November 19, 2009 By Angela Boothroyd
Everyone who applies to become a British citizen, or who applies for indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom, must demonstrate their knowledge of English language and of life in the UK, in one of two ways:
- they can take a special English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) course which includes learning about citizenship;
- or they can take the Life in the UK test.
The test is written at ESOL Entry Level 3, and proves your understanding of English at Entry Level 3, as well as your knowledge of life in the UK. If you pass the citizenship test there is no need to take a separate test to prove your understanding of English.
The Life in the UK test is normally taken in English but if you take your test in Wales or Scotland it’s also possible to take it in Welsh or Scottish Gaelic. The test covers topics such as:
- migration to Britain
- the changing role of women
- customs and traditions
- British constitution
- The UK in Europe and the World
- and employment.
There are 24 randomly selected questions. You have 45 minutes to take the test, and the pass mark is 75%. Example questions / things you need to show knowledge of:
- What are the differences between the Council of Europe, the European Union, the European Commission and the European Parliament?
- In the European Parliament, how many seats are available for representatives from the UK?
- How many people in the UK belong to an ethnic minority and which are the largest minority groups?
- How many people say they have a religion and how many attend religious services? What are the largest religious groups?
- What and when are the Patron Saints’ Days of the four countries of the UK?
- What are the ages of compulsory education? How does this differ in Northern Ireland?
- At what age do children go to secondary school? How does this differ in Scotland?
- How long can overseas driving licences be used for in the UK?
- What types of jobs can children NOT do? What are the limits on working hours and times for children?
How many could you answer correctly? The free official practice citizenship test closely resembles the sort of questions you could expect in the actual test, and at the end of the practice test you’re awarded a Pass or Fail grade.
The official test handbook from the Home Office, Life in the United Kingdom: A Journey to Citizenship, contains all the information you need to know for the test and also has a useful glossary of keywords and phrases. There’s also an accompanying study guide, and question and answer book.
For more information on how to apply for naturalisation, or on how to apply for indefinite leave to remain, visit the Home Office UK Border Agency web site.
Image by **Maurice**