The Britishness Test

I’m still just under two years away from being able to apply for Citizenship, but I’m really rather amused by the Britishness Test UK Citizenship Test that every wannabe-Brit has to pass.

“The 45-minute test – covering government, society and practical issues and costing £34 – comes into force on Tuesday.

People seeking to become British will take the test at one of 90 centres across the country, before taking part in a formal citizenship ceremony.”

Puh-lease, what IS Britishness? Being able to say how many seasons of Eastenders there have been? Knowing the latest about Jordan’s private life? Seemingly, it’s knowing the emergency phone number, a somewhat legitimate question, and being aware of a bunch of facts about the Royalty or the Church of England I bet 2/3 of my British-born friends wouldn’t be able to guess in a pub quiz.

Ask me how to pour a good pint or how to cook Toad in the Hole, and I’ll happily oblige. In the meantime, I’ll pray that, however humourous it may be, the Britishness Test dissapears off the face of Britain before I apply for Citizenship.

Edit: There! I found my contribution to the Britishness Test! Having to sing the London Underground song from beginning to end!

28 thoughts on “The Britishness Test

  1. Steven

    I got 9 out of umm 14 or 15 or whatever it was on the BBC’s UK citizenship test! Some of the questions aren’t anything to do with living in England though, like knowing the proportions of English vs. Welsh/Scotlish population. Still, good to see questions on what to do if you spill someone’s pint though.

  2. Lisa

    Yeah, I’m so not amused by this test. I guess that I’ll be taking this stupid fecking thing when I apply for citizenship soon. *sigh* We don’t do this sort of thing in Canada! I think a Canadian test should be picking out the American beer in a blind taste test, naming at least 5 varieties of Tim Horton’s doughnuts, and being able to sing the chorus to “Snowbird”.

  3. Steven

    Well Lisa! Immigration to the UK far outstrips that to Canada, so it’s important that new arrivals take some steps towards integration.

    I wonder if the BBC’s questions are representative of the test? I failed the population proportion question, if I knew the exact populations I’d have been able to do it, but that would have been down to maths skills, not knowledge.

    lalala rant rant.

  4. Bimble

    Don’t worry, I managed 10/14……… saying that, I couldn’t name five doughnuts from Tim Horton’s…. but I could eat them!!!! 😉

  5. Chris

    Stumbled accross this site after googling the britishness test (because this seems to be the only place with a link to actual questions).

    Being born and bred English I managed to get 8 right. That makes me very proud. And it was actually really 10 cos
    a)Father Christmas comes from lapland, i don’t care what some book says.
    b)PG is tea. PG in films has basically been replaced with 12-A, which is the exact same thing, just with a less yellow logo.

  6. sunny

    I am going to take the test next week, so I am reading the book like I am in hell now. I don’t mind the test but what is annoying me is the fee of £34, I think it is a bit too much for 24 questions. I still need to buy a book for £9.99. I think the test is not really relevant to become British citizenship at all. Government is trying to earn money from people who wish to become British citizen. Why can’t they just public the papers and put in the public Library for people to read instead of having to buy a book. Why the test is not free of charge or cheaper than £34? My English is ok, I can read and I can write and I was able to get a degree from UK. I feel that reading this book to prepare for a British ness test, it is not only going to prove your understanding of English but it also will prove your memory too. My memory is bad and my head is spinning.

  7. Gary

    Tony McNulty says he attained 19 out of 20 random questions from this Citizenship Test ( Do you believe him ?); maybe it’s because he’s one of the idiots that came up with all the ridiculous questions about the so called British way of life. For example, I am not Scottish but I know they have not got a Crown Court which is the answer to one question. I doubt if 30% of British born people asked at random could pass this test and that’s an optimistic figure. Why is the pass rate some 15 – 20 % higher than the American Test or does the Government not want many more Immigrants to have Citizenship or Passports, that’s how it looks to me. I think it is a back door measure to try and stem the wave of immigrants into the country, how many people have thought of that ? If it’s anything like the unorganised introduction of the ESOL English Test in 2004 then people won’t even be able to find anywhere that conducts the test.

  8. sunny

    Gary I agree with you 100% I feel that too. For sure they will exclude some people who can not even write English or who never go to school or who has difficulty in learning. We had to get 18 questions right in order to pass, which I thought it was not going to be easy for me. It was a hell time when I was preparing for the test. Chapter 2 and 3 were straightforward, but reading on chapter 4 it was not easy at all – especially do we need to know about “British constitution”?, about the judge?, about “Devolved administration”? They should test us on chapter 5 about “Every day needs” instead of Chapter 4 because I think about every day needs make more sense when you stay in this country.

  9. Janet


    Any body has taken the actual test, yet?

    I have booked mine for Wednesday and wish I knew some of the real questions!


  10. sunny

    Hi Jenet

    Trust me if you read chapter 2, 3 and 4. Read them 3 times – you will surely pass your test. I read mine three times before i went to the test. Also go to the lifeinuk website – they tell you what you need to know before you can pass your test.

