What are new citizens expected to know?


I took the UK Citizenship Test at http://www.ukcitizenshiptest.co.uk/ to see what questions they ask. I got 14 of 24 questions right. I wonder if that means my passport will be revoked. 45 minutes are allowed for a test that takes 3 minutes.

Q1 – I failed this. Is the statement below TRUE or FALSE? In the 1980s, the largest immigrant groups were from the West Indies, Ireland, India and Pakistan. The correct answer was the largest groups were from the US, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. I suppose this presumes that government figures are accurate–there are many illegals–but clearly knowing the answer to this question does not constitute “integration into Britain”, which is what the test is supposed to test for.

Q2 – Which TWO of these are names for the Church of England? I correctly chose Anglican and Episcopal. However, this is incorrect –  Episcopal refers specifically to the church in the Anglican Communion that operates in Scotland. And in general, episcopal refers to any church with bishops in – and so the Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox are episcopal too. It seems odd the test is drawn up by people who don’t know the answers to their own questions.

Q3 – How many parliamentary constituencies are there? I correctly chose 646, but wondered why people who thought it was 664 (one of the other choices) are officially deemed not to have integrated into the UK. These questions are frankly a nonsense.

Q4. I correctly chose the option, “education at state schools in the UK is free but parents have to pay for school uniform and sports wear”. I suppose it helps if immigrants aren’t demanding rugby boots from the local school…

Q5. I correctly indicated that “many jobs applications will require a covering letter and a curriculum vitae”.

Q6. I correctly indicated that it was true that “Ulster Scots is a dialect which is spoken in Northern Ireland”. [Correct English would have "that" and not "which" in this sentence.] But the clue is in the term Ulster Scots.

Q7. In which year did married women get the right to divorce their husband? I chose 1882, but the correct answer was 1857. How does identifying the year render someone suitable for UK citizenship?

Q8. In which TWO of the following places does the European Parliament meet? I correctly chose Brussels and Strasbourg. It seems brainwashing on the EU is part of the UK citizenship test.

Q9. Which of the following TWO types of people get their prescriptions free of charge? Always good for people to know what they can get for free. I chose people over 60 and under 18, but it seems under 18 is not a valid choice (must be under 16), and I should have chosen pregnant women.

Q10. ‘Adults who have been unemployed for six months are usually required to join New Deal if they wish to continue receiving benefit.’ I thought it was true, but it is false. The correct period is 18 months. Always good to teach immigrants how to work the benefits system.

Q11. The number of children and young people up to the age of 19 in the UK is… Unfortunately, I chose 13m, when the correct answer is 15m. Will my passport be revoked? How does knowing this equip someone for UK citizenship?

Q12. The percentage of people in the UK in 2001 who said they were Muslims was… Unfortunately, I chose 3.4%, when the correct answer was 2.7%. It is highly likely that the real figure is above the government figure anyway. None of these questions, even if answered correctly, will make someone British.

Q13. A quango is… I correctly chose “a non-departmental public body”. Always good to know where your taxes are going.

Q14. ‘You can attend a hospital without a GP’s letter only in the case of an emergency.’ I chose false, when it is true. I suppose it depends what you define as an emergency: there are plenty of non-emergency attendances at A&E departments.

Q15. Information about training opportunities can be found from which TWO of the following? I correctly chose the local library and Learndirect. Always good to know how you access public resources. Why can’t training be provided by private colleges who conduct their own propaganda?

Q16. I correctly indicated that “information in the census is kept secret for 100 years”. I suppose we wouldn’t want immigrants trying to opt out of the census and thereby skewing our ethnic figures, would we?

Q17. Which TWO of the following can vote in all UK public elections? I correctly chose Irish and Commonwealth citizens in the UK. Good to know Nigerians can vote in our elections without the inconvenience of gaining British citizenship.

Q18. Schools must be open… I incorrectly chose 200 days a year. The correct answer is 190. How does this answer make someone fit into the UK?

Q19. From which TWO places can you obtain advice if you have a problem at work and need to take further action? I correctly chose the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and ACAS. Getting the immigrants launched on the compensation culture, it seems.

Q20. The official report of the proceedings of Parliament is called Hansard. I correctly answered this, but I don’t think all British people will have heard of Hansard. None of this information actually makes someone British.

Q21. I incorrectly stated that the speed limit for cars and motorcycles on single carriageways was 70 mph, when it is 60 mph. I read it quickly and thought motorways were intended. This is probably the only genuinely useful information in the test.

Q22. A by-election is held.. when an MP dies or resigns. I got this right, but so what?

Q23. I incorrectly said that children 13-16 could not work more than 10 hours in a school week; the correct answer is 12 hours. Marginally useful to know.

Q24. I correctly identified the governing body of the EU as the Council of the European Union. Good to know where the real government is, which kinds of makes the by-election question redundant.

