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I took the Life In The UK (citizenship) test

No, not the real test. That costs £50 and is pointless as I'm already British.

There's a preparation website with example tests at, so I took the first test there.

It doesn't work on NetSurf so... over to my phone...

There are 24 questions, and a pass is getting 18 right.

1. Who appoints "Life Peers"?

The Speaker, The Shadow Cabinet, The Prime Minister, or The Monarch.

I chose The PM due to the whole cash-for-peerage thing, but it's actually the Monarch on the advice of the PM.

2. When is Christmas Eve?

23, 24, 25, or 26th of December? I am guessing this one is aimed at the non-Christian contingent?

3. Who built the Tower of London?

Oliver Cromwell, Henry VII, Henry VIII, or William the Conqueror.

I'm going to go with Cromwell for this, as the rest are kings.
And, surprisingly (to me), it was William that built it. By himself? Yeah, right.

4. Who is Queen Elizabeth II married to?

Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Prince Harry, Prince William?

Well, technically she isn't married to Prince Philip any more on account of his severe inactive status.

5. Who was the first Briton to win the Olympic gold medal in the 10,000 metres?

David Weir, Sir Chris Hoy, Mo Farah, or Bradley Wiggins?

I know Farah runs, but I thought he was a sprinter. 10km is not a sprint, it's most of the way to work! Isn't Wiggins a cyclist? I'll just tap on Chris Hoy.
And, no, it is Mo Farah. Balls.

On the other hand, what the hell does knowing this have to do with living in Britain?

6. Which of these UK landmarks is in Wales?

Loch Lomond, The Lake District, Snowdonia, or The Giant's Causeway.

If I say Loch Lomond, Ewen will never speak to me again. The Lake District is Oop Norf somewhere. The Causeway is halfway to Ireland, isn't it? Which only leaves the mountain that sounds like a theme park in Finland.
And it's the correct answer. ☺

7. When is St. David's Day?

23rd April, 30th November, 17th March, or 1st March.

God, I dunno. I mean, who cares? I'm guessing this one is Welsh, given that Andrew is the bit with bagpipes, George is the bit with Johnson and Farage, and Patrick is the bit with leprechauns. So... random pick, 1st March.
Oh my god, it's right!
Actually, it's quite a tricky question as the dates are actually all correct for the four patron saints (David, 1st March; Patrick, 17th March; George, 23rd April; Andrew, 30th November).

8. What created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland?

The Great governments, The Act for the governments, The Act of Union, or The Great Union?

I picked the only one that sounds like an actual thing, The Act of Union, which is the right answer. I happened to know it was called that, too, but the others don't sound real.

9. Which Two British film actors have recently won Oscars?

Colin Firth, Tilda Swinton, Leonardo DoCaprio, or Jacky Stewart?

Tricky - it wants two responses this time. Well, it's obviously Colin Firth and Tilda Swinton, given that the other choices are between an American and a Brit famous for something entirely different.
Though, don't know what relevance this really has to living in the UK. Fair enough, Colin Firth is memetic (especially in a wet shirt) but...

10. What is the capital of England?

Edinburgh, Cardiff, London, or Belfast.

Note that it says "England", so... London as all the rest aren't.

11. What is not a fundamental principle of British life?

Driving a car, Looking after yourself and family, looking after the environment, or treating others with fairness?

Note the negative, it wants to know which one is not. You have no idea how much I want to prod "Treating others with fairness", and for any Brits reading this who disagree, I have two words for you: Priti Patel.

The correct answer is, of course, driving a car. Actually, while it is famously late, the country does (or did when I was last there in 2002) have a pretty decent public transport service. That's why I never bothered to learn to drive when in the UK.

12. Which of the following is part of the UK?

Channel Islands, Canada, St. Helena, or Wales?

Uh... is this a trick question or something? It's obviously Wales!

13. Which of these is a famous classical music event in the UK?

The Proms, T in the Park, Creamfields, or Glastonbury Festival?

