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August 4, 2009 1:17 PM   Subscribe

Do you qualify to be a UK Citizen? From the looks of Twitter it seems that many UK Citizens don’t.
posted by Artw (92 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I sent this to my family a couple of weeks ago after seeing it on ftalphaville.

We all failed.

What really annoys me about the questions is a combination of expecting immigrants to memorise completely irrelevant details about the history of the UK, combined with an undercurrent of politicisation which seems completely out of place in this context. Sadly however, the current UK government is shedding support amongst the working class to the BNP, so I can't see this dog whistle anti-immigrant stuff stopping in the short term.
posted by pharm at 1:24 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:26 PM on August 4, 2009


Twitter? Surely Twitter isn't the reliable source for this slow news day story. In the hierarchy for primary sources I tend to put Twitter somewhere under blogs and Facebook. Breaking news is one thing......... but this is hardly something we need to go to the man on the street for.
posted by y6y6y6 at 1:26 PM on August 4, 2009


14 out of 24. FailOuch.

Several were outright bogus:

In which year did married women get the right to divorce their husband?

[series of 19th century dates with AFAICT zero modern-day relevance]

The number of children and young people up to the age of 19 in the UK is

[some narrow range from 13M to 19M IIRC]

oh, and knowing whether children can work 10 or 12 hours per week is kinda bogus, like two bloody hours is a big diff.
posted by @troy at 1:26 PM on August 4, 2009


More on the tests
posted by Artw at 1:27 PM on August 4, 2009


I passed the real one but still failed this one.

Half the test is good stuff to know, half is short-term memorisation of numbers and dates only achieved by reading the citizenship guide immediately before taking the test.

It's more a test of English, methinks.

BTW, you're exempt if you take certain ESOL courses.
posted by peanut butter milkshake at 1:27 PM on August 4, 2009


It is a slightly odd thing, that test, assuming it accurately reflects the real thing. I mean, knowing about speed limits and where you might go to look for information about training for work seems quite reasonable.... and then there are questions about percentages and historical dates... which kind of turns the whole thing into a round of Mastermind. Perhaps it's just a hurdle to weed out slackers.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 1:28 PM on August 4, 2009


Twitter? Surely Twitter isn't the reliable source for this slow news day story.

And yet, Twitter is the story if you notice how the post is framed. People are taking the test and chatting up their results on Twitter. What more corroboration do you want?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:28 PM on August 4, 2009


I got a painfully bad 38%. Well, I've been out of the country, y'know, and I hadn't had my morning caffeine. More importantly I didn't take the time to memorize the little booklet of inane factoids, which appears to be the only thing this is a test of.
posted by Artw at 1:29 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, I failed miserably (11/24), but I've spent a grand total of roughly 3 weeks in the UK in my life (with a majority of that when I was about 4 years old), so I'm not terribly surprised.
posted by JMOZ at 1:30 PM on August 4, 2009


This is just as dodgy as the test for US Citizenship, so I guess it's nice to see that some things are univeral...except not at all.

Whizzing through the test in 3 minutes, I also failed (11 for 24) and was shocked at how ridiculous some of the questions were.

Like the percentage of identified Muslims in the UK in some-year-I-forget?

1.6%
2.5%
3.4%

Really? Really. (I don't remember the exact figures but there were three choices and the span between them was around 2% Ridiculous.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:31 PM on August 4, 2009


Oh damn. I got 67%, just a little too short of becoming a British citizen. Nevermind...guess you win some you lose some.

(Though of course, I wouldn't get past the Oath of Allegiance, and it would be interesting to know how many British citizens would.)
posted by Sova at 1:37 PM on August 4, 2009


Question 24 is ridiculous. Which of the following statements is true?

The governing body of the EU is the Council of the European Union
The governing body of the EU is the Council of Europe

Judging by the recent election turnout, everyone knows the governing body of the EU is the Council of Eurovision Judges
posted by Nelson at 1:40 PM on August 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Do you qualify to be a UK Citizen?

Apparently, yes.

