Help Contents

Types of Test
Lesson Styles
How to Take a Lesson
Answering in English
Answering in French
Progress Counters
Test Tips
The Vocabulary

Types of Test

There are two types of test to choose from. You can ...

either, take a short test at a particular level

  • Select the course at the level you want to test yourself on -- from Beginners' (the easiest words) to Post A Level (the hardest words) and click OK.
  • You will be shown five words in French which you have to translate into English followed by five words in English which you must translate into French. The words are chosen at random so every test will be different.
  • At the end of the test you will be given a percentage score and an estimate of how many words you know in that particular course. If you did well, you should take another test at a higher level.

or, test yourself on the Whole Vocabulary

This test starts with easy words and moves to harder ones if you get them right -- so you can take this test whatever your current standard of French. 

  • Select the Whole Vocabulary option.
  • You will be tested on about thirty words -- starting with the Beginners'  course and moving on to the harder courses if you get these right. Within each course, you will be tested French to English first and then English to French.
  • If you fail to give any correct answers for eight consecutive words, the test ends straight away. This figure is shown in your Lives counter.
  • At the end of the test you will be given a percentage score and an estimate of how many words you know in the whole vocabulary. 

Note 1  Words you get right from the advanced courses count for a lot more than those from the easier courses so your final percentage score may be a lot lower than you expected -- unless you scored 100%!

Note 2  The number of words left in the test is shown in your words counter. You may notice this counter increase towards the end of the test. This is to make sure that there are enough words to assess you properly on your final course.

Lesson Styles

You can also improve your vocabulary by taking the online lessons. You'll probably need to see each word a few times to learn it properly and there are two different lesson styles to help you.

  • When you take a lesson for the first time, choose  New Words style. You will be taught five words which are displayed one at a time in French and English. After the fifth word, you will be retested --  either as French to English or English to French. Words you get wrong will be taught again later in the lesson.
  • Next time you visit the site, take the same lessons again but choose Revision style. The lesson will skip the teaching step and go straight into the retest so you can see which words you have learned. Words you get wrong will be tested again later in the lesson. 

How to Take a Lesson

Click  online lessons either here or on our home page.

  • Choose the lesson style -- New Words or Revision.
  • Choose how you want to study -- either French to English or English to French.
  • Choose a course to study and click OK or press Enter.
  • You will see a list of lessons for the course you selected. Choose the lesson you want to study and click OK or press Enter.
  • wordPROF® shows you five words in French and English, then switches into test mode to see if you can remember them. If you get the answer wrong, the word will reappear later in the lesson.
  • When you complete the lesson,  the lesson list is redisplayed.

Answering in English

Answering in English is easy. Just type the word in the box and press Enter or click OK. Some of the answer may be filled in for you -- for example "to ... " if it's a verb.

Most French nouns are shown with the definite article (lela, l' or les) but you don't need to type the when you answer in English.

Answering in French

This is more complicated than English because you may need to show that you know the word's gender.

When you are entering a French noun, click the checkbox to select the gender first. The article ("le" or "une" etc) will be filled in automatically. If you change your mind about the gender before clicking OK, don't edit the article itself -- just click the other checkbox and the change will be made for you.

A lot of words in French have masculine and feminine forms (like waiter and waitress in English). The tests always ask you for the masculine word -- even when this is the less common one -- for example "nurse [male]" (= "un infirmier"). When this happens, the masculine box is checked automatically and the article is inserted for you.

To insert a letter with an accent, click one of the buttons under the Answer box. The letter will appear at the end of your answer. (You may also need these buttons for a few English words.)


After clicking OK you will see:

 \ if you are right
 X  if you are wrong (The correct answer will also be displayed)

if your answer is recognisable but not exactly right (The correct answer will also be displayed and the mistakes in your own answer will be highlighted in red.)

Because this is a French test, you don't lose any marks for spelling mistakes in English! As long as the word is recognisable, you will get a full mark. But a misspelt word in French will only earn you 3/4 (0.75) of a mark.

Progress Counters

The counters at the bottom of the page tell you how much of the test or lesson is left to complete and show you how many marks you have earned so far.

Test Tips

  • Remember which language you are answering in! Some French words (particularly adjectives) look like English e.g. "large" = "wide". If in doubt, look at the sub-heading and at the counters near the bottom of the page.
  • The tests don't use any words which are very similar in both languages (e.g. "hospital" and "hôpital" so, if you want to make a guess don't copy the original word - because you will always be wrong.
  • All your answers should be between four and fifteen characters because the tests don't use  words which are too long or too short
  • Don't enter articles like 'a' and 'the' when answering in English. However, these are required in French to indicate the gender.

The Vocabulary

The vocabulary contains about 9,000 words and phrases organised into seven different courses which are built around the vocabulary for British school exams.

The Beginners' course covers essential words like numbers, family, days of the week etc. The next three courses contain words which are common in  GCSE exams and the three advanced ones cover the vocabulary for typical A Level topics.

Some of the vocabulary entries aren't used in the tests -- for example phrases like "il se rase" (= "he is shaving") or words which have two possible answers like "écran" (=   "screen" or "monitor"). For details of some other words which aren't tested, see Tips.

The first page of the test shows the total number of words and phrases in each course (not just the number featured in the test). This is the figure used to estimate your vocabulary at the end of the test.

Updated 25-Jul-2009   Copyright Brian Probert, 2000-2009  with scenes by Cleo Harrington