Given that the '80s stuff I like to listen to is called "classic" these days (way to make me feel like a crusty old git!), arguably any of them.
But I think they mean "classical" as in stuff composed by dead guys. Or, rephrase that, stuff composed by people who are now dead.
Bugger, that's more than a few from the '80s too.
Okay, let's redefine Classical as "something Hayley Westenra would sing", which points at The Proms.
Which, as the very model of a modern music festival, is the correct answer.

14. Where was Robert Burns from?

Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, or England?

Given that Mom used to talk about him utterly hamming up his name as rrrrrrobert burrrrrrrruns, there's only one part of the UK where people talk like that. It's where I'm from. ☺

15. Which flower is associated with England?

Rose, Shamrock, Daffodil, or Thistle?

Tricky again, as they are all the national plants of the constituent parts of the UK. But the expression "English rose" describes an idealised version of a certain sort of woman... uh... just picture Rachel Weisz or Kate Winslet and you're there.

16. Which TWO are British Overseas territories?

The Falkland Islands, St. Helena, Ireland, or Hawaii?

Oooooh! Putting Ireland in there. Well, it's not that. Neither is it a volcano in the Pacific.
So this only leaves a volcano in the Atlantic and a place full of sheep.

17. Roast beef is a traditional food of which country?

England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland?

The correct answer is England. I'm not sure what would be counted as traditional in the other parts. I'm guessing something with leek and/or lamb for Wales and... I have no idea about Scotland. Fried Mars bar?

18. When did the first Christian communities appear in Britain?

1st and 2nd centuries, 4th and 6th centuries, 3rd and 4th centuries, or 2nd and 3rd centuries?

There's no "I don't effing care" option. But I don't. It's been a predominantly Christian country for ages, including coming up with it's own religion "The Church of England" due to a tortuous relationship between The Vatican and Henry VIII.
In which century they arrived? I don't care, but given that there were Romans around in the time of 0 year, I'm going to just guess the 2nd and 3rd...
...which is wrong, it was the 3rd and 4th.

19. Which flag has a white cross on a blue background?

English, Welsh, Scottish, or Irish?

I would be denied citizenship of an independent Scotland if I got this one wrong.

20. Where is the Cenotaph located?

Dorset, Wiltshire, Trafalgar Square, or Whitehall?

Interesting choices. I wonder how many foreigners would realise that it's two specific places versus two counties?
We can discount Dorset and Wiltshire for being inspecific.
We can discount Trafalgar as the big iconic thing there is Nelson.
Which leaves Whitehall. And it's the correct answer.

21. Which Palace was a cast iron and plate-glass building originally erected in Hyde Park, London, England, to house the Great Exhibition of 1851?

Crystal Palace, Dream Palace, Gold Palace, or The Great Palace?

I like how, after all of these questions, they throw in "London, England" just in case you mistakenly think Hyde Park is in "London, Ontario", perhaps?

Gold Palace doesn't sound like a name for an iron and glass building. The Great Palace is surely the residence of 'er Maj. And Dream Palace sounds like a place that sells crap matresses.
Crystal Palace, on the other hand. Yeah, I can see an iron structure covered in glass fitting that title.
And it's the correct answer.

22. Which charity works to preserve important buildings?

The National Trust, The Red Cross, Age UK, or NSPCC?

I went to school in a National Trust building surrounded by damn near an entire village of National Trust buildings, forests, and random stone walls. So this one was easy.

23. The UK government hasn't used the power to suspend the Northern Ireland Assembly.

False, or True.

Given that Stormont hasn't been home to a functioning government for about a third of its existence (because getting those two groups to agree on anything is harder than extracting blood from random rocks), the answer is False, as it has been suspended.
But note the use of negatives here. I wonder how many people would select the wrong answer because they knew the answer but missed the trick in the question?

24. What did the Chartists campaign for?

The right to vote for the 18 year olds, the right to vote for the 21 year olds, the right to vote for the working class, or the right to vote for women?

