It may be a teenagers scariest moment. It even makes grownups tremble, but to get your drivers license, you've got to take the road test. Written exam passed and a state trooper beside you, you've got to know when to yield, when to signal, when to stop and when to go.

Driver”I was petrified.”

Driver”I was really nervous.”

But our investigation found there's one thing most test takers don't know. Although the road test is designed to be standard, we obtained the most recent records for every driving test given in Massachusetts last year, more than 138,000 of them.

We crunched the numbers for each of the 79 places that give these tests. Some of them are RMV offices, and some are driving schools. Our exclusive numbers drive home one point: all test sites are not created equal.

Driver”I definitely think that's a secret people would like to know.”

Though on average about 80 percent of people pass the road test in some places, we found more than 95 percent passd.

Driver”What's the secret?”

The secret: every place with a pass rate higher than 95 percent is a driving school.

Where will you fail? Of the ten places with a pass rate under 70 percent, nine are RMV offices.

And what driver wannabes may not know: you don't have to attend the driving school to take the test there.

Hank, 7News Investigative Reporter”So looking at these figures, where you take the test can make a difference?”

Anne L. Collins, Registrar, MA RMV”It can make a difference.”

It's not illegal. It's not cheating. It's just having the money to do it. We found driving schools with the top pass rates require something more than knowing the rules of the road.

Unlike the Registry where you just make an appointment and take your chances, the schools with the highest pass rates demand non-students take a private driving lesson with them. Some call it a pre-test. That extra prep costs extra too, up to $60 more.

Hank, 7News Investigative Reporter”How much difference can the pretest make?”

Paul Greaney, Professional Driver Education Association”All the difference in the world. If you want to pay for lessons and instruction, your chances of passing are much better.”

But the cost goes up even higher. At the registry you pay $20 to take the road test.

At a driving school, it can be five times that much. Schools explain the steep price pays for the use of their cars, their teachers and to pay state troopers to come in on Saturdays.

Total to you can be $150, much more than the $20 you'll pay at the Registry.

Hank, 7News Investigative Reporter”So they're allowed to do that?”

Anne L. Collins, Registrar, MA RMV”They're absolutely allowed to do that.”

Money can't buy you a passing grade of course, but now, “where to go” may be the first test question you'll need to answer.

Want to check those rankings for yourself? Because of our story, the Registry has now put that information on its website.

(Copyright (c) 2007 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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