How would you fare in the bid to be British?
TENS of thousands of immigrants have passed the Home Office citizenship test since it was introduced two years ago. The exam, which must be taken by anyone seeking British citizenship, was recently updated to include more questions about Scotland following complaints it was too Anglo-centric. But how relevant are the questions, and would you be able pass the test?
"I was amazed when I saw what sort of things they were asking," said one Australian applicant whose case for full British citizenship is still being considered by the Home Office. "Most of my friends here couldn't come up with the answers and they've had the benefit of a Scottish education which is supposed to be the best in the world. I passed the test, but only because I mugged up on the answers out of a booklet I had to buy from the Home Office.
"I was surprised to how subjective some of the potential answers were. Not everyone can explain exactly what faith schools are or how proportional representation works even though they understand the basic concept."
The 45-minute test consists of 24 questions chosen by the Home Office. Information which helps to answer the questions is provided in a guide handbook, Life in the United Kingdom: A Journey to Citizenship, which can be bought in bookshops for 9.99. The test costs 34 to take and can be retaken as many times as required, although the fee has to be paid every time.
Applicants need to get 75 per cent of the questions right to pass.
In 2005, 161,000 applications for British citizenship were granted. Of those, 39 per cent were from Asia and 29 per cent from Africa.
Applicants can ask to sit. the test in Welsh or Gaelic. The answers given here are taken from Life in the United Kingdom: A Journey to Citizenship.
a) How many people live in the countries of the UK?
b) What is the census and how is census data collected and used?
c) How many people in the UK belong to an ethnic minority and which are the country's largest minority groups?
2. REGIONS OF BRITAIN
a) Where are Geordie, Cockney and Scouse dialects spoken?
b) What languages other than English are spoken in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales?
3. RELIGION AND TOLERANCE
a) How many people say they have a religion?
b) What are the largest religious groups?
c) What is the Church of England and who is its head? What is the main Christian group in Scotland?
4. CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS
a) Which sports and sporting events are popular in the UK?
b) Do people tend to live in towns and cities or in the country?
c) What and when are the patron saints' days of the four countries of the UK?
d) What are the main Christian festivals?
5. HOW THE UNITED KINGDOM IS GOVERNED
a) What type of constitution does the UK have?
b) What is the Queen's official role and what ceremonial duties does she have?
c) What is the House of Lords and who are its members?
d) What are MPs? How often are elections held and who forms the government?
e) How do elections for the House of Commons work? What do the party Whips do?
f) What is the role of the Prime Minister?
g) Which areas of policy remain under the control of the UK government?
6. HOW THE UNITED KINGDOM IS GOVERNED
a) What is proportional representation and where is it used?
b) What services are provided by local authorities?
c) What are quangos and non-departmental public bodies?
d) Who has the right to vote and at what age? How and when do you register to vote?
e) What rights do citizens of the European Union states have to travel and work?
f) What is the Commonwealth?
7. THE CHANGING ROLE OF WOMEN
a) Do women have equal rights in voting, education and work, and has this always been the case?
a) How many people in the UK own their own home? What is a mortgage?
b) How is the process of buying a house different in Scotland?
c) Which organisations can people rent houses from? How do people apply for council accommodation?
d) Which organisations offer help to homeless people?
9. SERVICES IN AND FOR THE HOME
a) What does the amount of council tax charged by local government depend on? b) Which groups of people can receive a reduction in the council tax they pay or benefits?
10. MONEY AND CREDIT
a) What are the values of the UK banknotes? b) Where can people get or change foreign currency?
c) What is social security and who receives it?
a) What is the NHS? b) What is the role of a general practitioner (GP)?
c) Which groups of people receive free prescriptions?
a)What are the ages of compulsory education? How does this differ in Northern Ireland? Who is responsible for ensuring a child attends school?
b) At what age do children go to secondary school? How does this differ in Scotland?
c) What are faith schools?
d) What is the role of a school governing body (or a school board in Scotland)?
a) What is the film classification system? What are the classifications?
b) What is the National Trust? c) How old must people be before they can buy alcohol? d) How old must people be to go into betting shops?
14. TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT
a) How long can overseas driving licences be used for in the UK?
b) Where can people purchase a road tax disc?
c) What are the speed limits for cars and motorcycles?
15. LOOKING FOR WORK
a) Who can be a referee?
16. AT WORK
a) What is the purpose of a pay slip?
b) What is National Insurance? How is it paid? How can people obtain a National Insurance number?
c) What is the State Pension age for men and for women?
1. (a) 59.8 million in the UK in 2005, of which 50 million live in England, 5.1 million in Scotland, 2.9 million in Wales, 1.7 million in Northern Ireland. b) A count of the population. Delivered to every household and must be completed by law. c) 8.3 per cent of the UK population. Indian, Pakistani and Afro-Caribbean are largest.
2. a) Tyneside, London and Liverpool. b) Ulster Scots, Gaelic, Welsh.
3. a) 75 per cent of population. b) Christian (71 per cent), Muslim (2.7 per cent), Hindu (1 per cent). c) The official Church of the state. The monarch. Church of Scotland.
4. a) Football, tennis, rugby, cricket. b) Towns and cities c) St David's Day, Wales, 10 March; St Patrick's Day, Northern Ireland, 17 March; St George's Day, England, 23 April; St Andrew's Day, Scotland, 30 November. d) Christmas Day, Easter.
5. a) Unwritten b) Head of state of UK and for many countries in Commonwealth. Appoints governments. c) The upper chamber of parliament. Peers, including senior judges, bishops of Church of England or appointed life peers. d) Members of Parliament. There must be a general election every five years. Government is formed by party that wins the majority of seats. e) Each MP is elected by one of 646 constituencies. Responsible for discipline. f) Leader of political party in power. g) Defence, foreign affairs, taxation and social security.
6. a) Voting system which ensures each party gets a number of seats in proportion to votes they receive. Scotland and Wales. b) Education, housing, social services, transport, fire service, rubbish collection, planning, environmental health, libraries. c) Quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations carry out public functions inappropriate for political control. d) All UK-born and naturalised citizens aged 18 and over. Join the electoral register at your local council. e) They may travel to and work in any other EU member state provided they have identification. f) Association of countries, most of which were part of the empire.
7. a) Yes, no.
8. a) Two-thirds. A loan to pay for a house. b) The seller sets a price and the buyers make offers over that amount. c) Local authority, housing association or private landlords. Through your council. d) Local authorities, the Citizens Advice Bureau or charities, eg Shelter.
9. a) The size and value of your home. b) Sole occupiers, the disabled or those on benefits.
10. a) 5, 10, 20, 50 b) Banks, building societies, large post offices, exchange shops. c) Welfare payments to those who do not have enough money to live on.
11. a) The National Health Service, which provides all residents with healthcare and treatment b) To act as a family doctor. c) Under 16 (under 25 in Wales); under 19 and in full-time education; 60 or over; pregnant or with baby under one year; receiving income support.
12. a) Between 5 and 16; 4 and 16 in Northern Ireland. Parent or guardian. b) 11, 12 in Scotland. c) Schools linked to religious institutions. d) Decides how school is run and administered. In Scotland, parents can be on school boards or parent councils.
13. a) System to decide which films are suitable for children. U, PG, 12/12a, 15, 18, R18. b) Charity which works to preserve important buildings and countryside in UK. c) 18. d) 18.
14. a) EU licences are valid indefinitely, others 12 months. b) Post office. c) 30mph in built-up areas, 60mph on single carriageways, 70mph on motorways and dual carriageways.
15. a) People such as current or previous employer or college tutor. Friends and family members are not normally acceptable.
16. a) Written statement each time you are paid. b) Money raised for contributory benefits such as state retirement pension and NHS. Apply through JobCentre or Social Security Office. c) 65 for men and 60 for women.
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