I think I remember mom telling me about this, as my history lessons didn't. Back in the 18-somethings (Queen Vic's time) the right to vote was offered to land owners and clergy. Or something like that. The average person (think Dickensian) didn't have any rights really. So the Chartists (so-named because they came up with a charter) demanded the right to vote for all men (woman's suffrage came along later).
So it'll be the right to vote for the working class. Which is the correct answer.


Whoo-hoo! 20 out of 24. A pass. Just.


I just whizzed through the second test, some of the highlights are:

  • What is the monarch's ceremonial role? (opening a parliamentary session)
  • What is the system that automatically deducts tax called? (PAYE)
  • What does the TV licence money pay for? (the BBC)
  • What did the "Bill of Rights" confirm? (Parliament's increased power)
  • Hadrian's Wall is a popular UNESCO World Heritage Site (True)
  • Where is Scotland is known as the home of golf? (St. Andrews)
  • Who invented the World Wide Web? (Sir Tim Berners-Lee; the other options are James Goodfellow, Alexander Fleming, and Florence Nightingale!)
  • Who became Prime Minister during WWII? (Winston Churchill)
  • What do you need to apply for UK citizenship? (Speak and read English)
  • When did people learn how to make bronze? (4000 years ago)
  • Where does the Prime Minister reside? (10 Downing Street)
  • Who was Henry Purcell? (A musician)
  • When do pubs usually open? (11am)
  • Who mapped the coast of Australia? (James Cook)
  • What is known as Lent? (40 days before Easter)
  • Where does the Fringe take place? (Edinburgh)
  • Where did the people of the Bronze Age bury their dead? (Round barrows)
  • What was the population of the UK in 1901? (40 million)
  • How long did the Romans stay in Britain? (too long 400 years)
  • Who won gold medals in rowing in five consecutive Olympic Games? (Sir Steve Redgrave)
  • What is the money limit for the small claims procedure in England and Wales? (£10,000)
  • What must the police officer tell you if you get arrested? (the reason for your arrest)
  • What is the Church of England known as in Scotland and the US? (The Episcopal Church, note not The Anglican Church)
  • How old is the Elizabeth Tower (sometimes called Big Ben) (Over 150)


The test

It seems, to me to have something of an obsession with sports people and the Bronze Age, coupled with the sort of random junk that would turn up in a pub quiz. Some of the questions are Trivial Pursuit hard, some are rather dumb.

It seems that the test itself comprises of 24 questions drawn from a selection of around three thousand factoids of Britain. I suppose if you're really unlucky, the random selection could ask you twenty four times about sporting celebrities you've never heard of.

And the real thing is, knowing or not knowing obscure dates or the height of Nelson's Column, or who Chris Hoy is... is of exactly sod all relevance to living in the United Kingdom in 202x, and even less relevance to determining whether or not somebody should be permitted to continue applying for citizenship. In fact, exactly none of these questions seemed to ascertain anything other than that a person was aware that the UK was comprised of four parts and has a messy murky history. Reading Wikipedia would tell you that.

There was nothing at all about the modern political system (perhaps important if a citizen has the right to vote), there's nothing at all about the structure of government other than some pub quiz questions about the PM.


Some alternative questions

All being said, I fail to see how these questions relate to actually living in the UK in the 21st century.

Therefore, allow me to present some alternative questions.

Which of these people is not "hot"?

  • Holly Willoughby
  • Rachel Riley
  • Helen Willetts
  • Dot Cotton

Jacob Rees-Mogg is...

  • A Conservative MP
  • A faux-pious self-serving jerk
  • An arsehole
  • All of the above

Which Prime Minister wrecked British manufacturing, caused mass unemployment, got rid of free milk for young schoolkids, buggered up the education of older schoolkids, kicked off a massive social housing disaster, failed at instituting a new tax, started the ball rolling on NHS privatisation, whilst selling off anything else the government had that could be sold; whose legacy is still being felt today, and we're only just scaping the surface of how much stuff this PM screwed up.

  • Margaret Thatcher
  • Margaret Thatcher
  • Margaret Thatcher
  • Margaret Thatcher

Which political party is known, often for good reason, as "The Nasty Party"?