Unfortunately, passing the test is just as meaningless as failing it.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:45 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh snap, I've never been to the UK and I passed without half trying. Test-taking is my superpower.
posted by molybdenumblue at 1:45 PM on August 4, 2009


I got 50%, which is not bad for an American, I'd say. I nailed like three out of four wild-ass guesses though. I got the number of UK teens right! Woo hoo! The wholly irrelevant divorce year I missed though.
posted by rusty at 1:45 PM on August 4, 2009


25) Please describe, in no fewer than 5,000 words, the importance of the Premier League.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 1:46 PM on August 4, 2009


The test for Canadian citizenship is as follows:
Q: Quel est ton nom, mon enfant?

˙uosuɥoɾ ʎlloɯ ˙ɹıs 'uosuɥoɾ :ɐ
Happy Canucking!
posted by Sys Rq at 1:48 PM on August 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Could you be an American?
posted by rusty at 1:50 PM on August 4, 2009


The study guide for this test, Life in the UK: A Journey to Citizenship, makes for some fascinating reading. There's a decent potted history of the UK and Commonwealth, explanation of how our system of government works from local councils right up the the Queen and loads of tidbits about local traditions and bits of slang. The end result is that, as well as having better English grammar than me, my non-native friends also have better knowledge of British history than I do. Ho hum.

When I was in high school there were some attempts to teach us citizenship stuff but it was only one hour a fortnight, unassessed, and even the teachers obviously weren't that interested in it. I think there's a strong case for teaching a course with something like "Journey to Citizenship" as the course text. There's no need to make it about patriotism or anything like that; just make sure everyone leaves school with a rough idea of where our society came from and a functional understanding of how our systems of laws and government work. Of course, I don't have any bright ideas about what should be struck from the curriculum to make room for it.

I'm pretty well educated and consider myself reasonably politically aware. I just took the test and failed badly, with 9/24. Very humbling.
posted by metaBugs at 1:52 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


12 out of 24. Why the hell did they renew my passport recently? They're obviously not supposed to let me back into the country at any point.
posted by saturnine at 1:53 PM on August 4, 2009


It gets more ridiculous still. One of the questions on a sample test I took was something like "What percentage of the population of the UK is of Chinese ancestry?"

The answers?

0.2%
0.3%
0.4%

Unfortunately, there was no "Are you shitting me?" option...
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:54 PM on August 4, 2009


The US test is a bit different, because the questions aren't multiple choice, and also because there is a publicly available fixed pool of 100 questions from which ten are chosen. If you can memorize the answers to 100 fairly simple questions, you can pass the US test.

In comparison, the UK test is drawn from more than 500 questions, and they don't seem to be available except through test preparation services which will charge you for them.

On number of questions alone, the UK test is at least five times as ridiculous as the US one.
posted by Pyry at 1:55 PM on August 4, 2009


I dislike twitter as much as the next bloke, but denying citizenship based on twitter usage? That's harsh, England.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:57 PM on August 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is the statement below TRUE or FALSE?

'Adults who have been unemployed for six months are usually required to join New Deal if they wish to continue receiving benefit.'


This one is basically a trick question anyway, because anybody under the age of 25 has to go on New Deal after 6 months, and everyone else goes on it after 18 months. So it could be both true and false.

On the questions you get wrong, it then says "Information on this topic can be found on page 82 of the 'Life in the United Kingdom: A Journey to Citizenship' Handbook", which basically shows that this is just a pointless memorisation test. I can't see what the point of it is at all. The idea of a citizenship test makes me feel a bit ill anyway, but if you're going to do one at least make it vaguely relevant, not full of questions about whether schoolkids need to buy their own uniforms or what the word quango means.

Also I only got 50%. I hope they deport me somewhere nice
posted by dng at 1:57 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Reviewing my answers now . . .

SPOILERS

you get 18+ months on the dole? Wow!
So I answered 14M children in the UK and there's 15M. Sheez.
So you can't just go to hospital if you feel like it. Socialized medicince DOES SUCK!
Council Office will tell you to piss off if you go there about training opportunities.
The little bastards can work 12 not 10 hours
It's CEU not CE. WHO KNEW???

posted by @troy at 2:00 PM on August 4, 2009


13/24 and I'm a UK citizen living abroad. No, not living "as a broad", but living in the colonies.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:02 PM on August 4, 2009


So you can't just go to hospital if you feel like it. Socialized medicince DOES SUCK!