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18 responses to “What are new citizens expected to know?

  1. Also, 14 out of 24, but slightly different ones wrong. I don’t know whether this indicates I’m unfit to be a citizen. I can’t for the life of me figure out what they’re trying to test for suitability. I doubt many people know the number of parliamentary constituencies, or the right names for the Church of England (and I agree, though I answered correctly, “episcopal”? Eh?)

  2. It is simply based on whether you’ve read their book – which costs a tenner and is not available as a PDF. If you can memorise the book you’ve passed.

  3. C H Ingoldby

    Weird questions. Why anyone would know, or want to know such facts as the exact number of under 19 year olds in the UK I have no idea.

    Is this test really just an excuse to squeeze a tenner out of peole for the guide book or are the test makers just really that crappy and incompetent?

  4. WEll in addition to £10 for the book, the test costs £50. So I think it is like the meaningless driving theory test – just a sinecure in the economy to extract cash.

  5. The citizenship courses have been contracted out. I imagine the answers are given out in advance to those who pay the appropriate fee, or have the relevant ethno/family connections.

  6. I agree, it’s all nonsense. A good requirement would be a decent level of English and maths, g.c.s.e. perhaps, and must be attained before citizenship is given, and within a set time. Other useful information could be along the lines of; polygamy is unlawful,deciding who other people should vote for i.e. postal ballot is unlawful. There are no such things as witches-true or false ?

  7. I failed it a little while ago when I tried. It did seem to be about fine detail buried in the public sector somewhere.

    Perhaps it’s designed to exclude certain sorts of person, and not the other way about…..

  8. I’ve just accessed the website – what weird questions indeed – how do they show someone is fit to be a British Citizen? I failed. Oh my. Better go back to my own country. Wait, I am in my own country.

    Just out of interest, what sort of questions would you ask?

  9. The best person to ask is Robert Henderson. But I would set questions about the Battle of Hastings, and the effects of the Norman Conquest, and the legend of Robin Hood, and the Magna Carta. I think I’d go back to King Arthur. I’d skip over the Hundred Years War, but I’d ask about the Black Death and the following golden age of Merrie England. I’d have Henry VIII and the Reformation, and Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scots. I’d have a bit about the Civil War and the Glorious Revolution, and the classical age of our constitution, and the economic transformation of England, and the glorious and beneficial acquisition of our Empire. I’d not bother with the 20th century – too depressing. I’d throw in a comprehension question on passages from the KJV, and perhaps a general question about the emergence of parliamentary government as a logical effect of the political and legal and intellectual changes of the 17th century, or the reasons for the re-emergence of Epicurean physics in England after 1660, and their ordering effect on all English thought and achievement.

    Anyone able to answer all that would deserve a British Passport! Even RH and DJW might welcome the successful candidates.

    Seriously, though, you can’t know a nation except through its history. Even those natives ignorant of actual facts have had their habits of thought and their modes of expression determined by the past experience of their people. To history, of course, I’d add literature. Know English history and English literature, and the matter of when women got the right to divorce their husbands is revealed as the unimportant detail that it is.

  10. I’m about to start reading “Our Island Story” to my Baby Bear. It’s about time she learnt what a profoundly wonderful nation into which she’s had the good fortune to be born.

  11. Maybe you can play Henry V to your Baby Bear – eg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9fa3HFR02E

  12. Here’s one; You can get sent to prison if you make remarks the ruling class find offensive? Ans.True-.Student Liam Stacey just got 56 days for remarks made on twitter

    • Excellent – so all we need to do to be a British Citizen is to not offend the elite, the rich, the ruling class, the religious elite and minorities, the…
      My poor father will be turning in his grave.

  13. Good one, Patricia!

  14. Aye. I’m wondering if it would be legal or not to tell somebody to go and suck a dick of indeterminate racial origin. I remain entirely unclear which part of what he Tweeted was “inciting racial hatred”.

    I was going to say that we’re living in dark times, but more than likely that’s illegal too.

  15. The test was merely constructed to give false hopes to us people that ‘something was being done’ to integrate the newcomers…

  16. Patricia, I saw your website and your Donaghy connections – Donaghy in Workington early 1800s? That was early for Irish immigration – but as I expect you know Donaghy is from Northern Ireland, specifically Counties Tyrone or Londonderry. Irish surnames are much more strongly linked to certain counties than would be the case in England.

  17. Thanks for that djw. I think there were many marriages between people of the Cumberland coastal area and N Ireland, given the amount of trading and visiting which passed between the two over the centuries.They probably didn’t even see it as emigrating, especially if as seems to be the case that,people like the Donaghy’s had settled in Ulster from Scotland. Almost impossible to verify any of this though, records from Ireland are few and far between especially late 18th cent. The narrowing down to Tyrone and Londonderry is a great help