  • Labour
  • Liberal Democrats
  • The Conservatives
  • The Greens

Nigel Farage has been elected as a British MP...

  • Once
  • Three times
  • Five times
  • Never

Which of the following is a Brexit Benefit?


Compulsory education for a child the UK is from the age of 5 (4 in NI) until the age of...

  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
(tricky one, as it changed in 2013!)

Where might one go in order to buy a pill to ease a headache?

  • W H Smith
  • Boots
  • Nandos
  • Next

If you have a problem with a neighbour and you want assistance, you should go to...

  • The police
  • A lawyer
  • Citizen's Advice
  • Church

A white road sign containing an empty red circle means...

  • Nothing, it will be filled in when necessary
  • Unspecified danger ahead
  • No wheeled vehicles of any sort permitted
  • The London Underground is this way

A white road sign that is a red triangle with the word "Ford" means...

  • Warning! Mondeo drivers are arseholes may be ahead
  • I hope you don't mind water in your shoes
  • The other way is for Renault drivers
  • Broken down Fiesta up ahead

That peculiar yellow light atop a stripey pole means...

  • Lollipops for sale here
  • Pedestrian crossing
  • There's a barber shop here
  • It doesn't mean anything, it is street art

A 'tenner' is...

  • The examination children take at age 10
  • The perfect girl, ten out of ten
  • A banknote (value £10)
  • A male opera singer

Which of the following is the scariest and most evil?

  • A Dalek
  • Willow (The Wicker Man)
  • Any of the Midwich Cuckoos
  • Priti Patel



To be honest, I think the UK citizenship test has very little to do with testing the knowledge of potential citizens, and everything to do with being seen to do something to placate those citizens who think that immigration is a bad thing and that something must be done to keep the foreigners out.



Your comments:

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Gavin Wraith, 21st April 2022, 23:08
Thanks Rick, for poking at the this lump of fatuity. I hope you cleaned your shoes afterward.
Rob, 22nd April 2022, 12:22
I stopped and did the test before reading your answers. I got 20/24 too, but one wrong was that sneaky NOT you mention. Couple of guesses too. Oscars? Who cares? Oddly, I got the exact same questions but in a different order. As you say, it's a weird mix of blindingly easy and obscure stuff.
Gavin Wraith, 23rd April 2022, 13:22
The pub quiz (can citizenship tests be categorized in any other way?) is only another weapon in the armoury of The Infantilizers.
David Pilling, 23rd April 2022, 23:27
Bit like you might not pass A level maths even if you already have an A level in maths. 
I got the 10K metres wrong - I blame the hours of BBC coverage of hyped up contenders failing - could have sworn Dave Bedford won it. 
J.G.Harston, 24th April 2022, 01:17
Based on those questions, 90% of current UK citizens would fail. Kik erm owt! :) 
Personally, I'd have just two questions, sudden-death: 
a) do you feel yourself to be British, want to be British, and embrace being British? 
b) do you loath Britain, Britishness, everything to do with Britain and Britishness and have an unremitting desire to destroy anything and everything British? 
Rick, 24th April 2022, 02:12
I'm stuck on that question, JGH. 
My thoughts on Britain (specifically the English part) soured in the summer of 2016, and have just kept on digging down through the rings of hell. 
I'm looking at both The Guardian and The Daily Mail and thinking that if this is what Britishness is in 2022, I'm not sure I want to be a part of that. 
WTF happened to the country that I used to know? 
J.G.Harston, 25th April 2022, 12:24
Well, there are certain Britain-loathing parts of the media that I'd love to say to them: well, if you hate the place so much, there's the airport. 
But my attitude to British Citizenship is the Roman Empire version: I don't care where you come from, what your background is, if you feel British, want to be British, want to become British, welcome in. 
I'm sure my then-wife wouldn't have been able to get more than half a dozen of the listed questions right back when she came here from Hong Kong.
J.G.Harston, 30th April 2022, 21:36
I knew I'd seen it put a lot better than I could: 
freefall dot purrsia dot com slash ff3700 slash fc03684 dot htm 

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