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Tobotron's avatar

Why is the Brititish Citizenship test so hard not even a national could pass it!

Asked by Tobotron (1313points) May 19th, 2009

If you are interested in obtaining British citizenship, you’ll have to pass a test of 24 questions.. If you want the passport, then you’ll have to read Life in the UK, a special book, and sit the 45-minute test on society, history and culture. But do you know what it is to be British? The following test are sample questions for you to test your knowledge of UK life and have been chosen to cover all the subject areas. The test will consist of 1 round of 24 questions. The pass rate is 75%. (18 OUT OF 24)
let’s see how well you do…
1. Why were recruitment centres set up in the West Indies in the 1950s?
To recruit workers for textile factories.
To recruit workers to build canals.
To recruit workers to build railways.
To recruit workers to drive buses.

2. When will the British government adopt the euro as the UK’s currency?
When the British people vote for it in a referendum.

3. When is Mothers Day?
The Saturday four weeks before Easter.
The Sunday four weeks before Easter.
The Sunday one week before Easter.
The Sunday three weeks before Easter.

4. How often does the cabinet normally meet?

5. What percentage of Christians in the UK are Roman Catholic?

6. What proportion of the people in the UK own their own home?
One quarter.
One third.
Two thirds.

7. What three sports have the largest following in Britain?
Volleyball, cricket and squash.
Swimming, horse back riding and tennis.
Football, rugby and cricket.
Golf, cricket and football.

8. What type of constitution does the UK have?
A legal constitution.
A written constitution.
An amended constitution.
An unwritten constitution.

9. When was the first census carried out in the United Kingdom?

10. During the 1980s, the largest immigrant groups to the UK came from which countries?
China, Japan and South Korea
India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Russia, Poland, Belarus and Ukraine.
United States, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.

11. What proportion of young people who became first-time voters in the 2001 general election actually used their vote?
One in two.
One in three.
One in five.
One in six.

12. What is the difference in the average hourly pay rate for men and women?
The average hourly pay rate is 5% lower for women.
The average hourly pay rate is 10% lower for women.
The average hourly pay rate is 20% lower for women.
No difference – the average hourly pay rate for women is the same as men.

13. How might you stop young people playing tricks on you at Halloween?
Call the police.
Give them some money.
Give them sweets or chocolate.
Hide from them.

14. How many members are there in the Northern Ireland Assembly?
108 members.
125 members.
64 members.
82 members.

15. What proportion of the UK population have used illegal drugs at one time or another?
One quarter.
One third.
One half.
Two thirds.

16. Who is the monarch not allowed to marry?
Anyone who is not of royal blood.
Anyone who is not a Protestant.
Anyone who is under the age of 25.
Anyone who was born outside the UK.

17. How many young people (up to the age of 19) are there in the UK?
10 million
15 million
20 million
5 million

18. What is the purpose of the Council of Europe?
To create a single market for members of the council.
To create new European regulations and directives.
To debate proposals, decisions and expenditure of the European Commission.
To develop conventions which focus on human rights, democracy, education, the environment, health and culture.

19. How many independent schools are there in the UK?

20. What year did women in the UK gain the right to divorce their husband?

21. In Britain, there is a well-established link between abuse of what substance and crime?
Hard drugs,

22. What is the population of Wales?
1.2 million
2.9 million
3.4 million
5.3 million

23. Why was there a fall in the number of people migrating to the UK from the West Indies, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh in the late 1960s?
A weak British currency made immigration less appealing.
It was becoming more difficult for immigrants to find employment in the UK.
New laws were introduced restricting immigration to Britain.
These countries were experiencing labour shortages

24. All dogs in public places must wear a collar showing the name and address of the owner. Is this statement true or false?

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17 Answers

MrGV's avatar

Cause they don’t want immigrants to be citizens.

robmandu's avatar

Actually, I believe the same kind of thing could be said for US Immigration tests, too.

Most of the material is covered in 5th – 10th grade social studies/history courses… but it’s not the kind of thing your average person on the street is going to remember.

Big deal… so they take a test. It’s a rite of passage. It’s confirmation that they actually want to work for citizenship. Because citizenship is worth something. A lot, actually.

