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How To Pass The Life In The UK Test: Essential Tips & Vocabulary

In this guide, we will help you to prepare for the Life in the UK Test and to make sure that your English level is good enough. We will look at FAQs, essential test vocabulary, question types and examples from the exam. You will also find useful links to free resources to maximise your score on exam day.

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The Life in the UK Test is not the only exam you need to take to apply for British citizenship – most people will also have to pass an English language test. Therefore, this guide also contains some information about the English level you need to apply for British citizenship and some of the exams on offer.

But first, let’s look at some answers to a few frequently asked questions:

Life in the UK Test: FAQs 

What is the Life in the UK Test?

The Life in the UK Test is an exam on British history, laws, values and culture that people need to pass in order to obtain British citizenship.

How long is the Life in the UK Test?

You have 45 minutes to complete the test.

What mark do I need to pass the Life in the UK Test?

You need to correctly answer 18 of the 24 questions (75%) to pass.

How much does it cost to take the Life in the UK Test?

It costs £50 to take the test.

Where can I take the Life in the UK Test?

You take the Life in the UK Test on a computer at one of the official UK test centres. You will receive a selection of five centres near where you live in the UK to choose from. You must choose only one of these tests centres.

What other information do I need?

For information on what to bring to the test centre, suitable identification, refunds, results, retakes and much more, go to this website.

Life in the UK Test: question types

The test has 24 multiple-choice questions. ‘Multiple-choice’ means that you select an answer(s) from a list of several possible options. There are four types of multiple-choice questions on the Life in the UK Test:

1. Select 1 answer from 4:

Select one correct answer from the four possible answers the test gives. This is the most common type of question.

Who is the patron saint of Scotland?

  1. St. George
  2. St. David
  3. St. Patrick
  4. St. Andrew

The correct answer is St. Andrew. You just have to choose this one answer.

These questions are not always positive – e.g.  The question could ask: Which country is not part of the UK? Make sure to check whether the question is positive or negative before answering.
2. True or false questions:

The test gives you a statement, and you have to say whether it is true or false.

The Magna Carta was signed in 1215.

  1. True
  2. False

The answer is True because it was signed in 1215. 

3. Select 2 answers from 4:

The test gives you a list of answers, and you select the two that apply.

Which of the following countries are part of the UK?

  1. The Republic of Ireland
  2. England
  3. Wales
  4. The Channel Islands

The answers are England and Wales. The Republic of Ireland is a separate country that is not part of the UK. The Channel Islands are related to the UK, but they are separate territories call British Crown Dependencies.  

4. Choose the correct statement:

This question involves reading two statements and choosing which one is correct.

  1. Buckingham Palace is in London.
  2. Balmoral Castle is in Edinburgh.

The correct answer is Buckingham Palace is in London. Balmoral Castle is in Aberdeenshire near the village of Crathie.

Essential test vocabulary

As well as knowing the types of questions, it is important to be able to recognise the words and phrasing that appear in them so that you understand the questions clearly. This test vocabulary can be quite advanced. Here is a list of words that often appear in the test questions / answers with definitions and examples to get you started.

1. Appeal:

In the test, this will usually refer to its legal meaning, which is to ask a higher authority to support or go against the decision of another authority.

How long do you have to
appeal a Crown Court decision?

2. Appoint:

to choose someone for a job or responsibility.

In 1999, it was no longer possible to
appoint peers in the House of Lords for which reason?

3. Associated:

This means to have a connection to something or someone.

St Dwynwen’s Day celebrations are
associated with which object?

4. Banquet:

A large formal meal for many people.

Which of the following items of clothing should you not wear to a royal banquet?

5. Bill of rights:

This is a 1688 document that gives rights to subjects and decides how monarchs obtain power. It has been changed many times and still exists today.

The “
Bill of Rights” was written to confirm parliament’s increased power.

6. Bronze:

A metal made from two other metals (an alloy). It is mostly copper with some tin. You may be asked questions about the Bronze Age – a period of history from 3330 BC–1200 BC when people used a lot of this material to build.

When did people learn how to make

7. Campaign:

to organise activities to achieve a goal.

What did the Chartists
campaign for?

8. Capital:

A capital is a city that is the political and economic centre of a country – e.g. Paris in France.

What is the
capital of Scotland?
Ceremonial role: A part that someone plays in an activity but has no effect on its results.
What is the monarch’s ceremonial role?

9. Charity:

This is an organisation that helps and/or gives money to people that need it, such as people who have no food or housing. Here are some charity examples: Age UK, NSPCC, MacMillan Cancer Fund…

charity helps people who don’t have enough money to heat their homes?

Need to pass your Life in the UK Test fast? Request a free consultation today to see how our online tutoring can improve your English and help you pass your exam first time.
10. Court:

A place where trials happen, and it is decided whether people are innocent or guilty of a crime or offence. Make sure you research the differences between the Supreme Court, the Crown Court, a Magistrate’s court and others.

In which court is the highest level of appeal?

11. Cross:

A symbol that is made of a vertical and horizontal line (+) that go across each other, like the symbol of Christianity.

Which UK flag has a red cross on a white background?

12. Deduct:

To subtract something from something.

What system automatically deducts tax from a person’s wages?

13. Dignitary:

A person who has an important role in society, such as an ambassador.

The King’s responsibilities include welcoming foreign dignitaries.

14. Equity:

In the test, its usual meaning is the fair and just treatment of people. You may also see the words fairness or justice, which mean the same.

Britain is a society based on equity and the rule of law.

15. Erected:

This means built.