You can, you'll just have to sit in the accident and emergency waiting room for most of the day if its something trivial.

Trivial means anything less than a severed neck
posted by dng at 2:03 PM on August 4, 2009


Could you be an American?

Hey, I got 40% on that one!
Er, that might be important at some point

Also I bet I could guess from the questions what year it was published to within 4 years!
posted by Artw at 2:04 PM on August 4, 2009


I got perfect but then I just got my UK residency.

The strange part to me is that the test doesn't cover UK law which is the one thing in the study guide that would actually be useful to know.

My take on the test is that it is to help sort English speakers from non-English speakers. Amazingly there were people in our test center who were trying to cheat when cheating is more difficult than reading the few chapters required.
posted by srboisvert at 2:04 PM on August 4, 2009


I thought we were subjects of Her Majesty, not citizens like some French or American riff-raff. Bin this unpatriotic nonsense!
posted by Abiezer at 2:07 PM on August 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


Hmph! I got fifty percent, but many of the multiple answer questions were supposed to have four options and I only saw three on my screen, thereby getting it wrong by default, and I don't know or care when women were first allowed to divorce their husbands.

I don't know what a good test would look like, but that ain't it. They might as well have asked "What was the tall one in Only Fools and Horses called?" or "What direction does the Queen face on a 1p coin?".

Anyhow, where do I turn in my passport?
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 2:07 PM on August 4, 2009


Come on, I think some of these questions are rigged:

Where is the nearest dentist to you in the UK?

Bzzt. There are no dentists. Deported.

Pig's liver, tongue-and-cabbage, or Jaffa cakes: Which one of these is not like the others?

If you said Jaffa cakes, you are so deported. Tongue-and-cabbage goes well with a nice chianti, while the other two taste offal unless enjoyed with a lightly-chilled shandy.

Is the statement below TRUE or FALSE: Catherine Zeta-Jones brings an excellent sheep dip to every celeb party.

FALSE. She stole the recipe from Anthony Hopkins. Deported.

Which TWO of these are names for the Church of England?
A. Cake
B. Death
C. Sea of E
D. Henry VIII's Wilde Partie


Deported, regardless of answer. Or possibly beheaded.

In what year of our Lord did John Major bore his 230,000-strong constituency of Shropshirenboroughandsixpence to death?

If you did not say 1968, we will not deport thee.

How many shillings to the pound?

FALSE. Shillings may only be converted to kilos, now that Britain is under the fascist metric rule of Europe.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:12 PM on August 4, 2009 [10 favorites]


I got 16. I believe I am a UK citizen, although I've never lived there and don't vote etc.

But I think it's pretty unremarkable that citizenship tests for people who want to naturalize are hard enough that most citizens couldn't pass (without preparing). For example, I'm sure that's true in the US. It may even make sense.
posted by grobstein at 2:13 PM on August 4, 2009


Actually, srboisvert, if it was an open book test, it would be a good test of practical English literacy. Nobody needs to know what percentage of the UK were Muslims in 2001, but being able to locate and understand the information in a book is a useful skill. Was it open book?
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 2:13 PM on August 4, 2009


It's a trap.

The only right answer is to write-in "Lizard People" in every question.
posted by qvantamon at 2:22 PM on August 4, 2009


Question 24 is ridiculous. Which of the following statements is true?

The governing body of the EU is the Council of the European Union
The governing body of the EU is the Council of Europe


It may well be ridiculous, but it's hardly fair to blame the test for the facts being ridiculous.

Council of Europe
Council of the European Union
European Council

As a side note: I love the International Organization approach to governing the Internet:
Lots of meetings and statements
posted by Authorized User at 2:29 PM on August 4, 2009


Through a mixture of luck, Black Adder (by-elections), Yes, Minister (quango) and common sense I would now qualify for citizenship. And I have to say that I really doubt the efficacy of these kinds of tests at separating "desirable" applicants from "undesirable" ones. Would I really make a better citizen if I knew the year women got their right to divorce? Is it an indicator of my love of the country if I know how many percent of its population are Muslim?

