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Taking the Life in the UK Test

I took my Life in the UK test today and passed! The test honestly took 5 minutes and that included going back over a few questions I was unsure of and reviewing all my answers….and I only started studying about three days ago. This post will NOT tell you what questions will be on the test (it’s randomized anyway), but it could help you prepare for it.

For those of you unfamiliar with it, the Life in the UK test (LiUK) is the test everyone must pass before they can obtain permanent residency/citizenship. The test is in English, so if English isn’t your first language you will be certified as part of an English course. I have no idea if you get given the same test or not, but I’ll assume if you’re reading this that you speak English!

Before you can book a test, you will need to register on the Life in the UK test website. After you register, you will have the option of booking your test. You put in your postcode, and the site will tell you where the closest testing centre is. If you click on the centre you want to take your test at, it will take you to a calendar page and show you the available dates and times for that centre. If you don’t like the dates on offer, you can go back and pick a different centre. This is how I wound up taking my test at Nottingham since the Lincoln centre only does tests every other Friday.

The test costs £50, which you will need to pay when you book it. You also will need to enter details from your identification. It is very important that you bring that same piece of identification with you when you take the test. If your ID does not match exactly, you will automatically fail the test. The computer system allows three tries to match an ID before it locks someone out of taking the test. If you get disqualified from taking the test, you will not be refunded and you will need to re-book a test.

As far as studying goes, your best bet is to purchase the official guidebooks published by the UKBA. That book has everything you need to know in it (link to be posted later), including some additional information about Britain’s history, ILR, and citizenship. The important chapters are chapters 2-6. You can also purchase other guides, but make sure they contain chapters 2-6 of the official guide or you might not learn the correct information. The official books will be the most accurate and the most up-to-date, as the test is not updated annually. Purchasing a book that says it has been “updated for the 2011 census” will not help you since the test was last updated in 2007 or so.

If you do not want to purchase the books, you can borrow the official books from your local library. Now that I’ve passed my test, I can offer the first person to comment on this entry directly on my blog (http://blog.beccajanestclair.com) the copies of the book I used, which I received second hand from my friend Jessy after she passed her test last year. I have both the official Journey to Citizenship book and the practice question book. I also purchased a non-official study guide that has quizzes for each chapter I will pass along. I do not want any money for them, but I will only send them within the UK.

I also wound up downloading a non-official study guide for my Kindle, too. I found it much easier for me as I could read the Kindle version anytime and anywhere. There also are websites to help you and Tim and I even saw a computer program for it, so there are loads of options out there.

The practice tests I took really helped, even if I did blitz about 10 of them the night before. I even had 2 questions on my test nearly word-for-word out of one of the practice tests!

Taking the Test

The test is pass/fail, but you need to get at least 18 out of 24 questions right. The test will be a combination of multiple choice and true/false. There are no open-ended questions, and no room to add any comments.

Navigating the test is pretty easy. There will be a row of 24 boxes at the top for the questions. If you have selected an answer, the box will be coloured in (blue). If you have looked at the question but not answered it, the box will have a blue outline. A plain box indicates that you have not yet looked at the question or answered it. Opposite the boxes will be your timer. You have 45 minutes to take the test, and the test is set up to give you warnings at the halfway mark, 10 and 2 minutes remaining. The middle section is where the questions and answers are. The bottom left has buttons to move between the previous and next question, and the bottom right has the “finish test” button. DO NOT CLICK “FINISH TEST” UNTIL YOU ARE SURE YOU ARE DONE. If you accidentally click it, there will be a second screen asking you if you are sure, but if you exit the test you cannot get back into it and if you did not complete the test, you risk failing it.

You will not be allowed to have anything with you on the desk other than your ID, but you can ask for paper and a pencil. I was the only one who asked for it, but I found it helpful when I was asked a statistic question and I was able to write down all the numbers I could remember from the book. I also used my paper to keep track of which questions I wanted to make sure I went back and looked at again. I had four questions I wasn’t positive of the answer, but since you only need 18 correct to pass, I was confident when I walked out.

You are not allowed to talk or look at someone else’s computer while taking the test. Both will result in an automatic fail. The testing centre I was at allowed you to bring in personal items (handbags, phones, etc), but you had to turn OFF the phones and leave everything under your desk. We were told that if they even heard a phone vibrating while you were taking the test that you would be disqualified.

Like I said, you will have 45 minutes to complete your test in, but in my honest opinion, you only need at the most 20. Most of my friends who have taken it before me have said it took them 5-10 minutes. I was done in about 5, including double-checking my answers. The test is not a race though, so take as much of the 45 minutes that you need!

This may be specific to the testing centre in Nottingham only, but when I was done with my test, I was able to leave the room and join Tim in the waiting room by raising my hand. Tim and I talked about the test, and I talked with another person who had taken the test. We were then called in individually to get our score, but we were called in while people were still taking the test. I understand at some centres, you need to wait until everyone has finished before getting results. I was walking out the door well before the 45 minutes would have passed. Your result will not tell you how many questions you got right or wrong, only if you passed or failed. Your pass certificate will get stamped and signed, and you need to keep this safe as you cannot get a second copy. If you lose it, you will have to take the test all over again.

To those of you taking the test in the future, good luck!

[Please note that any information about the Life in the UK test or ILR and citizenship requirements are valid as of 10 November 2011. If you are reading this for advice in the future, please double check the information against the official UKBA website.]

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2 Comments so far

  1. Pia Holden March 18th, 2015 13:00

    Hi there!! I am so glad you blogged this! Do you still have the books you used fly the test?

  2. Rebecca April 29th, 2015 15:09

    No, I don’t. They re-structured the test about a year ago, so my books would be no good for it anyway 🙁

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