An American passing the Life in the UK test

Despite what my friends may tell you, I am actually fairly smart. So rather than leaving it until the last minute to study for the Life in the UK Test (really – how hard could it be?) I decided to devote this weekend to studying. The test is on Wednesday. Let’s just say that I won’t be going out much this weekend after cracking open the books.

“Independent schools are private schools. They are not run by the state. Independent schools are also sometimes called public schools.” Um, right. The UK may be slightly more bizarre than I initially thought – here I am worried that I’m living abroad but not learning a second language.

I also love the disclaimers all over the test material to the effect of “most of this material is wrong since it was published in 2006 but you must learn this old material for the test, even though new laws have changed it.” So in essence, shame on you for watching the news and paying attention to current affairs. Do so at your own detriment!

Current other favourites (notice that extra U? I am British and could fool anyone.) include:

  • Until 1857 married women could not divorce their husbands
  • Women are 51% of the population, 45% of work force
  • Total UK population: 60 million. 50M in England, 5M in Scotland, 3M in Wales, 2M in Northern Ireland
  • Kids take standardised testing at 7, 11 and 14. Except in Wales where it’s only at 14. The GCSE is taken at 16. Except Scotland where it’s called the SQA. AS levels are taken at 17 or 18. 6 AS levels needed for AGCE, which are typical route into higher ed. 1/3 of young people go onto higher education courses
  • Up to 2 million kids work. No hard labour. No delivering milk.
  • St David’s Day (Wales) is March 1; St Patrick’s Day (Northern Ireland) is March 17; St George’s Day (England) is April 23; St Andrew’s Day (Scotland) is Nov 30
  • Queen Elisabeth II coronated in 1952
  • Euopean Parliament elected every 5 years. UK has 78 seats.
  • Parliament itself (at Westminster) has 646 constituencies

Oh boy, this is going to be fun. Stay tuned..

Update February 16, 2011 – whee, we both passed the test! Out of the 24 multiple choice questions, you must get 18 questions right. They do not tell you how many you get right or wrong, so at the end of the test all you know is whether you passed or not. Big sigh of relief.

And just so people aren’t feeling too confident themselves, feel free to take a free online test to see how you’d score. Try out the Life in the UK Test sample – good luck!