I thought it’s time to write an update to my “How to apply for UK citizenship” post. The other day I finally took the ‘Life in the UK’ test and I passed! I’m happy to say I did so on my first attempt but on my second visit to the test centre. I went a couple of weeks prior but I got rejected taking the test because I didn’t bring the right proof of address.
The other day when I went it happened to another person wanting to take the test so I thought I’d write a post about how to make sure you’re prepared and eligible to take the test. He had left his driving license outside in the car and wasn’t allowed to go and get it. It’s very frustrating, especially as you have to pay again for a new test time.
Prior to the test
There are two official Life in the UK test books which you can purchase to help you study. The text book which covers history, democracy, culture, etc. is written in chronological order and for level 3 English so it’s an easy read but it’s a lot of information to take in. The second book includes 17 mock up tests, all including 24 questions with multiple choice, like the official test. These books are also available in an app. I never downloaded it as I’d already used the books so I can’t vouch for how’s it works.
Reading the text book 3-4 times and taking the mock up test should be enough to pass the test.
On the Book the Life in the UK test website is where you book in for your test simply by filling in your details. The ID you use to sign up with is the same you have to bring on the day of the test. You also have to choose a test centre and date for when you think you’re ready, pay a happy £76 and then wait two-three days and a confirmation email will arrive with the date and time of your test. You can cancel or ask for a new time if it doesn’t suit up till 5 days before the test date and they should refund you.
The day of the test
Make sure to bring the ID you signed up with, along with paper proof of your address. I stupidly bought my council taxi bill the first time, without looking if it was dated no longer than three months back from the test date. Other documents that are valid are gas/electricity/water bill, council tax bill, bank/credit card statement, a letter from the Home Office or your driving license. The credit card statement isn’t mentioned in the confirmation e-mail but it says on their website and I also emailed to confirm. The gas/electricity/water bill is apparently higher in rank when I showed most of the above.
Once signed in, you have 45 minutes to answer 24 multiple choice questions. There are true or false questions, four option questions where either one or two answers are correct depending on the nature of the question. At first, 45 minutes doesn’t sound long enough but I think I only spent 15 minutes taking mine, including going over all the questions twice making sure I’d answered correctly.
Straight after you’ve submitted your answers, the test centre staff give you your result. Unfortunately it doesn’t say which questions you get wrong (if any) or how many scores you got. It’s a pass or fail result and to pass you need to have answered 18 questions correctly. The paper confirms the result but it’s the only copy you’ll get so keep it in a safe place. If you leave the test centre before getting your result, you can’t retrieve it elsewhere, which means you’ll have to retake it.
After the test
If you don’t pass the test, you can retake it as many times as required to pass but bare in mind, it costs £76 each time.
The test result is also sent digitally to the Home Office for future documentation. The next step is to fill in the citizenship documents where you’ll have to show proof of passing the test, including many more details like all the dates and reasons for leaving the UK in the last five years. Although the Home Office already have the test result, you’re also expected to send in the paper copy which will be returned to you once checked.
So there you have it, the ‘Life in the UK’ test in a nutshell.