This is contrary to my experience and that of everyone that has every taken it.
That's because the new test forces you to know the rules of the road rather than simply relying on questions that can be memorised. I took the old test, passed first time with perfect marks - but it didn't require knowledge, only memorisation.
The new test isn't more difficult (I've tried several practice ones) - but you can't memorise the scenarios because they simply aren't available. But they are still mostly based on common sense and understanding of the road - anyone who does the 30 hours of theory will have a solid understanding of what to expect in the test.
As for the failure rates - most people are simply unprepared. How many people bother to go out in a car with someone who has a licence and analyse scenarios, or how many people walk the streets analysing potential scenarios before the theory test? Hardly any. Yet it is by far the best preparation - you need to be aware of the rules and how they apply in real life, and that's exactly what they are testing.
If you're having problems with the test, then you probably didn't get taught properly during the theoretical stage.