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France launches new-style driving theory test losing ‘trick’ questions

Driving laws stay the same but the test has a new approach aimed also at making it more accessible to non-native French speakers

New questions also emphasises the safety of non-drivers Pic: ALPA PROD/Shutterstock

France’s driving theory test changes from today with questions which aim to be clearer - and fairer - to applicants.

From today, September 12, the Code de la Route test new questions use better phrasing, better pictures, and better design to make the test.

It has been designed with the help of an expert in language simplification, said Ministry delegate to road security Florence Guillaume in a press conference.

“The difficulty should not be in the question, but in the answer,” she said.

The new set of 1,037 questions should therefore also be more accessible to non-native speakers.

No more trick questions

These questions used to deceive applicants by hiding an important clue in the picture or with a subtle choice in phrasing such as using ‘must’ instead of ‘should’.

Previously a question may have been phrased “Should I slow down immediately?” in a situation where the driver should slow down progressively instead, which could result in a counter-intuitive negative answer. 

Such ambiguous questions have now been removed.

There is also a new visual aid indicating when multiple answers are expected, and what part of the Code the question is testing.

More of the test’s illustrations are also real pictures now, which helps applicants in facing real-life situations. 

Aerial pictures taken by drones have replaced 2D models for top-down scenarios, and the vehicles mentioned in questions are highlighted.

In the example above, new graphics show that multiple answers are expected, which vehicle each question is referring to, while using a drone-picture for increased clarity.

Conditions for passing the test remain the same – 35 correct answers out of 40 – and driving laws remain unchanged.

More consideration for non-car users

This new test also draws more attention to road users who are not in cars.

“More than half of all people killed on the road are either pedestrians or 2-wheel users,” said Ms Guillaume.

For instance, one of the new questions is: “an electric scooter user is more vulnerable because: their balance is less reliable (yes or no), their small size makes them harder to see (yes or no).

In the exemple above, the sign on the top-right shows that the question is being asked from the point of view of a pedestrian, while the sign on the bottom-right shows that only one answer is expected.

Read more:

Private radar cars on rise in France, see where plus current locations

French MP wants debate on ‘fit-to-drive’ medicals for over 75s

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