About the only real intention I can make out behind these tests (we have the German Einbürgerungstest, which is basically the same) is a large dollop of self-congratulation and patting yourself on the back: our schools are so well-run that we can guarantee they're open x days a year! How long do we pay people who are out of work? It's not x days, it's not x*2 days, it's a sensational x*5 days!
posted by PontifexPrimus at 2:29 PM on August 4, 2009


Wait, I've been to many a family planning clinic within the local hospital without any kind of GP letter. They're open to everyone, no referral required. WRONG, test!
posted by cryptozoology at 2:30 PM on August 4, 2009


grobstein,

I don't know about that. I'm a US citizen, but only lived there for nine years of my adult life and did not go through American primary or secondary schooling. I got 100% on the quiz without any prior preparation (OK...I do have a minor in American history from a Canadian university, earned back in the '90s). I was lucky to get 58% on the UK test, and I could describe the importance of the Premiere League in 5000 words or more. It's amazing to see an aspect of immigration and citizenship that someone manages to handle worse than the US.

On the other hand, I think a central element of the Canadian citizenship test still involves the Pizza Pizza jingle.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:30 PM on August 4, 2009


The fact that they asked any questions at all about the European Union I find both surprising and encouraging.
posted by vacapinta at 2:35 PM on August 4, 2009


I got 14, but I don't care enough to go through and see which 14. One question remains: WTF is a quango, or whatever that said?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:37 PM on August 4, 2009


I got 54% and therefore failed. I have dual citizenship of Ireland and the UK, so I blame my confused background... or something. What a ridiculous test.
posted by knapah at 2:38 PM on August 4, 2009


Quango is a quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation.
posted by knapah at 2:39 PM on August 4, 2009


50% but I'm Cuban-American. So, go me!
posted by oddman at 2:46 PM on August 4, 2009


So you can't just go to hospital if you feel like it. Socialized medicince DOES SUCK!

Wait, I've been to many a family planning clinic within the local hospital without any kind of GP letter. They're open to everyone, no referral required. WRONG, test!


Yeh, it's a weird question where the actual setup is too complicated to be reduced to a yes/no. It probably would have been better to ask, 'Can you see a NHS specialist or consultant without a GP referral?' Which would be clearer and probably more descriptive of how the system works, especially as non-emergency GPs are based in hospitals and available through self-referral.
posted by Sova at 2:51 PM on August 4, 2009


16 out of 24!
posted by parmanparman at 2:56 PM on August 4, 2009


46% and I used to carry that little green resident alien passport or whatever it was called, in case I needed to show identification at any time while I lived in London (pre-swedens entry to the EU). I guess I'll never get a real UK passport. ;)
posted by dabitch at 3:01 PM on August 4, 2009


A quango is a plausible deniability construct, upon which the government can exert discreet pressure to make shit happen, then stand back at arms length from when said shit actually happens.

The questions on this test were absolutely rubbish. Most of the numerical answers options were so tightly bunched that it's a total guess even if you have a reasonable idea of the answer. Many of the procedural ones were pretty ambiguous. I'm not sure that the official test will be quote as unfair as this. I suspect that this practice test is deliberately badly designed as a sales ruse for the official study guide, which just happens to published by The Stationery Office, who published the mock test. Then again, the whoring of government seems to know no bounds in the UK, so it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that they could keep making tests this shit in order to keep selling the books.
posted by Jakey at 3:04 PM on August 4, 2009


I got a perfect 10!

Not too sha-- Oh.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:19 PM on August 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


75%, but then I'm a UK citizen.
Some of the answers are wrong for Scotland, but I'm not telling which, 'cos they're the awesome ones.
posted by scruss at 3:25 PM on August 4, 2009


50%. I'm packing my bags now. Where shall I try next?

If I was in goverment I'd probably leave the test as it is (it got rid of scroungers like me after all) but I'd make use of twitter a criminal offence, minimum punishment banishment.
posted by ciderwoman at 3:29 PM on August 4, 2009


I got 100% on the American test linked. I guess they'll let me stay.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:29 PM on August 4, 2009


Passed with 19/24 - 79%

Never been to the UK, but I really should visit now that I'm a citizen.
posted by Vectorcon Systems at 3:33 PM on August 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm an American, and I got 50% right, which is better than chance (about 33% given the split between 2 and 4 answer questions). I with a couple of exceptions, I'm nut surprised that the average UK citizen wouldn't pass either.

