Think you could pass the UK citizenship test? We put our Romford reporters to the test

Harry Kemble, Sam Blewett and Josh Fowler doing the citizenship test.

Harry Kemble, Sam Blewett and Josh Fowler doing the citizenship test. - Credit: Archant

Can you name the forts scattered along Hadrian’s Wall? How about the year Big Ben was placed inside the clock tower in Westminster? We put three of our reporters through the head-scratcher that is the Life in the UK test,

The exam is compulsory for anyone outside the EU who applies for indefinite leave to remain or naturalisation as a British citizen.

It has come under heavy criticism in a report for being no more than a bad pub quiz.

Rita Chadha, chief executive at the Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London and Essex, says the test is “irrelevant” and is not the best way to find out how well someone will integrate into a society.

“You need ongoing opportunities for people to engage and integrate, whether that is in the workplace or in schools,” she said.


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“At the moment local councils seem to disregard the importance of such activities and don’t see them as important, that means we are storing up problems for the future.”

The test was brought in under the Nationality Immigration and Asylum Act in 2002 and was revised in 2007 to incorporate more questions.

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Ms Chadha said: “The current test remains as irrelevant as the last one, but it is easier to understand and easier to learn. What practical good it will do is anyone’s guess.

“It’s good that the test engages people in improving their English, but there has to be more work done post-test to make sure that integration lasts and is not a one-hit wonder.”

To pass the test, candidates need to answer at least 75 per cent of the multiple-choice questions correctly within 45 minutes.

Questions include knowing the patron saint of Wales, the ratio of English people to Scottish and what happens on Valentine’s Day.

As well as testing an applicants knowledge of “life in the UK” it also tests their English, which is something, hopefully, our reporters will not struggle with.

Despite Sam Gelder, 26, struggling to answer whether Santa Claus originated from Germany, Shakespeare or the Victorians, he came out on top with 64 per cent.

He said: “It was challenging, I wouldn’t like to have to do it to decide whether I had to come into the country or not.

“I didn’t know what to expect, I never really thought about the questions, but I was still quite confident that I would beat Harry.”

Which in fact he did with Harry Kemble, 25, who seemed to make a few groaning noises while trying to work out answers, managing 57 per cent.

One of his many stumbling blocks was knowing that you had to be married a year before you could apply for a divorce.

Harry said: “Hearing from my friends who have taken the test, I though that I would be asked about the national anthem, but in fact they were questions which tackled all facets of British life in the 21st century.”

Coming in last place was Josh Fowler, 24, who only managed to get half of the questions right and is now on the naughty step in our High Road, Ilford, office.

He said: “I’m surprised at the depth of knowledge required. Is this all really necessary to live in the UK? I’ve managed OK so far.”

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