DarkScribe's avatar

It seems a little weird, even frivolous, but what exactly is hard about it?

Tobotron's avatar

@DarkScribe well could you answer these questions correctly and pass given the pass criteria? I mean many of my friends all UK nationals have tried it and failed miserably and were wholly British to the end…some of the questions are seemingly pointless…I just think its a ‘show test’ nothing more.

robmandu's avatar

@Tobotron, so… what would you recommend instead?

Likeradar's avatar

Is there any sort of study guide for the test? I assume there is, since you posted q’s. I think it’s ok… sure, I wouldn’t know the answers to most questions like that about the US, but I’m ok with people having to prove that they care enough about becoming a citizen to study and jump through some minor hoops.

Tobotron's avatar

An English test, proof of skills to offer the country, and a more realistic test that are relevant because this test doesn’t provide proof of day to day knowledge; for example knowing where London is on a map is probably more important than knowing how many members there are in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

robmandu's avatar

How would you test “proof of skills”? A set of university-level final exams? Or would a current/prospective employer need to vouch for the individual?

Shouldn’t everyone – and I mean everyone – have a better and very in-depth understanding of their government operations (especially representative governments)? Having to merely memorize a raw count seems trivial.

Tobotron's avatar

I don’t know how to implement a test of skills I’m not making policy merely suggesting the idea…you’ve made my point for me that this test is about memorizing answers from a book, not really caring about the country…its true though most teenagers know even less than I do about the UK, certainly there’s a diluted sense of patriotism because were not given a reason to be proud about our country…in fact in many ways your not allowed to be unless the football is on :S

TROLL's avatar

You don’t need Citizenship in the UK,you just come in on the back of an Articulated Lorry and Bingo lifes a ball!
You see this Government don’t give two flying fucks about Immigration!

robmandu's avatar


When I wrote, “Having to merely memorize a raw count seems trivial,” I was intending to convey that the level of effort to learn said information is “trivial”... especially when weighed against the reward of such effort: citizenship! I did not intend to imply that the info itself is trivial.

gailcalled's avatar

@Tobotron: Why not send us the link next time rather than the entire text, please?

Tobotron's avatar

@gailcalled because it was on Facebook and I don’t know who does and who doesn’t have accounts and I hadn’t seen the exam posted like this anywhere else, however I’m sure someone will now post a link to one, but I do see where your coming from non the less ;)

bezdomnaya's avatar

I think that some of the questions are a bit ridiculous. Why does one need to know when Mother’s Day in the UK is to become a citizen?

I recently took the US citizenship test. It was oriented toward knowledge of how the government works, with questions ranging from easy (e.g. Who is the current President?) to hard (here is a link to the test and the free study guides).

The pass rate is much lower for the US one: 60% correct out of a randomly generated 10 questions from the 100 options.

You didn’t mention anything about the English test administered, but from my experience with the US English competency test, it is a joke. I had to read out loud the question “In what month is Columbus Day?”, the interviewer then told me the answer, and I had to write it down on a piece of paper “Columbus Day is in October”. That’s it. No joke.

So, what I would want from a citizenship test (for any country) is a test of government related questions, a (more stringent) language exam, and, most essentially, free study materials provided.

Myndecho's avatar

I doubt the majority of the public knows the majority of the answers for this test. I want good people in the country I don’t really mind if you know a lot about the country.

bezdomnaya's avatar

Sorry, to clarify in my previous post (@bezdomnaya), it’s not the pass rate that is lower, it’s the percentage one needs to get correct to pass that’s lower. Just realized that was confusing.

ssteward's avatar

My wife’s just done this. I agree, not many UK citizens would pass if they were to sit the exam cold. However, there’s a large study book and once you’ve swotted then you should be able to pass it. Clearly it’s not trying to gauge whether you should be a citizen based on if you know when mothers day is, or whatever, it’s testing if you can read and learn in English. Btw, the test I saw had a lot of stuff on cultural history and the processes of government, and we both learned quite a bit from it. I’m sure there may be better ways to assess suitability for UK citizenship but it does seem a reasonable hurdle to have to get over.

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