That said, I doubt many people know the percentage of teenagers in the population of their home country, though what that has to do with citizenship is beyond me. Nothing about the justice system, little about government. Odd test.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 3:35 PM on August 4, 2009


As a UK citizen (born there) who's lived Abroad almost all of my life, I can thank Blackadder and Yes Minister for giving me the 2 that put me to ... wait, what? 54%?

This test is so stupid. I blame my multiple citizenships for confusing me.
posted by nonspecialist at 3:37 PM on August 4, 2009


I got 17/24 or 71%, and even though my thesis is on British legal customs, it was medieval law! I'm an American citizen and did live there for a few years as a teenager.

I mostly took it because I was interested in comparing it with the US test. In the sense that it looks like point-and-shoot memorization, it's very similar. I don't know how knowing which picky percentage of immigrants of which sort in a given decade helps you assimilate, though. I did live there in the 80s, but that's a while ago now. Quangos, numbers of constituencies, and who can vote? Much more useful questions.
posted by immlass at 3:37 PM on August 4, 2009


So July 4th - different take?
posted by Smedleyman at 3:41 PM on August 4, 2009


54%. Back to Normandy. Stupid intolerant Anglo-Saxons.
posted by WPW at 4:14 PM on August 4, 2009


Again, can I just say I love twitter?

Without it, it'd be a hell of a lot harder to pass this info around so that EVERYONE can see how ridiculous this thing is. Now, it's a lot easier to question what the hell out state's up to now than even before. Course there are downsides (OMG ORWELL) but its sort of self regulatory see?

Can I call 4891?



how about Llewro?
posted by litleozy at 4:17 PM on August 4, 2009


The whole point of a citizenship test isn't to test the knowledge of the potential citizen to ensure they will be a functional member of society; it is to test the knowledge of the potential citizen to ensure they want to be a citizen so badly that they've studied their ass off for countless hours trying to learn every little piece of information they need to pass the test. The lazy and shiftless and unmotivated need not apply.
posted by davejay at 4:17 PM on August 4, 2009


The whole point of a citizenship test isn't to test the knowledge of the potential citizen to ensure they will be a functional member of society; it is to test the knowledge of the potential citizen to ensure they want to be a citizen so badly that they've studied their ass off for countless hours trying to learn every little piece of information they need to pass the test. The lazy and shiftless and unmotivated need not apply.

So the test could be entirely on trivia related to Ready Steady Cook. But isn't it a tragic waste of that diligence and application if it isn't used to equip these eager-beaver wannabe Brits with information that might actually be useful to them in their new home?
posted by WPW at 4:23 PM on August 4, 2009


I got 63%, which is pathetic because I have studied the book and passed the real thing, albeit 2 years ago. It truely was pathetic memorization and cramming, except for the number of seats in the House of Commons, which I worked out from knowing that there were about 500 in Elizabeth I's time, and figuring that (despite rotton boroughs) they had probably gone up since.

I hate the Life in the UK test because I a) study British history and culture and still fail it, and b) the book is a hogwash whitewash of British history and culture. They love pointing out how William I invited Jewish merchants to move to England; they leave out the pogroms, blood libel and later expulsion by Edward I. They mention how immigration from the sub-continent and West Indies dropped off after the sixties, but don't tell you that's because there was a backlash against non-white immigration.
posted by jb at 4:26 PM on August 4, 2009


So the test could be entirely on trivia related to Ready Steady Cook. But isn't it a tragic waste of that diligence and application if it isn't used to equip these eager-beaver wannabe Brits with information that might actually be useful to them in their new home?


Bit of a tricky one. Part of the test is to ensure only the willing enter but its also to instil "patriotic spirit". So I'm guessing they went for part 'life skills in the UK' part 'salute the fine British past'.

