Life in the UK – I know it

I passed my Life in the UK test today after a stressful morning waiting for my taxi. I called and ordered one around 8:30 and requested a 9:00 pick-up time as the testing centre is only 5 minutes away. The UKBA website says to arrive at least 15 minutes before your test and they close the doors 5 minutes before test time. Once you’ve missed the test, you need to rebook and repay the fee. My test time was 9:30 and I got there at 9:25. They closed the doors behind me!

I had to get cash to pay the taxi so I left the flat at 8:50 and walked across the road to the cash machine and then waited outside my building. And then I waited. At 9:10 a taxi stopped at the building next to mine and I ran over thinking they had got the address wrong. Nope, not mine.When my taxi finally arrived I jumped in and we hit all red lights on the way there and further construction traffic that I didn’t know about.

When we arrived at the testing centre I gave the guy a tenner for my £3 fare but he didn’t have any change! I told him to just give me a fiver but he didn’t have that either. I told him to keep the £10 as 10 pounds is a lot less than a £50 booking fee. He protested that it was too much but I was halfway out the door by then. I was not going to miss this test!

After all that rushing, once I checked in and sat down at my computer we all had to wait for a supervisor to come over and check our documents. Now, I’ve been through airport security, in a American citizenship/visa center, employed by a big finance corporation, applied for a marriage license and I have never had someone look over my passport photo and compare it to me so meticulously. They study everyone for at least 7 seconds. That doesn’t sound like much, but when most places only give it a cursory glance it feels like a long time. They even asked the girl next to me to take off her glasses. After verifying the photo they verify your name, date and place of birth and address against a utility bill/bank statement/council tax bill. They also verify that you’re using the same ID that you used to register. Like, if you registered with your passport you need to bring your passport not driver’s license for ID on the day of the test. The supervisor is inputting this all into the computer for you so if your ID doesn’t match, they kick you out and you’re disqualified, free to rebook and get it right on the second try. That happened to two people who tried to argue their way out of it but it obviously didn’t work. The home office does not mess around. This is why I was freaking out about being late.

Once I finished the practice test and went on to the official test it only took me 2 minutes to finish. All that studying for nothing! Well not really. The test is deceptively simple. Some questions are super easy.

The 14th February is:

A Valentine’s Day

B Guy Fawke’s Night

C Hogmanay

D Halloween

Which statement is correct?

A The prime minister lives at Buckingham Palace

B The prime minister lives at 10 Downing Street.

Then you get the questions that reference statistics from the 2001 census that you’d probably only know if you memorized straight from the study guide.

The percentage of people in the UK who said they were Muslims is:

A 1.6% B 2.7% C 3.4%  D 4.2%

The number of children or young people in the UK is:

A 13 million B 14 million C 15 million D 16 million.

Obviously guessing is a possibility but I was raised in the AP world where multiple choice exams were designed to trick and deceive and I was not taking that chance.

Danny and I both took a practice test last night and passed only having missed 4 questions each. Of course he missed the history questions and I missed the statistics questions because I am horrible at remembering numbers (embarrassing admission – I’ve had my current phone number for over a year and do not yet have it memorized).

But I passed today and that’s what matters. Just to brag (because it’s been 4 years since I graduated college and sometimes I miss the good grades high) but I think I passed with 100%. They don’t reveal your score, but that’s what I’m going with and there’s no one to tell me otherwise!

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you for this blog! Seriously useful info.
    I have bookmarked this and i also am looking forward to reading new articles.
    Keep up the great job!


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