Drivers hoping to have the freedom of wheels will be praying they are not among the 40 per cent of people in the Bay of Plenty who fail their test.
Data released by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency under the Official Information Act show VTNZ (Vehicle Testing New Zealand) driver testing stations across the region have an average pass rate of 60 per cent.
But VTNZ says it is not about pass rates, but about road safety.
In 2020, Mount Maunganui and Rotorua VTNZ stations had the highest pass rate for full licences with 67 per cent, compared with Tauranga with 61 per cent and Whakatāne with 65 per cent.
Drivers wanting to ditch their yellow plastic L plates were in for a harder test with an average pass rate of 57 per cent.
The lowest of the four centres was Tauranga VTNZ with a 51 per cent pass rate.
AA testing stations across the region were theory sites only so were not included in the information request.
The rest of the country had a national pass rate of 62 per cent across all centres, for all licence types.
VTNZ operations support manager James Law said it was vitally important that new drivers were as ready as they could be before hitting the roads.
"For us, practical driver testing is not about pass or fail rates, it is about road safety.
"VTNZ does not have a pass/fail quota, and is contracted by Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency to ensure all new drivers have the skills and confidence to be safe on our roads."
Law said Whakatāne, Tauranga and Rotorua test rates were within the national average for pass rates.
"There are many reasons for variations in pass rates between different testing areas and across different years.
"All tests take place on a predefined route, with a number of specific driving tasks such as left turns, right turns, lane changes, and are signed off by Waka Kotahi NZTA."
However, while different routes may prove difficult there were also many reasons people failed from their own error.
The top five reasons across the region included failing to signal, other illegal moves, failing to look and driving too fast or slowly.
The bottom five reasons included failing to carry out instructions, blocking a pedestrian crossing, stopping at a dangerous position, testing officer intervention and other dangerous actions.
Lack of confidence or ability on the road was what the testing officer picked up when someone drove to slowly and therefore led to negative marks, Law said.
"Driving significantly below the speed limit when not necessary can create traffic congestion and frustrate other road users, which can lead to dangerous situations."
Angela Koller, a Rotorua driving instructor for 18 years, has recently taken over her father's business, Allan's Driving School.
She believes people should be tested every 20 years to ensure they are the most competent drivers they could be.
"You just think, 'what has changed in all these years' - even road rules change and it's the only test we ever have to do until you are over 80."
Being behind the wheel of a machine that could potentially kill was something she wanted her students to know and she was thankful the restricted test was harder than the full.
"It means these brand-new drivers are having to brush up because we do want a higher standard of driving on our road."
Bay of Plenty Driving School instructor Jeroen van der Beek had one piece of advice to share: "The test is like an apple, one bite at a time."
The lesson being to not get nervous but focus on one task at a time.
He believed the perfect testing system didn't exist and people could only do their best.
"Some people may be better with a different way of testing, but overall I don't think its too bad.
"Sometimes I wonder if there is no room for people to have a logbook that is stamped off my driving instructors and have a simpler test at the end - because some people drive well but don't test well."