Life in the UK Test Essentials - Everything You Need To Know
Becoming a British Citizen
If you’re thinking of becoming a British citizen then you’ll need to pass a UK citizenship test known as the Life in the UK Test.The test is designed to evaluate your knowledge of the British government, history, society, customs and traditions. If you’ve applied for naturalization as a British citizen or want to remain in the UK for an indefinite amount of time. There are a couple of exceptions to this and there are requirements that you must meet before you’re able to take the test.
Whether you’re curious about the naturalization process or if you’re considering taking the test in the future, we’ve put together this piece to help you learn more about the UK citizenship test.
Who needs to take the UK citizenship test?
The UK citizenship test must be taken by anyone that wishes to apply for naturalization as a British citizen. If you only want to settle in the UK, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK but you’ll also need to complete this test.
If you’re applying for indefinite leave, the Life in the UK test is a compulsory requirement. If your application is successful, you’ll be able to live in the country lawfully with no time limits or conditions of your stay. You’ll also be able to apply for public benefits such as free healthcare and access to education. It’s worth mentioning that ILR differs from naturalization. Once you possess this status for at least 12 months, you’ll be able to apply for citizenship to naturalize yourself as a British citizen.
If you’re applying for citizenship, the Life in the UK test is a compulsory requirement in addition to possessing good character, being able to prove your knowledge of English and prove that you were in the UK exactly 5 years before the day the Home Office receives your application. There are a few exceptions to this, such as people under 18 or over age 65. There are no exemptions for those that have invested time or money into the UK. Those with a long-standing permanent physical or mental health condition may be exempt from the test on a case-by-case basis. However, the condition must prevent you from studying for or taking the test.
Requirements For Achieving UK Citizenship
If you are applying for indefinite leave or naturalization then you must meet The Knowledge of Life and Language in the UK (KoL) requirement. This involves passing the Life in the UK test and also possessing a speaking or listening qualification in English at B1 CEFR or higher. This English qualification must be from an approved course and it must be carried out at an approved test centre.
Equivalent qualifications, such as a degree taught in English, also count for this. There are exceptions to this rule such as being aged 65 or over or being unable to take the test due to a long-term physical or mental condition. Citizens of other English-speaking countries, such as Australia and the USA, don’t need to prove their knowledge of the English language but do still need to take the UK citizenship test if they are applying for naturalization or indefinite leave.
What Does the Life in the UK Test Involve?
The Life in the UK test will challenge your knowledge of life in the UK and the English language. There are 24 multiple choice questions that cover a range of topics such as British history, culture, laws and politics. The questions are randomly chosen by a computer and you’ll be given 45 minutes to complete the test. The test is taken on a computer so you won’t need to bring any writing materials. In order to pass, you must answer 18 out of 24 questions correctly (75%). In 2014, the national average pass rate was 70%.
The Life in the UK test must be carried out at an approved test centre in the UK. You can choose where to take your test when you book. There are currently over 30 test centres across the UK.
How Can I Prepare For The Test?
The Life in the UK test involves questions regarding the UK’s history, its government, geography and culture. Since the questions are chosen at random, there’s no way to memorize the test or its questions. You might also get easier or more difficult questions since they are chosen at random, meaning you may need to take the test several times before you successfully pass.
In order to study for the test, we highly suggest that you use practice tests to get an idea of the type of questions you’ll be asked. Much of the information required to answer the questions will come from your knowledge of everyday life in the UK, so staying in the country for an extended period of time will definitely help. For questions related to politics and history, we recommend studying the history of the UK.
For a convenient way to study for the test, you can purchase the official Life in the UK Test Handbook that contains the latest official materials in an easy-to-read format. The questions picked will all relate to the information in the handbook, making it a great place to start studying for the test. These handbooks are not free and must be purchased by yourself. It’s worth mentioning that there are different editions to the handbook, so make sure you’re purchasing the latest one for the most up-to-date information.
About The Test
How do I book the test?
Booking for the Life in the UK test must be done through the official government website at https://www.gov.uk/life-in-the-uk-test. It is the only official government service for booking the Life in the UK test. The test must be booked at least 3 days in advance and you’ll be able to select your preferred location when you book.
