Can You Fail a CBT Test?

If you’re one of the many beginner riders wanting to know if you can fail a CBT or not, this one’s for you.

In this article, we’re going to explore whether it’s possible to fail Compulsory Basic Training, if the CBT is a guaranteed pass, and other frequently asked questions on the topic.

motorcycle instructor standing next to motorcycle

Can You Fail Compulsory Basic Training?

The CBT is a training course, not a test, so you cannot fail a CBT. 

However, Compulsory Basic Training is still an assessment, so you must meet the minimum standard required to pass the course. 

If you fail to meet the minimum standard, you may be asked to return and participate in further training.

Is CBT a Guaranteed Pass?

Just because you cannot fail your CBT, this isn’t to say that the CBT is a guaranteed pass.

Many budding riders make the mistake of assuming that simply showing up and taking part is enough to be awarded a certificate of completion, but this isn’t true.

You must demonstrate a basic understanding of the highway code, operating the machine, balance and control, and safe road traffic skills before receiving passing the course.

What Are the Most Common Reasons for Failing a CBT?

While you technically cannot fail a CBT, your instructor can invite you back for further training if they deem it necessary.

Let’s take a look at the four most common scenarios where you’re likely to be invited back:

Arriving Late

As per the DVSA’s guidelines, all students must be present for the entirety of the CBT. Failure to turn up on time could result in you missing the briefing, being disqualified and forfeiting any monies paid.

We recommend planning your journey to the training school well in advance, making sure to account for unforeseen delays. Aim to arrive at least 15 minutes before the course is scheduled to start to give yourself plenty of leeway.


Nerves can, unfortunately, get the best of us at times and affect our performance.

It’s important to remember that Compulsory Basic Training is not a test, and your instructors are not looking for perfection! The CBT is there to help you gain confidence on two wheels and ensure you’re competent enough to continue training unaccompanied.

If you find yourself suffering from nervousness on the day, speak to your instructor. Their job is to help you, so don’t be afraid to ask questions or voice any concerns.

Honda motorcycles with L plates

Machine Controls and Balance

You are required to demonstrate sufficient knowledge and control of a motorcycle before advancing onto the road riding section of the CBT. This final section takes a minimum of 2 hours to complete, so there must be enough time left after finishing the other elements.

If there isn’t enough time left on the day to complete the road riding portion, your instructor may ask you to return for additional training.

Highway Code Knowledge

You would be forgiven for not having any prior motorcycling experience, but turning up to your CBT without any knowledge of the Highway Code is a no-no.

Do yourself a favour and buy a copy of the highway code before taking your CBT. Not only will this better prepare you for the training, but it’ll put you ahead of the class and no doubt impress your instructor.

Surely that can’t be a bad thing?


Can You Pass Your CBT in One Day?

The CBT course usually takes one full day to complete, but your instructor can invite you back to undergo further training if they think it’s necessary.

So, yes, you can pass your CBT in one day if you’re able to demonstrate the knowledge and skills required.

What Happens if You Fail a CBT?

Compulsory Basic Training is not a test, so you cannot fail a CBT. If your instructor thinks you need more training at the end of the course, they can invite you back for additional tuition before issuing a certificate.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this article has shed some light on the reasons why you may not pass your CBT on day one. Take our advice into account, though, and you stand an excellent chance of receiving that oh-so-important certificate!

While we’re on the subject of all things CBT, consider reading our recent articles on replacing a lost CBT certificate and if your CBT is kept on the police database.