  11. joanna

    Don’t insult britishness, what what; what is this crap, please refrain from destroying my country purely because were going through a phase of infatuation with our most COMMON denominators. It is all just a posh pastime of watching the yolkalls. Pouring a pint has nothing on knowing ones history. It seems like youve come over and encountered the crowds of people who think reading the sun everyday is the definition of being ‘well read’. “Think again sister”. */insert hatred here*. Britishness is about the kind of equality that lets people like you live in our country, even has you sit and insult the government. Why can’t you just asimilate into society instead of being pervesly rude.

    p.s. I understand how this can be your opinion concidering whats going on here in this day and age, but really you should be trying to be part of an improved english society instead of wasting time has a drunken lout with the rest of the english low lifes.

  12. Vero

    Joanna: You’ve managed to make yourself sound like a complete idiot in this comment, even though I’m sure you mean well and just can’t express yourself clearly. Or I’m willing to give you that much credit anyways.

    Who starts a comment with “what what” and expects to be taken seriously?

    I’m only being cheeky talking about the pint-pouring example, and I can see the kind of historical and everyday culture questions they ask have some value. But I question the value of the test itself as a way to evaluate whether someone should be allowed to live in a country. You, and an unfortunate number of well-raised, educated and culturally-aware Brits I know, would most likely fail the test, if you weren’t allowed to study the book first.

    And on what basis are you calling me a time-wasting drunken lout?

    Oh well, I’ve already met plenty like you, in Britain or in Canada, and I’ve just learned to tune you lot out. Life’s better without.

  13. Chantel

    Being British

    One of the British national daily newspapers asked readers “what it means to be British?”. Some of the emails are hilarious but this is one from a chap in Switzerland …

    “Being British is about driving in a German car to an Irish pub for a Belgian beer, then travelling home, grabbing an Indian curry or a Turkish kebab on the way, to sit on Swedish furniture and watch American shows on a Japanese TV. And, the most British thing of all? Suspicion of anything foreign “.

  14. Waheed

    I am reading about the question and thinking does these questions really make me British? NOT!

    I agree from some of the comments that I have seen that thsi is another way of making money. Introduction of ID cards. I just can’t believe that an ID card will have to cost £80. Bank will give you a free Credit Card and IN usa they also put your picture on it. A driver licence or an ID card in USA cost less then $10 so I wonder where is the money going.

    Britishness test. I believe 99% of actual British peopel will fail this test. I have seen American test and that does not require you to know how many people live or what age women were given rights. Alllthatmatter is they have the rights now. Don’t dig the past when they were allowed to vote and so on.

    I hope our MP’s find a life and do a better job then trying to work on small things like this test. I can pass the test but cost is too much. 9.99 forteh boo, 34 for the test and is it 360 for teh citizenship. I think government has finally found a way to rip off public.

  15. ian

    Ahh the citizenship test… this thing is driving me mad. I’m a student at the University of Nottingham and have written my dissertation on the thing.

    It’s a very interesting topic and it’s great to write 15,000 words about. if anyone wants any info, just e-mail me;

  16. kola

    Quite intresting and worthwhile to go through this test. It sees someone has the intrest of the nation at heart and that sense of belonging will be there. Taking it only requires concentration and determination and you do not know what you are missing if you haven’t read the book itself. Apart from passing the test, it is full of useful information. Pls go for it if you are qualified.

  17. Ibrahim

    Oh gosh! how is taking a test make the people behave in a british way! britishness is away of life and not passing some ridiculous test which by the way is aimed at raising money! Our Government has become like a genious entreprenueur – do you remember the idae of the ID card which was watered downn, well wait a little and the government will come up with another ingenous way of stripping the poeple out of money!

  18. Ian Slack

    i am 37, English, love GB spent 18 years with the british infantry and married a Serbian girl. she now needs to take this test in the next two months, so i took a sample of this Britishness test (out of ten).. i scored 6 and failed.. does that mean that people wanting to come over from other countries and live in our communities have to be “more British” than me?, (and no doubt 70% of british born people if they were honest) i think the test is a waste of time, and out money… dont they get enough money from us with the amount they charge for their visa’s?

  19. Vero

    Ian – You’re absolutely right. A group of my British colleagues took the test a few weeks ago, in moral support of a South American colleague who’d elected to get British citizenship. They ALL failed miserably, and even had a “retake” a week later which hardly looked any better.

    The amount of money and time I’ve spent over visas is just ridiculous. Croydon’s traumatised me to death too! 😉

  20. David

    So… the Citizenship Test is costing you lots of money and you don’t like what’s in it and the government are ripping you off and blah blah blah.

    Easy solution – don’t take the test; don’t live here.

    Although I was born in England, I didn’t know a lot of the answers to the sample test I saw (I have probably learned a lot of this before, at school though) However, I think the idea is to give the potential citizen an idea of how British society has evolved and what it stands for at present. Surely that’s a good idea?

  21. erika

    Ok, can someone please tell me which chapters i nee to study from the 2nd edition as i will be taking the test after the 2nd of July.

    If not, ca you direct me for some sites for it. thanks

  22. Anita

    My mother has to take this Britishness test. She’s Indian, and she came to this country in the 60’s, when the government were handing out citizenship to anyone from India who wanted to come. She is 48 years old, she has worked since the age of 18, paid taxes and everything. But because of some stupid law which affects anyone born after 1982, she cannot get a British passport. She didn’t realise this until a few years ago. I’m OK, I was born in 1977, but my brother was born after this and now he is affected as well. Just becasuse we cannot locate our grandmothers marriage certificate from back then.
    My mother and brother should automatically qualify for a British passport, they both have good jobs, and they contributed to our society all their lives.
    Tell me is this fair?

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