Life in the UK test

Mon, 02/06/2017 - 12:51 Erika Baker


Life in the UK test - Brexit Residency Test

And there you have it – I know what carding is. And I know what Robert Arkwright was famous for. And I know who brought shampooing to Britain. And, believe it or not, I know that people usually eat turkey for Christmas.

No, these are not esoteric facts I came across during my research for English-German translation jobs, these are questions I had to answer for my Life in the UK test that is a requirement before foreigners can apply to have their Permanent Residency entitlement confirmed, or for citizenship.
What I never needed to know before, Brexit has made a necessity. A costly one, at that, but more about that in a future post.

24 questions, 45 minutes… it only really takes 3 or 4. A little longer if you have forgotten whether women in Britain are encouraged to stop working after they had a child.

Not all questions are as pointless as some of the above. There are some important ones about the political system, rights and responsibilities and historic facts and dates that aren’t entirely meaningless. Whether I really need to know in which decade in the 17th century the first Jewish settlement in Britain was identified (after the official expulsion of the Jews in 1290; thank you Wikipedia) is a moot point. To me, it comes under the heading of “facts I could Google which don’t make much sense without context”, but I suppose most school exams are a bit like that.

After having lived in Britain for longer than in Germany, I am now officially certified as learned enough to stay.

Next step, a language test. Yes, that’s right. The Home Office has a very strict list of qualification providers and qualifications it recognises, and the Chartered Institute of Linguists and its post-graduate Diploma in Translation are not on that list. After 27 years of working as a professional English-German translator, I shall soon wend my way across the country to London to spend 10 minutes proving that I understand what people say to me and that I can respond appropriately.

And the Life in the UK test? A fantastic source of questions for pub quizzes!