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What is the SERU assessment – and how to pass the test in 2024


Many PCO drivers are nervous about the TfL English tests and, in particular, the SERU assessment. This post will help you to succeed. First, let’s explain why PCO drivers must take this exam at all.

Back in 2016, TfL introduced the English Language Requirement (ELR) as part of its rules for getting the PHV driver licence you need to work as an Uber driver in London – and SERU is one half of this. Many private hire drivers in the capital also refer to this licence as a PCO badge but it’s the same thing.

Our full guide on how to get a PCO licence in 2024 is here. Right now, let’s talk about SERU.

Quick facts

In January 2024, Transport for London (TfL) announced that it is trialling a whole new format for the SERU test. More details below.

How does the SERU assessment work?

The ELR checks that every private hire driver in London can speak, listen, read and write English to an intermediate standard. This means that an Uber driver has the language skills to cope with most ‘common situations’ while on a trip to the UK.

To meet the old requirement, Uber drivers could simply provide documentary ELR evidence, such as a certificate from one of TfL’s Secure English Language Test (SELT) providers.

In 2021, TfL said that PCO drivers must take actual tests for the ELR – and it expanded the idea to check they understood the safety and rights of passengers, plus basic TfL regulations.

This new element was the Safety, Equality and Regulatory Understanding (SERU) assessment. Rather than make London PHV drivers take an extra test, in addition to the speaking and listening exam,  the SERU assessment also checks your reading and writing skills. It’s one test with two purposes.

Since April 2023, every London Uber driver must pass the SERU assessment, whether they are new to the game or an experienced driver renewing their PCO licence.

Drivers who got a PCO license before that date still have some flexibility – and we will explain what that means soon. Before that, let’s focus on how the two ELR tests work.

Dewan has been driving full-time for one year

What does the TfL English test include?

The TfL English test – which is how some PCO drivers describe the ELR –  is split into two halves.

  • Speaking and listening assessment

The first test checks your verbal English language skills and it is a 15-minute conversation with an interlocutor (i.e. an examiner you speak to). This test happens at the TfL offices but it takes place over a video or telephone link with a TfL service provider called PeopleCert.

  • Reading and writing assessment (SERU)

The second exam ensures you understand key points about passenger safety, equality and other TfL regulations, while also checking your written English skills. This is a 45-minute test that involves multiple-choice questions and completing sentences by filling in missing words.

The tests are run separately but most drivers take both on the same day. You can do this at the TfL office in Baker Street or West Kensington. Each costs £36 if taken for the first time or £16 for a resit.

For more practical details about exactly how to book the two ELR tests see our full guide.

Did you know?

The third TfL exam for a PCO licence checks if an Uber driver knows London geography and is able to plan routes. This is called the Topographical Test and we also have a post on this here.

Azu has upgraded to a Skoda Enyaq with Otto Car’s Part-Exchange scheme

When do PCO drivers take the ELR exam?

From April 2023, all new private hire drivers must pass both ELR tests to get a PCO licence but there is wiggle room for Uber drivers who applied for their licence before then. Here’s how it works:

Group 1

Drivers licensed before 1 Oct 2021 who gave no evidence by 30 Sep 2021

Action: Must pass SERU and speaking/listening tests by 30 Sep 2023

Group 2

Drivers licensed before 1 Oct 2021 who gave unacceptable evidence by 30 Sep 2021

Action: Must pass SERU and speaking/listening tests by 30 Sep 2024

Group 3

Drivers licensed before 1 Oct 2021 who gave satisfactory evidence by 30 Sep 2021

Action: Must pass only SERU assessment by 31 March 2025

Group 4

Drivers who applied for a license between 1 Oct 2021 and 1 April 2023

Action: Must pass SERU and speaking/listening tests  by 30 Sept 2024

Note that even drivers who already have a PCO licence must pass the SERU exam – and they might need to take it again in the future if the regulations change. This feels unlikely but it is possible.

Did you know?

TfL has paused enforcement action against Group 1 drivers who are yet to pass either of the ELR tests while it trials a new ‘open-book’ format of the SERU exam. This would allow you to bring a copy of the PHV Drivers Handbook into the testing room.

