New driving theory test proves too tough for French learners

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


The introduction of a new driving theory test in France has seen the pass rate drop dramatically, as French authorities aim to reduce road casualties.


Only one in six candidates passed the new test on its first couple of days in operation, which is a huge change from the seven out of ten, on average, who passed the previous examination.


The new test examines candidate’s knowledge of the code de la route (or highway code) and it was revealed by Europe1 radio that in one département in France only one candidate out of 60 managed to pass.


The radio station also stated that the usual pass rate for the theory test has plunged from 70 percent to just 16.7.


The sudden strictness on the theory test comes after it was announced that road deaths are on the rise again after falling for 13 years in a row. The government devised a much tougher theory test with 1,000 possible questions.


The subjects covered in the new test were widened to include how to drive more economically as well as areas covering first aid and how to spot "vulnerable" road users.


When speaking to Europe1 radio, Emmanuel Barbe, France's road safety tsar, said: "Obviously, we will have to rethink the questions."


He continued to say that the results were not as bad as they seemed, with a great majority of candidates narrowly missing to reach the pass target of 35 out of 40 questions.


According to Barbe the problem was partly caused by the failure of the government to issue new software and guidance in time to driving schools, leaving many candidates poorly prepared.


Barbe advised driving schools to take more time to help candidates pass the test, however he also stated that they would review the questions that were leaving candidates confused.


The difficulty of the new theory test isn't the only aspect the government changed, as candidates now have to pay €30 to take their first theory test. Previously, they only paid for a resit.


Barbe believes that over the next few weeks the pass rate would start to creep up to around the usual rate. 

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