Time and time again Wanstead has been rated the most difficult place in the UK to pass your driving test. Recent statistics from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) show over two thirds of people (67 per cent) fail their tests there.

But is there any truth in it all?

Reporter Lara Keay got behind the wheel alongside local AA driving instructor Michael Jackson to find out.

Arriving at the Wanstead Driving Test Centre in Hermon Hill at 10am on a cold Monday (November 18), the familiar feeling of driving test dread came back to me.

I took mine when I was 18, 50 miles away from London in leafy Buckinghamshire.

Chronic nerves meant I failed first time, but I managed to bag my license second time round.

I hoped I would never find myself in a learner car again, but curious to find out the truth about Wanstead driving tests, I decided to brave it.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Michael, who has been a driving instructor for 12 years, said: “This centre doesn’t have a car park, so even before you start, students are faced with the challenge of pulling out into a busy road.”

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Sure enough, it was very busy, but after a few dozen cars passed, we were on our way.

First it was a slow drive down the car-lined backstreets of Wellesley Road and Nightingale Lane.

But rudely interrupted by a Redbridge rubbish lorry, I was plunged straight into the deep end with a three-point turn.

Luckily for me, my manoeuvre proved faultless.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Driving down George Lane, I nervously had to dodge mums with pushchairs and pensioners doing their shopping, before Michael told me to pull over on The Viaduct.

Nervously wondering what I had done wrong, it turned out to be a routine stop. Phew.

As we stopped for traffic lights at the top of George Lane, Michael told me to expect “one of the worst hill starts ever”.

But it wasn’t as bad as expected. So with a few extra revs we were back on our way.

Soon after, we reached a sign for Walthamstow, filling me with dread at the thought of the looming North Circular.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Michael warned me there are quite a lot of big, busy roundabouts on the Wanstead test route, and the A12 and A406 North Circular cause the most problems. In fact, it's why people fail their test.

After some “independent driving” in Highams Park, the moment of doom came as I signalled on to the A406.

I managed to find myself in the middle lane, which I quickly had to get out of without panicking, or cutting anyone up, when I realised it was the wrong one.

Oh dear.

With no time to focus on my reckless lane changing, I was already slowing down for Redbridge’s most hated roundabout – Charlie Brown’s.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Charlie Brown's Roundabout

It was more the fear of the roundabout than the roundabout itself that made me take the wrong lane again.

As we drove through South Woodford and back towards the test centre, Michael asked me how I thought I had done.

I said: “Alright I suppose, I don’t think I did anything too bad did I?”

Michael broke the news I had failed our mock test gently.

He said: “You drove very nicely and very confidently.

“But you were in the wrong lane for too long on the North Circular, which would have given an examiner a good reason to fail you.

“Your major error was typical of the Wanstead test route, and that’s probably why a lot of people fail.”

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

So with six minor errors for undue hesitation and my major for lane discipline, I can safely say Wanstead is a difficult place to pass your driving test.

I'm just glad I still have mine.