What Augustin likes about being a PCO driver is its flexibility

What does the SERU assessment mean?

The SERU exam is based on the PHV Driver Handbook and covers four main subjects:

  • Passenger and driver safety – how to protect children or adults at risk from harm
  • Road and vehicle safety – regulations on licence tests and public safety
  • Equality – the needs of passengers with protected status (e.g. race or disability)
  • TfL policy for PHV drivers – rules about private hire driver’s behaviour at work

The SERU assessment is taken entirely on a computer. Drivers will use a mouse and not a keyboard to input all of the answers and must score at least 60% to pass.

Did you know?

There is a 5-min ‘presentation’ before the SERU test where you can try two practice questions. These do not count towards the final score and nor does the time. The test only begins when you press start.

How does the SERU exam work?

This short TfL video explainer video explains the structure of the SERU test. It says there are two types of questions in the exam but we think it’s easier to think of them as three types.

  • Standard multiple choice

These are fairly simple questions where you must choose one correct option from a list.

Tip: Be careful to note important words such as ‘only’ or ‘new’ that might subtly affect the answer.

  • Short-passage multiple choice

This type of multiple-choice question involves reading a short passage of information text before you select the correct option. There are usually only two questions like this in the whole SERU test.

Tip: Slowly read the whole passage of text more than once before you choose. Remember that the test is checking your understanding of English as much as specific PCO knowledge.

  • Sentence-completion questions

Here you must drag-and-drop the correct words from a short list into the right position within an incomplete sentence to form the correct answers. The idea is simpler than it sounds.

Tip: Remember to drag any unused words into the pink box provided for incorrect words before you finish. Otherwise, you will not get full marks, even if you select the right answers.

How to pass the SERU assessment test?

The SERU assessment is tricky, even for native English speakers. However, as with any test, you can easily improve with practice. This is partly about learning knowledge of the PHV Driver Handbook but it’s also about building your confidence. Remember that the SERU test checks your comprehension skills as much as the actual topics.

These learning resources will help every Uber driver to prepare for the SERU assessment.

Did you know?

The TfL online assessment guide mentioned above contains 36 knowledge-check questions for you to practice. It also shows you exactly what to expect during the SERU exam.

Where is good training for the SERU assessment?

Uber provides regular training sessions at its Greenlight Hubs as well as online webinars. You should check if these discount codes are still active here before you book as we found it difficult to use the one for Russbridge Academy.

Russbridge Academy

  • Full day of in-person training on SERU and the speaking/listening test
  • Runs from 10am to 5pm every day of the week
  • Includes online access to practice resources until the ELR tests
  • Fees: £150


  • Online course (Choose from 2-week, 4-week or 8-week access)
  • Includes training materials and SERU mock test resources
  • Fees: 2 weeks = £45 | 4 weeks = £60 | 8 weeks = £80
  • 40% discount off prices shown above with code UBER2023
Samuel has had his licence for nearly twelve years but he never used it until three years ago

What happens if you fail the SERU exam?

If you are nervous about the SERU assessment, this is understandable. If you don’t pass the first time, you will not lose your licence, as you can retake the test. However, a second failure means you must reapply for your PCO licence, so ensure that you prepare well.

Remember that the goal of the SERU exam is about safeguarding children, plus other vulnerable passengers – and to create a safer driving experience for everyone. It is well worth the effort.

Otto Car believes that safety is everything. It brings our loved ones home to us every day and we are proud to play a part of your personal journey. You’ve got the power to make this happen.

To help, the Otto Car PCO Blog is filled with excellent guides for new PCO drivers:

  • How to pass the TfL English test for PCO drivers in 2024 here
  • How to get a PCO licence in 2024 here
  • How to pass the TfL Topographical Skills Test in 2024 here

Once you are ready to work, we can put you on the road to success with a car that is 100% safe. Pop into any of our five London hubs and we’ll help you make the right choices for your driving career.

Did you know?

Otto Car’s PCO Car Hire is an all-inclusive rental plan. Every PCO car is Uber-approved and ready to roll. Pop into one of our hubs to get free help uploading Uber documents.

Want to learn more?

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