Not Very English

Film, Great Britain

Punch a hole through my bowler hat. Break my umbrella in half. Cut up my Oyster card. I’ve just discovered that I’m not good enough to be an English citizen. Me, the writer of ‘Deep English’ novels – oh, the indignity!

In an idle moment last night (I know, I could have watched TV but I said ‘idle’ not ‘desperate’) I sat down at this computer and took the Official Practice UK Citizenship Test. I thought well, this will be a doddle but it’ll be interesting to see what hopeful overseas future-citizens are asked.

I got 57%.

The pass-level is 75%.

The questions were not just crafty but vaguely worded, so ‘to attend hospital you need a doctor’s certificate’ isn’t clear; do they mean the A&E ward, or an admission? And some questions concerning population figures can only ever be a wild guess unless you’ve learned the answers by rote. I’d love to know how many answers your average Daily Mail-reading ranty English suburbanite would get right. On my showing, ‘not many’ is my guess.

You can try it here.

21 comments on “Not Very English”

  1. Steve Antill says:

    58% here. Good isn’t it…
    I’d feel so much more secure at night knowing that my neighbour knew how many hours a 13 year old is allowed to work, or the year in which it became legal for a woman to divorce her husband.

  2. Mark Yon says:

    71%. Still a failure, though only by 4%. Not easy, is it?

  3. Wayne says:

    63% here Not too bad but they will come and kick me out soon as I too failed.

    Honestly who would pass with such a test worded as it is? You would need to revise a whole lot to get the 75% requirement, mind you I only spent five Mins. on it and didn’t think too hard could have used the whole 45 mins. and passsed I suppose.

  4. stonemuse says:

    63% … looks like I’m out ;-)

  5. stonemuse says:

    Posted the link on another forum that I frequent … so far 20 have taken it and only one passed, and that with exactly 75% … the country will be empty soon!

  6. Derek says:

    46%. I’ll get my coat!

  7. Mike Carrington says:

    58%…. and that despite all the Bryant and May books I’ve read =(

  8. Dan Terrell says:

    Being Deep American I am amazed that I scored 63% (a seemingly popular score) in 4.5 minutes. (Would have done better if some questions had been drawn from the St. Trinians and Doctor in/at series of films.)
    Wonder how a Canadian would do? Helen.
    The U.S. naturalization exam has an oral section, but is a bit more straight forward. Ex. What was heaved into Boston Harbor? a) Gatorade, b) Single Malt Scotch, c) Starbucks Coffee, d) Light Beer or e)_________ (fill in the blank).

  9. Kimberly Taylor says:

    I’m an American, so I’m amazed that I scored 54% (and I guessed on a lot of the questions). I love history, but these were some really specific questions! The US citizenship test is a lot easier and focuses on our laws and history, but I think the UK version ensures that new citizens know how to function in their new country.

  10. andrea yang says:

    This Texas scored 38% in five minutes…. should have consulted google on a few…. don’t throw out your bowler hat, I am sure you are adorable in it even if you don’t qualify for citizenship!

  11. Stuart Pack says:

    Wow – 54% – and me a true born cockney no less – last one out please switch off the lights….

    I have to day I’m truly stunned at the sort of questions being set in a test that I thought was intended to help those wishing to settle in the UK pick up a range of understanding of the “British Way of Life”. Utterly stunned. Often irrelevant and frankly lacking in any link to citizenship (ie outlining the responsibilities that come with that status for a start.)

    More useful might be questions like:
    When is it acceptable to make eye contact on a train (Never – unless you are rolling your eyes at an announced delay due to leaves on the line)
    Which footballers in the England team should take penalties in a shootout (none of them – if it goes to penalties just pick five from the crowd at random)
    When is it acceptable to queue (always)

    Heyho, I can always sink back into the Deeply English Bryant & May and the Invisible code (unless your test result will get Waterstones to put that in “Foreign Literature” section??)

  12. Steve says:

    Hmph. 46%. I suppose not too bad for an American.
    Quango? Sounds like an orange drink.

  13. Steve says:

    Hmph. 46%. I suppose not too bad for an American.
    Quango? Sounds like an orange drink. Or something vaguely Australian.

  14. John Howard says:

    58% for me. Travelled up and down the land and feel so English/British it’s silly. It would appear that most of us untrained citizens will just have to become part of the immigrant population until we have learned what a committee has decided is required to be English.

  15. Jennifer says:

    58% for me. I will tutor you the next time I am in town.

  16. Helen Martin says:

    I managed 67% but I remembered quangos from Yes, Minister. I don’t know which I got right but I don’t think much of the questions. I’m not sure how many ridings there are in Canada, but I know how the system works and surely that should be the aim of the test. I wonder if the idea is to frighten people into reading the guide.

  17. Andrew Christy says:

    63%, but then I left in disgust in the Major years, to come to a country which set up a very similar trite, badly worded citizenship test a few years back (http://www.citizenship.gov.au/learn/cit_test/practice/). Unfortunately for them, I was already citizised by then ;-)

  18. Dan Terrell says:

    So, would Bryant & May work in a Quango?

  19. John Howard says:

    Hi Dan, I think you might find they already do; and I quote, “Quango or qango is an acronym meaning quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation used chiefly in the United Kingdom and Ireland, but also elsewhere, to label an organization to which government has devolved power’.

    Raymond might be a bit upset but I think the boys would wear the badge with pride. Well, at least Arthur would, assuming it hadn’t fallen into his pocket and become stuck to a sweet.

  20. Helen Martin says:

    (Thanks, John.) I took the Australian practice tests and got 90%. (Not sure about Jan. 1901 or constitutions in the states.) These questions make a lot more sense than the British ones.

  21. Reuben says:

    I tried this a while ago and got less than 50%. Questions were like “how much children (under 16s) are there in the UK?” Now how or why would I need to know that?

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