If you ask me they failed in both and that's mainly because it's a) impossible to make someone a patriot b) you learn what you need to know about living in a country once you're in that country

This is were these immigrations test fail and will always fail: the "best" immigrants can only be found after they've lived in a country for 5 years and made themselves a home. Most of them wouldn't imagined such a future happening when they first arrived. (speaking in part from person experience here)
posted by litleozy at 4:34 PM on August 4, 2009


... Well, yeah. That's why this is a citizenship test, not an immigration test. One assumes you've lived there for a while as a resident alien, and are applying for full citizenship.
posted by kafziel at 4:41 PM on August 4, 2009


Again, can I just say I love twitter?

No, litleozy, we haven't got time. Now the results from St. Looney's Up The Bum.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:53 PM on August 4, 2009


I got 54% the first time, and was disappointed, even though I'm American, so I took it again, and the second time around I tried to use common sense for the answers. That time? I got 9% right.

There's a moral lesson in there somewhere, England!
posted by misha at 5:29 PM on August 4, 2009


Information on the census is kept secret for 100 years? Why? Also, there's a lot of questions about the EU on there which I didn't expect. Is that part of some sort of agreement in the EU? The citizenship tests must include some of that?

Those are way harder than the US citizenship test which is mostly history and constitutional stuff. None of this asking about how our health care system works or No Child Left Behind.
posted by bluefly at 5:29 PM on August 4, 2009


Doing this UK quiz and the MSNBC US quiz I discover that I could become an American but not a Brit. Which is ironic.
posted by ob at 5:39 PM on August 4, 2009


67 percent, but I've been watching a lot of Top Gear these past few months. At least I assume that's where I learned there were 646 parliamentary constituencies in the UK, whatever the hell those are.

(BNP metal folding chair dancefight teams. right?)
posted by bunnytricks at 5:43 PM on August 4, 2009


Everyone involved in designing this test needs to be punched in the face.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:47 PM on August 4, 2009


Weird test. I've been reading my little handbook in preparation for the Canadian citizenship test recently, but it certainly doesn't cover speed limits or the like.
posted by jamesonandwater at 6:08 PM on August 4, 2009


Doesn't the Prime Minister get to determine By-election dates? I mean obviously you must first have an open seat, but in Canada that seat can remain open for a long, long time if the Prime Minister wants it that way..
posted by Chuckles at 7:00 PM on August 4, 2009


Hehe. Another UK Citizen here, another 67% failing grade...

What, as the expression goes, a load of bollocks.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 7:04 PM on August 4, 2009


Another Brit who dare not darken the passport halls on the way home with a 14/24 score. Born and raised there, although i haven't lived there for 10 years. Nothing like burning your bridges.
posted by arcticseal at 7:27 PM on August 4, 2009


71%
posted by orthogonality at 7:35 PM on August 4, 2009


Information on the census is kept secret for 100 years? Why?

The culmulative data is released right away, but what's kept secret is the individual level data - what your name is, how old you are, what street you live on. Otherwise it would be a massive invasion of privacy. Some of that could be sensitive - what if you were in a mental hospital when the census was done?

I knew this one, because I hang out with geneologists - and they were all waiting for the 1901 Census to be released.
posted by jb at 8:27 PM on August 4, 2009


Thank god I'm already a citizen because I failed it too. I do something similar at the computer classes I teach. I show the patrons the sample online Canadian citizenship test and only New Canadians can pass it.

And the census information question was bollocks. I know the personal information is kept secret for a hundred years but the statistcal information is released pretty quickly. That's how we know how many people live in the UK for example. Why should I fail a question because THEY couldn't have clarified which information they were referring too?
posted by saucysault at 11:31 PM on August 4, 2009


On non-preview ... how the hell did I miss jb's comment? Did I fall asleep at my keyboard for three hours?
posted by saucysault at 11:32 PM on August 4, 2009


Failed it and I'm a citizen. Passed the US one though.

Related: How American are you?
posted by Mocata at 2:25 AM on August 5, 2009


I wrote a comprehensive rant when I sat this in 2006, and the test doesn't seem to have changed much since then. My favourite useful facts from the first edition of Life in the UK:

The British Father Christmas is a cheerful old man with a beard, dressed in a red suit trimmed with fur. He travels from an area close to the North Pole on a sledge pulled by reindeer, delivering presents to children.

Most large towns and cities in Britain have a modern cinema complex showing several different films at the same time.
posted by rory at 2:46 AM on August 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Council Office will tell you to piss off if you go there about training opportunities.

