the S course, somehow my left foot was shaking when on half-clutch.

Actually, it did happen during the practical lessons but just unable to find out the root cause. Initially, did suspect due to coffee because after reading some people their hands will shake if too much caffeine intake.

For both vertical and parallel completed within 2 mins, quite surprised with the timing. As for the road, quite a short one did a u-turn and come back to school.

Actual TP

I followed the warm-up instructor to wait at my test car at 10 am for the tester to come. During that time my only worried that my leg will shake again especially for the circuit slope. So for my test, he came in around 10.10 am,  I do make sure he finished setting up his gadgets (tablets & camera) and watched him wear the seat belt before I move off.  As usual, I diligently do all safely check for all the turning, maneuver, signals, etc. The tester’s instruction was very loud and clear so I acknowledged him back Noted or Yes Sir.

Circuit Test

The surprising part is during parallel parking, he suddenly asked me to stop and handbrake up free up the gear when I doing my full right lock to reverse into the slot. So I asked him whether do I need to go out with him but he told me I can stay in the car. He stopped the time on the tablet and went out to check the behind the car. I guess he is checking whether I strike the kerb and luckily when he went back to the car and ask me to continue with my parking.

The rest of the stations went quite smoothly except for the circuit slope it rolled back slightly while releasing my handbrake which cost me 2 points. The feeling is like after each station you completed, you will feel a lesser burden on yourself.

SSDC Circuit Map

  1.  SSDC Level 1 Circuit Map

Retrieved from

Test Route 3

I feel relieved after he asked me to head out to the road, but we also did an emergency brake when reaching the gate. He did not mention which test route we will be heading to but based on the u-turn point it should be a shorter version of test route 3.

Why shorter version because we head straight to the u-turn area instead of turning left at the Woodlands Mart area. Good for me I guess, shorter route meaning less risk to make mistake. He highlighted a few things, to ask me to slow down when I cross the traffic junction even though I was still within my speed limit.

Lane Change At The Bend

Another quite serious mistake I made was changing lanes at the bend which cost me 6 points. As there is a heavy vehicle parked and doing some roadwork at the left lane. After I overtook the vehicle and move back the left lane was at the bend. I think the tester was quite shocked and keep asking why I change lanes at the bend. My reply to him was Sorry, I will take note of this. In fact, I did not know about this as well, and also not sure whether I changed lane at the bend. So returned back to school after the u-turn and nothing special after that.

Final Result

While waiting for the result, I feel very curious about how many points will I get & will I be able to pass based on my performance. After a short while, the tester came out with the paper and review my performance earlier. I only remember generally he said my driving was good and I should not lane change at the bend area. Finally, he congrats me for passing and giving me advice on how to apply for the QDL online.

I also scored another 4 points for changing lanes abruptly when returning back to school. In total, I got 16 points. Actually, I am really glad that I make it for my first try!

B41 - TP Result

Final Thoughts

After the TP, I will definitely remember this lifetime not to change lanes at the bend. After I got back home, I also wrote an email to SSDC to feedback and thank the 2 instructors who actually helped me during my class 3 driving lesson.

I am also grateful to some instructors who always give me guidance and never fail to boost my confidence in every lesson.

Lastly, for those who take the driving lesson, just do your best will do and the best we can do is to make sure you are familiar & confident with the circuit & road. Since we are unable to control external factors like the traffic, weather conditions during TP, tester (strict or lenient) but all we can control is to drive confidently and safely.

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