Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Would you pass the citizenship test?

From today, the majority of foreigners who want to gain British nationality will now have to sit a 45-minute citizenship test, based on a book published by the government called Life in the UK, which serves as a primer about the country’s customs and history. The Beeb have a test with some sample questions of the sort that would appear in the citizenship test.
Out of the 14, I managed to guess a mere 7 correctly, despite being born here and having an ancestry which is (AFAIK) entirely British. And of those 7 one was only correct because I read this article this morning (the question about which two numbers can be used for the emergency services).
Ultimately you’re more likely to get full marks if you have actually read the guide, as the questions in this particular quiz tend to pick on specific aspects which really don’t have a whole lot to do with British life in general. And it’s fair to say that the majority of the people taking the test will have read the guide. But still, I can imagine quite a few people who have been born and bred in this country not doing so well.
There are some further questions available from the Guardian here.


  1. I got a 9. I have no idea if this score would allow me to immigrate, but I did get the one about the spilt pint correct, which is the most life-threatening of the lot.

  2. I got 9 too 🙂 And i got the pint and emergency number ones right…. local council here i come…

  3. I got seven – and would have got eight if I hadn’t missed a question, and possibly even more if I hadn’t just been on a pub crawl.
    But it’s not really a citizenship test? It’s more a “can you remember the book” test. A lot of the questions didn’t seem terribly relevent to everyday life in the UK, and I have issues with Question 1.
    Whilst the No Borders part of me is annoyed with this new test, it’s not a hard test and it’s probably quite helpful – there’s even parts about your legal rights when challenged by cops. I am glad that I was naturalised before this came in and they started worrying about undesirables entering the country too much.

  4. I was quite surprised to get 9 right. I agree with LordRich, though – they keep referring to this book. That PG one threw me off, though – I had thought the correct answer was a red herring!

  5. There appears to be some mistakes: “What’s the minimum time you must have been married before you can divorce?” – Apparently the correct answer is 1 year. Maybe in England it is one year, but in Scotland there is no minimum.
    Also: “The origins of our Parliament were in the early Middle Ages. In 1215 the great barons forced rights from a tyrannical King John”. What is that document called? It says the answer is “The Magna Carta”, but to be completely pedantic about it the document is called “Magna Carta”
    Anyway, it looks like the people making the test need to do a bit more research.

  6. 9 here too. If you look at that scales it gives you at the top, that score seems reasonable, I don’t want to be a parliamentarian. But, like with all tests, it’s a simple matter of learning the book.

  7. gosh, I got 10!
    Got 4, 7, 12 and 14 wrong
    5 was a guess; 8 and 13 I really only got because they were talking about it on the radio 🙂

  8. I got 7 out of 14 in the BBC test and 9 out of 10 in the Guardian one (personally never been in England except in Stansted a few times wating for connecting flights)

  9. Moi? Onze.
    Tres bien.

  10. Funny – I got 9 as well, having lived in the UK for only 16 months 🙂

  11. I got 12 out of 14. Not too bad. I havn’t even seen the book yet. I might buy it as I probably won’t be this lucky on my test day.

  12. I got 7 and so did my husband who is British.
    Guess have to buy the book and the study guide…I find the whole thing quite humiliating and ridiculous.
    I wish they made Blunkett or whoever came up with it sit the test and in fact a lot of famous people, just to see how ridiculous it is.
    “Do more women than men work in Britain?”
    What sort of a question is this (this is a sample question from the actual official test site).
    I am sorry but I don’t read Statistical data on employment in the UK in my spare time and I doubt it that most British people do.
    Another fairly good experiment would be to give the test to British chavs or charvas as they are called where I live. Would like to know how well they would do on the test and whether the Home Office could take their British passports if they fail the test…Anyhow..that’s just me being pissed off with the whole thing and being ripped off more money in addition to the 400 pounds I have to pay if I pass the test…Lovely!