I didn't actually look to see which ones I got wrong. Is that what they say? That is bollocks. As is the one about hospitals.

Quango is a quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation.

Yeah, that question was barking. A quango is an acronym for a type of organisation that doesn't exist any more. Non-Departmental Public Bodies do exist but the acronym for them is, er, NDPBs.

So this test is not only a worthless memorisation test but also factually wrong. Brilliant.
posted by ninebelow at 3:28 AM on August 5, 2009


Ninebelow, it started out as an acronym, but quango is now a common noun in the OED, like scuba or radar. So NDPBs are quangos. The term was actually coined in the U.S., but taken up here; other countries also use it.
posted by rory at 3:56 AM on August 5, 2009


The OED's definition reads: "Originally: an ostensibly non-governmental organization which in practice carries out work for the government. Now chiefly: an administrative body which has a recognized role within the processes of national government, but which is constituted in a way which affords it some independence from government, even though it may receive state funding or support and senior appointments to it may be made by government ministers. Also in extended use."
posted by rory at 4:13 AM on August 5, 2009


40% on the British one, 100% on the American one linked by Rusty above.

I'm British, fwiw.
posted by vbfg at 4:28 AM on August 5, 2009


The "How American Are You" quiz was kinda tongue in cheek, but pretty heavily mocking the lowest common denominator amongst my countrymen. It'd be like "How Scottish Are You?" where the correct answers are "I wear a kilt, have never worn underpants, shagged six sheep, wake up to the sound of bagpipes every morning and eat a large breakfast of haggis."

Though this last question about the weddings... A minute long mockery at a 24 hour drive thru chapel in Las Vegas, presided over by a transvestite vicar dressed as Elvis. - that does kind of sound like my ideal wedding.

Even so, this was the final verdict: "You are in no way American. You still spell colour with a U and call your trousers "trousers". Try wearing a baseball cap and driving on the wrong side of the road a bit." Pffft. I spell color as COLOR and call my trousers PANTS.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:55 AM on August 5, 2009


16/24. I failed. When do I have to move out?
posted by salmacis at 6:12 AM on August 5, 2009


I failed...and I just passed Constitutional Law at Cambridge...
posted by jaduncan at 6:28 AM on August 5, 2009


Nothing about the justice system, little about government. Odd test.

The test is 24 random questions out of a possible 400 - mine (two weeks ago) had questions about both government and the justice system, as well as the cost of a phone call to emergency services and the age you can purchase alcohol in a pub.

Every British person I showed the practice questions to balked, saying they wouldn't have a clue about most of them, but you read the book a few times, commit some numbers and dates to memory, sit the test (mine took 3 min 12 sec and I went through it twice, just to be sure) and don't think about it again until the next pub quiz. It's as much a test of English language and comprehension as anything else.
posted by goo at 2:01 PM on August 5, 2009


Yep, I failed too. Mainly down to the ludicrous questions about demographic percentages and long-irrelevant dates that no-one except stats geeks needs to know or care about.
posted by raygirvan at 7:50 PM on August 5, 2009


I failed. One question (other than those mentioned above) was totally stupid: it asked 'what do you need to send with a job application, along with a covering letter?'. The desired answer was clearly CV, but another answer was 'proof of identity'. Jobs I've applied for over here through agencies, I have had to send proof of identity, to show I can work in the country legally. It would be the same for many immigrants.
posted by Infinite Jest at 11:36 PM on August 5, 2009


Also, there's an interesting story at the moment that new migrants could face a points test that would speed up citizenship: showing that you are integrated to the UK and share 'British values' would mean that you would get your passport earlier. How do you do this? One way is canvassing for political parties, or other voluntary work. You can also be penalised for showing 'disregard for British values' - there were reports that this could include protesting against troops returning from Afghanistan, though these haven't been confirmed.

And apparently the test above will be supplemented "The initial "life in the UK" test will remain but a more challenging test on British politics and history is to be introduced later in the process. " The Guardian. Quotes here: you can lose points for things that are not illegal. More comment here. Government proposals here.
posted by Infinite Jest at 11:44 PM on August 5, 2009


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