‘Life in the UK’ test – what is it, who takes it and what are they asked?

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The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has announced plans to bring in a new “British values” test for those seeking to settle in the UK.

– What are the existing arrangements?

As it stands, people applying for British citizenship or settlement in the UK have to take a “Life in the UK” test as part of their application.

– What does that entail?

The 45-minute questionnaire, which costs £50, poses 24 multiple choice questions about British traditions and customs.

– What is the pass mark?

Applicants must score 75% or more to pass, meaning they need to answer 18 questions correctly.

– How can they prepare?

The tests are based on information in an official Life in the UK handbook, which can be bought and studied prior to taking the test.

– What sort of questions are applicants asked?

Exact questions are not published but practice sets include: Which stories are associated with Geoffrey Chaucer? How often does Prime Minister’s Questions occur when Parliament is sitting? What is the name of the UK currency?  And which of the following is a fundamental principle of British life: a) extremism b) individual liberty c) intolerance d) inequality?

– How many people take the test?

Latest figures show a total of 38,325 Life in the UK tests were taken in the three months to June, with 30,703 passed – a success rate of 80.1%.

– Are there any exemptions?

Yes. Those aged under 18 and 65 or over and people with long-term physical or mental conditions are not required to take the test. The Government also waived the requirement to pass it for those affected by the Windrush scandal.

– What is the Home Secretary proposing?

He said the existing “pub quiz” approach should be replaced by a British values test that examines applicants’ understanding of the “liberal, democratic values that bind our society together”.

– Have there been any calls for a change?

Earlier this year a House of Lords committee report recommended a comprehensive review of the test. It cited expert evidence stating that there should be less emphasis on “selective cultural knowledge” and more on “civic-political information relating to the rights and responsibilities of citizenship”.

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