Autovyshka: Is It Worth It?

An interview with one of the HSE students about the Autovyshka.

Autovyshka: Is It Worth It?

Autovyshka is one of the things outside the actual studying that seem most beneficial to those who choose what university to go to. Many of the HSE students and alumni learn how to drive there and apparently get a huge discount. However, according to one of the top-scoring students on the Philology faculty Anastasia Zhbanova, it’s not all roses.

According to the Autovyshka’s website, they are not in fact a driving school but rather an organ-ization that connects a client and an actual driving school. This is why it’s apparently much cheaper. How did that happen for you?

It is true: Autovyshka has «driven» me to the driving school ‘Main Road’ where the actual training was. Firstly I had to come to a meeting which required a prior registration. There, some important organizational questions were discussed - such as payment, the metro station choosing, the advantages of a manual and an automatic transmissions. We also filled out the documents needed. This was held by two Autovyshka’s representatives, whom we could contact in the future, if having some difficulties. In fact, I was sent to a different organization straight away, where I had to speak to other people. 

What about the lessons themselves, are the lectures online or in person?

You can choose any. For me, it was the online one because I don’t live in Moscow. I don’t think I missed anything: the teacher was amazing. Having said that, we did have to attend a lecture which was about medical aid. I don’t regret it, though, because it was really informative and funny. I haven’t laughed like I did on that lecture for a long time! 

Interesting. Was it convenient for you to combine studying at the HSE and the ‘Main Road’?

To be quite honest, it wasn’t. I was expecting that because I started the driving school in summer so that they wouldn’t overlap my HSE lessons or, at least, minimize that. But in reality the studying was far longer. In the beginning of autumn it wasn’t so bad, the Uni gives you a headstart. Although, I definitely do not recommend starting it in the midst of the study year.

Good to know! Have you already taken the exams? Were they difficult? Did you feel 100% ready?

No, the wall of the exams still separates me from my driver’s license. For those who are unfamiliar with the grading system: first, you have to complete the lecture course and have an exam on theory (40 questions, you can get 2 wrong without losing points). In this battle, I became victorious on the first try (I didn’t doubt myself, though, because I prepared). Second, you compete the practice part, actually driving around. Then another theory test - computer based this time, Traffic Police format (20 questions, another 5 for each wrong answer, 2 mistakes possible). I did that on the first try as well. Perhaps I am now some kind of a theory guru! Next, a «fun» game. An internal exam on a special site and in the city, then external exams… I don’t know why there is so much. There are organizations where some steps of that are omitted. 

To this day, I have tried the site practice exam only once and it didn’t pan out. I didn’t feel ready, I had a month break from driving at all (exam week, bad sickness that lasted for weeks and other hardships weren’t helping). Now it’s most important not to give up!

How long did the course take? Were there any disadvantages of the organization?

The studying took about half a year. Month and a half of theory, the rest is practice. As for the disadvantages… honestly, there were many. I’ll name a few main ones.

The worst part was interacting with the administration of the driving school. The people there are unfriendly and can hardly explain anything. There are many confusing things at the beginning: how does the online course work, when to pay, how to begin the practice lessons with an instructor… There is one thing in the contract and completely opposite in real life. And that doesn’t really bother anyone. I think that may be caused by a large amount of students there. In any case, there was a lot to be nervous about. 

Another problem is the practice organization. It is the administration fault, partially, as well. You can be promised lessons on the most convenient location but that doesn’t mean anything. Personally, I had a problem which was that the instructors on the most convenient location for me were overloaded. I was offered to wait two months or to call anyone else (by the way, originally it was supposed to be the administrators that find you the instructor and not you to call everyone). In the end, I found the best option possible in this situation (didn’t regret it - the instructor was awesome) but there is another problem. The instructor’s timetable is still very much filled, the lessons can be twice a week maximum, usually only once. So if you think you can finish your studying in three months (as it is said in many places advertising the Autovyshka), I am sorry to disappoint. I just don’t think it’s possible.

Interview by 
Zhanna Dyakonova