Originally written in 2010, but updated due to the number of hits it is receiving.
I get a lot of hits from people using the search term “how to find driving test cancellation slots”. The test wait has been as low as a couple of weeks up this way. At the moment it is at least 10 weeks, and from what I can gather it is almost double that in some places around the country.
I’m not sure exactly how DVSA allocates its available slots, but it seems that they have standard ones which are always available until someone books them. However, they also release additional blocks of test slots periodically, and these suddenly appear in the timeline even when all the original ones at the same times have been taken. It is possible that these are initially reserved for some reason, but then get released when it is clear they aren’t needed (it might also have something to do with manipulating the official waiting times – you can’t say the waiting time is 10 weeks if they always release extra blocks which are only 5 weeks away).
Test slots which require examiner overtime also appear in the timeline at short notice, and I assume that this happens because they don’t know too far in advance who is available to work overtime. Having worked in the rat race and experienced this sort of thing, it is also very likely that they have to get permission for overtime, and this is only granted on a short term basis.
And then there are other people like you. They’ve booked a test, but then find that they can’t make it for some reason, or perhaps they aren’t ready. So they cancel it, and straight away it appears in the timeline for someone else to book.
In summary, tests slots come and go for all sorts of reasons. But the closer they are, the quicker they get taken – and that’s the thing you need to understand if you’re going to find a cancellation (though by “cancellation” I mean any slot which becomes available some time after the initial ones have all been taken).
You simply have to be in the right place at the right time!
The “right place” is logged into the DVSA’s booking system. The “right time” is more difficult to pin down, so you need to log in and check regularly. The oftener the better.
Should I use a test cancellation booking service?
Short answer: no. They can’t do anything more than you could do for yourself – but they charge you extra for it without making that as clear as they should. But let’s be honest: most of them are trying as hard as they possibly can to hide that fact from you without actually breaking any specific Law. They’re as close to being scammers as you can get.