French Fluency Test

I will take the same self-designed and self-administered proficiency test at least once a year to measure progress in my French fluency recovery project.

Although I expect most study time will probably consist of listening, my test only assesses speaking and writing directly (reading is an indirect factor). The reason is simply that it is easier to assess output. However, my expectation is that improved listening will contribute heavily to improve speaking skills, and likewise reading to writing.

I designed the test design to be very quick and easy to take and to provide results that will be easy for me or anyone with a higher level of French to evaluate. I have not yet corrected my answers and for now have not decided whether I will somehow grade the test. Grading is not really necessary, since comparing answers on different test dates will suffice to reveal progress.

I took this test for the first time today, December 20, 2014. My oral and written answers are posted after the instructions, which are in italics below. I plan to follow these same instructions to assess myself again in the future, perhaps about once a year.

Two comments about these instructions are warranted. I chose to read texts from the Culture section of Le Monde because I am least likely to read this type of article during my project (indeed, I’m an uncultured brute—I like politics, economics, science, technology, etc.). Unlike topics such as international relations or domestic French politics, I do not expect to experience significant gains in familiarity with the content in this section. Thus, improved results in future tests will be a measure of progress in my fluency and not of increasing familiarity with the subject matter.

The second comment is that I prepared these instructions before taking the test for the first time today, with one exception: the approximate length of the texts to be read and of the essay to be written. In included these afterwards, based exactly on the amount that I read and that I wrote during the first test. The reason to include them is to increase comparability of the results among this and future tests.


Open Le Monde, go to Culture section and read articles in exact order they appear for 10 minutes without taking any notes or looking anything up. You should read approximately 900 words of texts, regardless of the number of articles.

Close the articles, immediately begin speaking without any type of aid for 5 minutes. You must try to summarize what you read and give your opinion about the topics, without getting off topic at all.

Open plain text document and write for 15 minutes, without spell or grammar check, Internet use, or any other type of support. You must try to summarize what you read and give your opinion about the texts, without straying off topic. You should write approximately 250 words of text.


Text #1 (read all of free part)

Text #2 (read all)

Text #3 (read through sentence ending “le cinéaste espagnol, Pedro Almodovar.


Speaking answer


Writing answer

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