Here you will find everything you need to know about passing Life in the UK Test
My time for the UK settlement application was approaching. While I stared at the application for the nth time, it dawned on me that there is no running away from the Life in the UK test.
In September 2019, I got myself booked for the test for mid-October 2019. At that point, I had absolutely no idea how I was going to prepare. With a day job and two kids (under 10) at home, I just couldn’t take on one extra task.
But what needs to be done, needs to be done. I HAD to find a way somehow.
Which meant either or all of the below
- study during commute
- study after putting kids to bed.
- cutting down my ‘winding with Netflix’ time
I said to myself, “Its just one month of sacrifice. Make sure you pass and you will get your heaven back”.
It seemed fair. But what if I don't pass?
While searching randomly for the Life in the UK test I came across this article by Daily Mirror that stated that
1 in 3 people fail the British Citizenship test
No! I cant be one of them. That would be too embarrassing. What would my boss think? What kind of dumb human he has hired for a Product Manager. And what would my son’s friend’s mums think, and what would my in-laws think, and what would my dog think!!!! (oh, wait! I don't have a dog)
No, failing was out of the question!
I had to pass and I had to prepare thoroughly and for that, I had just one month.
What is Life in the UK Test
The Life in the United Kingdom test t is meant to prove that the person who is applying for settlement or nationality in the UK has sufficient knowledge of British life and it covers topics such as British values, history, traditions and everyday life.
IF you are thinking that you know enough about the traditions, customs and everyday life in the UK to pass the test and maybe you won’t find it as hard as other candidates let me tell you something:
You have delusions of adequacy my friend.
This test expects us, migrants, to know things that would not be expected of native-born citizens.
Like a very boring pub quiz.
I’ll try to give a detailed account of how I was able to pass the Life in the Uk Test. From knowing nothing about the test to actually becoming an expert advisor on how to be successful on the first attempt.
Eventually, I ended up developing an app of my own that I think would help people, who like me, had a great struggle finding the right resources for the test.
I DID pass in the first attempt if you were wondering. here’s the proof
If you have just started to enquire about Life int he UK test and you have no idea what to do then read on:
Basically, there are 3 things you are required to do to give your Life in the UK test.
- Booking (fairly easy)
- Preparation (the elephant in the room)
- Test ( the D-Day)
Who is required to give the Life in the UK test?
Life in the UK Test is a part of the application for British citizenship or settlement in the UK. The settlement also means ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain) in the UK.
This website provides detailed and authentic information on everything you need to know about settlement and becoming a British citizen.
Eligibility to give the test?
Firstly you need to confirm if you need to give the Life in the UK Test.
This checklist provides different situations. If your situation is met by one of those in this list then you are required to give the test.
There are certain situations when you are not required to give the first. Check here for details.
How long before one should book?
You must book your Life in the UK Test online at least 3 days in advance.
Ideally, you should book at least 1 month in advance and dedicate that 1 month to prepare. At least this is what I did. Once I booked the test, I had to sit down and take it seriously.
Read on to follow my journey from knowing nothing to becoming an expert and finally developing my own mobile app that can help you prepare and ace the test.
How to register for the Life in the UK Test?
This is the only official government service for booking the Life in the UK Test.
What do you require while registering for the test?
The following three things are required to book your test.
- email address
- debit or credit card
- an accepted form of ID (this can be a valid passport, a valid travel document with a photo, biometric residence permit or biometric residence card
How much is the fee?
The test costs £50.
Additional £12.99 if you buy Official Guide to New Residents Book
Instead, why not buy an app fo £4.99 that promises to cover the entire content of the official book!.
This app that I created, not only helps one practice each chapter individually but also provide chapter tests.
What's great about this is that it has a huge database of tests based on the actual test format. These are timed tests and you can give as many as you want.
How to book a centre?
You can choose where you want to take your test when you book depending upon your convenience.
There are 30 centres across the UK where you can give your test.
While booking for the test you might be asked to purchase the book- but DON’T
Get this app instead.
After booking my test, the first question I faced was How to prepare for the test.
I tried to enquire at online forums and asked a few friends who had been through the ordeal.
I got mixed advice. Some said that the test is simple and I would breeze through it, provided that I have read the book. Some advised me to just practice from the available apps.
Some said that it's pretty hard and I need to spend more than my intended time, on not just reading the book, but also practice with the mobile apps.
I got confused.
Determined to Pass, I bought the book.
Preparing with Book
Getting the book was the easy part. It cost me around £8. As I sat down to read it, I realized that there are too many things to remember, too much history to know and a lot of numbers to memorize. Also, having 2 young children didn’t help.
After finishing up with all my daily chores, when I actually picked up the book, I was like this:
I spent almost a week browsing the book and instantly forgetting what I learnt once I closed it. I wasn't getting anywhere and felt stuck.
Not to mention it was a type of procrastinating, in which one avoid doing the actual work so much that they end up doing extremely useless stuff.
let me give you an example
I sit down to prepare for an exam. First I sharp all my pencils, then I sharp the pencils of my siblings while appreciating the manufacturing of the pencil sharpener. Then I realize that my table is not clean. Go to the kitchen, get a wipe and not only clean the table but also the entire room that my mum had been pleading with me to do for weeks. I did that during my entire school life.
And when I finally ran out of things to do and found no other option but to open the book. this is what happened 👇🏻
Preparing with the mobile app
The next thing I tried was to attempt the practice questions. For that, I searched for some phone apps because I knew that I need to squeeze in some study time either during my commute or at night time, after putting kids to bed.
Reading the book wasn’t working for me.
