Trial sessions of the computerised theory test underway at a driving school. PICTURE: Joey Aguilar
By Joey Aguilar/Staff Reporter
Leading driving schools in Qatar are now providing trial sessions of the computerised theory test which is expected to be implemented this month as a mandatory requirement for obtaining a licence.
Sources said the test was part of making the procedures of securing a Qatar driver’s licence standard and fair. At least 10 languages will be used soon by one school, making it easier for candidates who do not understand English or Arabic.
After a three-hour theory class, lecturers allow students to take the trial test in a separate computer room. Of the 16 questions, students must be able to answer 13 to pass the test. Otherwise, they will not be allowed to take the actual road and parking test.
“It is important that students review the driver’s manual and pay attention during the theory class. Of course, the questions here will be different from the ones which will be given by the police for the actual test,” said one of the lecturers.
However, this theory test poses a problem to many computer illiterate students who are trying to qualify to drive buses, trailers and trucks. Failure to get a driver’s licence in Qatar may send some of them back home even if they have the experience and skills.
Citing the driving school’s concern for its clients, an instructor said they were ready to assist these student-drivers even before taking the test.
“We can do a refresher and teach them the basics since the test is simple, based on selecting the answer from multiple choices. It is more of clicking the mouse,” he added.
But this may seem easier said than done. Even some professionals and those who have got licences in their respective countries failed during a trial test, scoring less than the expected correct answers. “I really have to memorise the traffic signs,” said one student.
The driving instructor disclosed that the same process is also being implemented in other GCC countries like Dubai, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
He said the theory test will replace the old and “manual” process where the policeman (while on the road) asks students to identify what a particular traffic sign means.
“Using this standard procedure, the tests would be more objective and fair compared to the manual one,” he added.
Meanwhile, a female student taking a full driving course told Gulf Times that she learned a lot from the theory class especially about the Qatar traffic rules.
“It is helpful. It gave me a better understanding of the sequence when negotiating a roundabout. The instructor teaches us to be defensive drivers so we could avoid accidents,” she stressed.
However, it is learnt that more than 500 students in one driving school who finished their course are still on the waiting list to take the actual test. They will be part of the first group of examinees who will sit the theory test.