Sunday 3 January 2016

Guardian editor scores 4/24 on UK Citizenship Test

Helen Pidd

The Sunday Mirror has got its hands on some of the questions from the UK Citizenship Test and has put them to its readers in the form of a quiz. 

It's a fun test (if you're future doesn't depend on it), so you might like to try it too:
Can YOU pass the UK Citizenship Test?
With a bit of 'inspired' guessing at times I managed 21/24, so I'd be 'in' as you need 18/24 to pass. 

The participants in this morning's paper review on BBC Breakfast - Helen Pidd of The Guardian and BBC presenters Jon Kay and Steph McGovern - might well be 'out' though. 

They were all very keen to stress how hard it is. 

Helen - the Guardian's northern editor - declared the questions to be "bloomin' hard", and other such comments followed:
Helen Pidd: They were really difficult. I only got 4/24. I was quite tired when I was doing this this morning. 
Jon Kay: Some of these you'd have to revise for.  
Helen Pidd: Do you know who built the Tower of London?  
Steph McGovern: I don't think we're UK citizens, are we?
Jon Kay: I don't think we are!
Helen Pidd: Yeah. You should count yourself lucky if you've already got a British passport that you don't have to pass this fiendish test.
Steph find Question 11 particularly perplexing:
What is a responsibility that you will have as a citizen or permanent resident of the UK?
A To keep your dog on a lead at all times
B To avoid shopping on a Sunday
C To look after yourself and your family
D To grow your own vegetables

Which ones did I get wrong? Well, the following...
Which case is held in County Courts?
A Divorce
B Murder
C Minor criminal offences
Is the following statement true or false? Wales united with England during the reign of Henry VIII
A True
B False
...and, very embarrassingly, this one:
When walking your dog in a public place, what must you ensure?
That your dog wears a special coat
That your dog never strays more than 3 metres away from you
That your dog does not come into contact with other dogs
That your dog wears a collar showing the name and address of the owner 
And on that bombshell!...

Er, no...I almost forgot the point about BBC bias here.

After all of their 'astonishment' at how hard this test is for those poor immigrants trying to become British citizens, at no point did either of the BBC presenters add something that Helen from the Guardian had forgotten to mention from that short Mirror's article - namely the Home Office's statement as to why the test is so tough:
“Becoming a British citizen should be a privilege, not a right, and the requirements are rightly demanding.”
That is something they should have mentioned, shouldn't they? 


  1. I got 17/24 so would have failed - and I'm quite into history.

    However, there is a crucial difference between just taking this test on a whim relying on your own background knowledge, and specifically revising for it, remembering facts and regurgitating them. There are plenty of "British Citizenship Test for Dummies" type books and other resources out there. Give me a book on Turkish history and culture, and I'm sure I'll do pretty well on a Turkish citizen test in a couple of weeks' time.

  2. 20/24 for me. Inferior to a blogger from Morcambe but vastly superior to a Guardian editor. I'll settle for that.

  3. I would be too frightened to try it. It was introduced shortly after my Gambian wife came to the UK and was one of the many reasons why we decided to settle in Gambia. But, what I do not understand is how many people pass it when they can't even read and write, let alone speak english. Something fishy !

    1. How thoroughly do they check people's identities when they take the test? Would you have the confidence to say to someone "I'm sorry, I am not entirely sure you are the same person as in this photograph." Imagine the ordure that would be tipped over you if you got it wrong.

  4. I got 20 but I would query the poor wording of some of the questions.

    What is the answer supposed to be to the courts one if not murder? It is an oddly worded question - why use the singular "case"? That's certainly not colloquial English.

    Also, I would dispute the England/Wales answer. What does "united" mean in this context? It's a value judgement. The question (given the answer) should have been "When was a formal constitution union created between England and Wales?"

    Wikipedia states: "...when Llywelyn rebelled, the English interpreted it as an act of treason. Accordingly, his lands escheated to the king of England, and Edward I took possession of the Principality of Wales by military conquest from 1282 to 1283. By this means the principality became "united and annexed" to the crown of England." So the countries were united before the Tudor period.

    One other thing - while the answer to the Restoration question was obvious enough, it was a poorly worded question. The Anglican Church was restored under the Restoration as well as the King, and the Church of England does in some articles refer to itself as a "Catholic" Church. The question should have used "Roman Catholic" to avoid all doubt.

    The fact that a senior journalist on a national newspaper managed to get such a low score tells you all you need to know about our media.

  5. And another thing - the claim that a Briton (presumably Baird) invented television is highly contested and not a simple matter of fact. Baird's system was NEVER the basis for the sort of television broadcasting systems used until recently.

  6. We are not citizens in the UK we are subjects as we acknowledge the Queen as our Head of State and live under a monarchy. We are, however, citizens of the EU.

    Christopher Scopes

    1. Well this Act from nearly 7 decades ago clearly refers to citizenship (as well as subjects):

  7. I scored 16/24 and missed the question of eatblished churches, the county courts and the Union of England and wales which I thought was much earlier, amongst others.

    Do I get a prize for my previous response ? :-)

    Christopher Scopes

  8. Also a nice picture of Helen Pidd, was she concentrating on the quiz or relaxing in a lady like fashion ?

    Christopher Scopes

  9. 12/24. Though I would love to know who "discovered" the hovercraft

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