It’s time for a UK citizenship update. After passing the ‘Life in the UK’ test I was really happy and ready to fill in the citizenship application form. Reading up on what I need to fill in and attach to the form, I realised I had to take a GESE Grade 5 exam to prove my English skills. I had heard about an English exam previously but assumed since I am a qualified English teacher, I wouldn’t have to take it. I WAS WRONG!
Everyone who isn’t from an English speaking country or hasn’t graduated with a degree or masters in an English speaking country has to take the exam. I only studied English half of my master at a Swedish University but to be able to convert it NARIC my whole masters would have to be taken in English. I found out that the NARIC qualification is equivalent of a GTC qualification (which I have) but the Home Office only recognise the NARIC certificate.
On top of this, the exam costs £150 which is why my citizenship application was slightly delayed. Until the weekend just gone when I took the GESE Grade 5 exam, passed and was graded an A in topic and an A in conversation. A+ I’d say as I could tell even the examiner thought it was embarrassing I have to take the test.
How the GESE Grade 5 Exam Works
The test only lasts for 10 minutes; 5 minutes talking about the topic you pick and prepare and another 5 minutes discussing two topics which the examiner choose. The topic you pick can be about absolutely anything but the other two topics are generic, things you won’t be put on the spot talking about. Topics like holidays, entertainment, music, personal experiences etc.
After the Exam
At the end of the test, you receive your provisional grade and after a couple of days the official certificate is sent to you. Here you have three options; trust that The Royal Mail will make sure the certificate arrive (the option I took), pay £12.50 in case it gets lost and a new is sent “for free” or if it gets lost cough up £48 to have a new certificate sent out. How can they justify these options? If it gets lost in the mail, it’s not my fault. What have I paid £150 for (a 10 minute conversation) and how can it cost £48 to print ONE piece of paper?
Oh well, it’s done and I can finally fill in my citizenship application. One part is listing every single time I’ve left the UK in the last 5 years. Exact dates and reason why I left. Between my mum’s records of me visiting Sweden, travel photos, Facebook check-ins, work’s records of annual leave dates and old flight and train e-mails I should be able to figure it out.
Wish me good luck!