Does the test cost anything?
The Life in the UK test costs £50 to book. If you wish to apply for indefinite leave or citizenship, then additional fees will apply.
What should I bring with me to the test?
When attending your test, make sure you bring the following items:
- Proof of address, such as a utility bill or bank statement
- Proof of identification, such as an EU identity card or passport
- The same ID that you booked your test with. This must be exactly the same. If you booked your test with a passport, that passport must be present before you can take your test
How long does the test take?
There are a total of 24 questions and you’ll be given 45 minutes to complete it. However, you should allow around 2 hours in total for the entire process as you’ll need to prove your identity before being able to take the test. This process can take a long time depending on the documents that you bring. It’s best to bring multiple forms of identification and proof of address to speed up the identity check.
UK Citizenship Test Day – What Happens?
What happens after the test?
Once the test has concluded, you’ll get a pass notification letter if you were successful. You’ll only be given a single copy of the letter with no replacements. If you do lose the letter, then you can phone the Home Office and let them know. While they won’t replace the letter, they can give you information on what to do next. If you’re applying for citizenship or indefinite leave, this letter must be included with relevant documents to prove that you’ve passed. The certificate has no expiry date and can be used in all future applications that require it.
What happens if I fail the test?
If you fail the Life in the UK test you’ll need to wait 7 days before being eligible to take the test again. You’ll need to book and pay for future tests, but you have an unlimited number of attempts to pass. It’s important to study and attempt practice tests to improve your knowledge and increase your chances of passing in the future.
Study tips to successfully pass the UK citizenship test
If you’re attempting to pass the test for UK citizenship or indefinite leave, then it’s important that you take the test seriously and study for it much like any examination. Although you have an unlimited number of tries, it can easily cost you a lot of money and will be stressful if you continuously fail.
Helpful study tips
- Purchase the official handbook so you have helpful study materials that you can refer to. The handbook is a great way to prepare for the test since it contains a lot of useful information in a compact and convenient book. While the books may seem expensive, they can greatly improve your chances of passing the test and will save you from spending another £50 on booking your test.
- Establish a timetable to study. Make sure you’re dedicating your time to studying throughout the week instead of trying to cram it into a single day before your test. Stick to this schedule and don’t underestimate the test, even if you’ve lived in the UK for a long time.
- Space out your study into short and digestible sessions. Study for at least 15 minutes per session and then take a break. Repeat the study later in the day so that you can recap on anything you’ve learned. Studying for a long period of time will make your concentration suffer and it’ll be harder to commit the information to memory.
- Ask someone to help you study, such as a friend that is a British citizen or someone who is also studying for the test. This can be a great way to test yourself while helping someone else in the process. However, some people might find that a study partner makes it more difficult, so this may be a counterproductive idea.
- Study in a relaxing environment such as your home or a library. You want to feel relaxed when you study so that it’s easier to remember important bits of information.
- Remove distractions when possible. If you study in a relaxing environment then there’s a low chance that you’ll be distracted. We suggest turning off your phone and the TV when studying. If you study better with some background noise, then a library or some relaxing music with no vocals can help.
- Look up definitions of difficult words that you don’t understand so you can put them into context. This will help reduce frustration and make it easier to remember certain things.
- Take small notes and keep them in a small book or your phone. This will give you a quick way to refresh your memory when you’re on a daily commute or have nothing else to do. If you own the handbook, then using a highlighter to select and circle different parts of the book can help you remember them.
- Use visual aids to help you remember things. This is especially helpful when it comes to remembering the history of the UK or remembering certain dates and political concepts.
Life in the UK test will cost you an average of £50.
Some final words
The UK citizenship test is ultimately something that even many British citizens wouldn’t be able to pass. While many of its questions are easy to answer if you’ve lived in the UK for some time, there are historical and political questions that can be challenging to answer unless you have studied the source material.
If you’re aiming to become a naturalized UK citizen or want to stay indefinitely in the country, then passing the UK citizenship test is compulsory and cannot be avoided. By utilizing these study tips, we hope that you’ll have a much easier time passing the test and achieving your goals.