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Taking the Indiana written driving test? Good luck

Updated on August 24, 2012
I couldn't find this in the Indiana "official" BMV manual
I couldn't find this in the Indiana "official" BMV manual

Fun at the Indiana BMV

Need to take a written test to renew your Indiana driver's license? Expect to fail at least once. I consider myself very good at reading comprehension, scoring well about average in this area on tests for the military and post office. My skill was tested though at the Indiana BMV.

I had to renew my license and had to take a test at a computer terminal. When I got to question 46 the computer screen blinked and said I failed (there are 50 questions, need to get 42 right).

I was given a chance to review the questions I missed. After a couple of “wrong” answers I pushed the Help button. The computer winked at me and paused and told me to get an agent.

"Most of the questions on the test are worded so badly and misleading that you have to look through the Indiana BMV manual to find what answer they want, not the common sense answer," I explained. She just showed me a blank face. I trotted her out to my computer terminal but there was a blank screen. “oh, she exclaimed, looks like your test results were interrupted”. “Interrupted I replied? “Yes” she answered, “when that happens everything is erased.”

I wanted to see all the answers I missed and told her so. She sighed and took me to her computer and printed out my results and high lighted my wrong answers. I skimmed them over and said, “Alright, look at this question”

It read, "What is the most likely cause of carbon monoxide poisoning? Answers were “heater turned on”, “stopping in traffic on a hot day” and a malfunctioning exhaust system. " Has to be a malfunctioning exhaust system, sounds pretty dangerous to me", I told her. "That would be the most likely cause".

She answered “yes, that does seem the most likely” She got out her official BMV driver's manual and found this question. With a triumph in her voice she said, “but that is not what my manual says! “Says here, they are all the most likely.”

I tried to appeal to a her and asked “how could the heater being turned on compare with a malfunctioning exhaust system”? She answered “that's just the way it is.”

OK , how about this question, “What is the speed on a rural highway?” “By the way” I asked, "how do you define a rural highway"? She went back to her manual and found the answer. “Says here, in a town that has a population of 50,000.”

“How I'm I supposed to know the population of an unfamiliar town I'm passing though?”, I replied.

Again I got a blank stare.

There were a few other questions I quibbled about but by this time she was sitting there sort of slack jawed not responding. I wasn't able to find out the other questions I missed because by this time she had put them in a shredder or threw them away in a basket under her desk.

If there was an answer box called common sense on most of these questions that would have been the right answer. The Indiana BMV though would rather you choose the answer in their “official" manual not the common sense answer.

I can go back the next day and pass the test with the answers they want, not the common sense answers. This isn't really to test your knowledge of how safe you drive but more of a form of rote type of learning. You just need to supply the answers in the book and not think.

Don't even try to read the Indiana BMV manual, just take the test, fail, and see what answers they want and take it the next day.

Just a little bureaucratic fun at your friendly Indiana BMV.


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    • profile image

      anthony 20 months ago

      wow just got out of the test and had the same issues with those questions. ive never used the term rural interstate highway in nearly 30 years of having a drivers license. the questions and answers are actually very poorly written and you really have to think through what is being asked and why to find the anwer. one was so absurd i skipped it(you are allowed 1 skip).

    • redwhiskeypete profile image

      redwhiskeypete 4 years ago from Indiana

      I gave up many years ago in trying to fight petty red tape that has no real life purposes. Somewhere you have a person sitting in a cubicle writing this type of nonsense and it gets rubber stamped. Does drive me crazy also but they only see us as peons.

    • byshea profile image

      Shea 4 years ago

      OMG, that is crazy and would drive me nuts. Reminds me a little of all the written tests I've had to take as a pilot. The FAA says you need to choose the answer that is 'most correct', which means that some of the questions have answers that are not 100% correct.