Little did I know that installing a mobile app was a new kind of pain that I was inflicting myself with. and NO it wasn't the sweet pain. Nor it was Fifty Shades of Grey kinda pain.
So deciding between the Book or the apps was the task I assigned myself to. So spending about 1 week, I came up with the following
Practising from the Book
- You don’t miss out on anything.
- You get the satisfaction of going through the entire content.
- You must read the ENTIRE book, which is quite detailed (and boring!)
- Your work/other engagements (eg Netflix) /kids suffer. (Notice that Netflix comes before kids )
- You are not in the habit of reading anymore. ( That's me 🙋🏻♀️)
- You cant read during the commute. (I get motion sickness)
- Too much info to remember.
Practice from Mobile App
- You can pick it up any time of the day to practice (admit it!..you never get it out of your sight)
- You can practice while travelling. (Unfortunately, there are no signals underground)
- It’s possible to practice while watching tv (yes believe me)
- Great to pass the time while waiting for your kids' football practice to finish.
- The complete content of the Book is usually not covered in most of the apps.
- Most apps are too complicated, especially for those with a poor sense of direction (mine is horrible)
- Almost all the apps I used were extremely unaesthetic, with a bombardment of ads. ( I could hardly find the questions hidden among all the ads of home insurance and dog food)
- It's just not possible cant remember the monotonous delivery of information (All questions seem alike).
- Not enough explanations are given to help you remember the facts.
So basically I was stuck
Then I chose the path of a warrior.
I practised the 11 tests that I found at the end of the book.
Then I READ the book whole Book. Of course, I forgot the moment I closed it.
And thirdly, I downloaded an app to practice.
This was a MISTAKE!
I could hardly read anything on the screen because of so many ads that kept popping up during the practice. It kept firing away ads at all crucial points. eg just before telling me the scores.
I was disgusted!!!
Pact to Myself
After going through so much trauma I made a promise to myself. Never EVER should anyone suffer this much.
The solution was to come up with an app of my own that should cover all the needs and making the experience of learning about British customs and traditions fun and easy.
And guess what?
My partner who is into developing software completely agreed with me and offered to create an app that fulfils all my needs (regarding the Life in the UK Test of course).
So together we came up with this brilliant app that may prove to be beneficial for the coming generations. Not ours I hope (as our kids are not required to pass this test)
What points I kept in mind while developing my own app
While making this app I had a very clear picture of what characteristics it must have. Following were the points that I have based this app on:
It must cover the entire book
I sat down with the book (Official Guide to Life in the UK 3rd Edition) and wrote questions along with their multiple choice answers. Making sure I don’t miss out on anything.
Each answer is also provided with related explanations so one can remember the facts easily with a bit of background.
It gives information in such a way that it remains in your head even when you close the app
I also found the related pictures so if the facts are forgotten, the pictures make it easier to remember.
Having pictures in my app gave it a refreshed look and a pleasant experience to browse through.
Here is how my app looks like
It must work without the internet
Internet is needed to install the app (obviously!). But once you download the app you can practice even while travelling on a tube.
Or when you are outside and are low on mobile data.
It must be simple yet beautiful
If you see the app you would realize that my partner has put in extra effort to design so users can have a beautiful learning experience.
It’s simple and uncomplicated design focuses on learning rather than making you buy tests and other in-app purchases.
Sprinkle of Science
Each question is repeated twice even if answered correctly.
Every wrong question is repeated in a special format till you get it correct. This is based on Spaced Repetition Method that trains the brain to remember and retain the information.
You can give mock tests at any time.
These tests are based on the exact format that you will get in the test. These are timed and based on the entire book. Just like the actual test.
There are multiple tests and your progress in all the tests is saved.
There are also chapter tests at the end of each chapter so you can test your knowledge after you complete each chapter.
Gives you instant feedback on your progress and track your performance
It gives a proper feedback. It shows your progress chapter wise. So Once you finished a chapter it gives you a go-ahead signal to give a chapter test and once you pass it you are all ready to go to the next chapter.
It also tracks your progress so that you can pick up where they left it last.
Never once this app asks for registration or your email address. So rest assured that your privacy is saved and your details are not shared.
What happens before the test
- Unfortunately(or fortunately), you cannot bring children or other family members with you to the centre
- You will be required to keep all your belongings (including, mobile phone, handbag and coats) in a locker.
- You will then be taken to a room where your ID is checked. A little bit overwhelming but since you are into it so better play it along)
- You must bring the same ID that you used to book the test (very important!). Your photo will also be taken on the day to confirm your ID.
- You will not be able to take the test and you will not get a refund if you do not bring the correct ID or if you refuse to have your photo taken.
- Now you are all ready. You will then be taken to the test room.
During the test
- There might be other candidates giving tests as well.
- Tests given to each candidate are different so there is no chance for any unfair practice.
- When the tests start, you will be given a few practice questions (don’t worry if you get them wrong, they will not affect your final scores). These questions are given to make sure that you understand the procedure and get familiar with the testing software.
If you pass the test
- You must score 75% or more to pass the test.
- This means you must get 18 or more answers correct out of 24 questions.
- You will be given a ‘reference number’ and a Pass Certificate.
- This number will be needed to complete your citizenship or settlement application.
- The Home Office will check through this reference number that you’ve passed.
- Try not to lose the certificate. (Please don’t laminate it as Home Office people do not accept the laminated documents.
If you fail the test
- Unfortunately, you need to wait at least 7 days before taking the test again.
- You can take the test as many times as you need to.
- Although you will need to book the test and pay again each time.
- And if you still haven’t purchased my app yet, this would be the best time to do it.