For what reason was the Crystal Palace originally erected in 1851?

16. The Fringe:

Is a performance arts festival in Scotland.

In which of the following cities is the Fringe festival held?

17. Glastonbury:

This is a small town that shares the same name as the music and arts festival that happens there.

What is the name of the main performance area at Glastonbury festival?

18. Heritage:

Historically important traditions, cultural features, buildings etc. passed down the generations.

Which of the following heritage sites is in London?

19. Landmark:

A building or place that many people recognise, such as Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.

Which of these landmarks is in Scotland?

Lent: A 40-day period before Easter that some people observe for religious reasons and may involve avoiding certain food and drinks.

What holiday does lent come before?

20. Monarch:

A king or a queen.

The last serving monarch, Elizabeth II, died in which year?

21. Medal:

A small, round piece of metal that people receive as a prize for an outstanding achievement (Olympic Games winner, war hero etc.).

Who was the first Briton to win a gold medal in the 100 metres at the Olympics?

22. National Trust:

This is an organisation that cares for historical buildings and areas of UK countryside.

The National Trust preserves Max Gate House, a property that belonged to which English writer?

23. Peers:

In terms of politics, a peer is someone with a high social position such as an earl, baron, duke or life peer.

Who appoints life peers?

24. Principle:

A basic idea or rule that decides how things work.

Which of these principles is not fundamental to British values?

25. The Proms:

A famous classical music event in the UK.

How long do the Proms last?

26. Small claims:

Small amounts of money that people argue about in court.

What is the maximum money limit for a small claims court case?

27. Speaker:

In politics, a speaker is a person who maintains order and decides how business is done.

Who is the current speaker of the House of Commons?

28. Subject:

A person who lives in a country with a king or queen.

Which people in the following territories are not British subjects?

29. Suspend:

To stop something or someone from being active temporarily or permanently.

What can the speaker of the House of Commons suspend a member of parliament for?

As you can see from the vocabulary, the Life in the UK Test questions are based on these subject areas:

  • British history and traditions
  • British values
  • British Politics and government
  • Royal family
  • British law and the legal system
  • Education, healthcare and social welfare
  • Employment rights
  • Housing and the environment
  • British cultural heritage and art
  • Immigration and the responsibilities of British citizens
  • Sport and leisure activities in the country

Study materials for the Life in the UK Test

Study materials for the Life in the UK Test

These resources have all the information that can possibly appear in the exam. If you know all this material, you should pass:

We forget about 80% of everything we read. So, when studying material from the above website and book, make sure to write notes and then test yourself on these notes. Make lists of dates to remember, put them on post-it notes and stick them around your room. Then ask yourself what the dates represent. You need to remember lots of facts and dates for this test!

You can reinforce what you read by listening to and watching some of these other useful resources:


When using these resources, make sure to choose episodes that have similar content to the Life in the United Kingdom Test Book. Again, take plenty of notes and organise them in a way that helps you remember the information.

  • In Our Time Podcast: a BBC Radio 4 podcast that focuses on many famous historical thinkers, figures and periods.
  • If you live in the UK, go to BBC iPlayer for a large selection of documentaries on history, politics and culture.
  • VC3 Productions has a few short animated documentaries about British history, such as this video.

Life in the UK practice test resources

Life in the UK practice test resources

You should prepare for your exam by taking as many practice tests as possible. Here are some great resources for practice tests:

  • You can buy the official practice book, but it does not contain every possible question in the database of 400 questions that test centres are using now.

There are many websites with practice tests. Here are a few good ones:


There are also a number of YouTube channels to do practice tests:

  • This channel (by Tom Bradford) has practice tests but also study videos and information about visas and Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), which is a popular path for people to obtain citizenship.

English language requirement for UK citizenship

English language requirement for UK citizenship

As we said at the beginning of the post, the Life in the UK Test is not the only exam you may have to take to obtain British citizenship. If you are not from an English-speaking country (or have not completed a university degree taught in English), then you may also need to provide evidence of your English language ability. 

Secure English Language Tests (SELTs)

The exams you need to take are called Secure English Language Tests (SELTs). The type of SELT you need to take depends on your route to citizenship. 

Two different routes:

If you want to study in the UK or work as a professional in industries such as healthcare and other skilled jobs, you need to take a test that assesses your reading, listening, writing and speaking skills. 

If you just want to prove your English level for citizenship or to stay in the country for an unlimited amount of time (a status known as Indefinite Leave to Remain [ILR] or settlement), then you only need to take a speaking and listening test that proves you have a B1 level in English.

What is B1?

The SELTs measure your English level using the Common European Framework of Language Reference (CEFR). This is guideline that lists language and skills you need to reach certain levels that begin at A1 (Elementary) to C2 (Proficient). B1 is Intermediate level, so this is what you need for the citizenship and ILR migration routes.

For the routes that involve study and jobs, the English level requirements and exams will be different. So, it is best to check what level you need and which exams to take with your employer or immigration advisor.

Which English exam should I take?

Which English exam should I take?

Even though there are two types of SELTs, there are many different exams on offer from these four official providers in the UK:

  • Trinity College London
  • IELTS SELT Consortium
  • LanguageCert
  • Pearson

Check out this government webpage for a full list of English exams and test centres near you. 

Want to improve your English to pass the Life in the UK Test? We’re here to help! Request your free consultation today to see how our 1-to-1 English coaching can help you build fluency, confidence and pass your test first time.

Click here to download this post via our mobile website!
Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

Written by Sam Savage
— ESL Tutor

Sam Savage is a TEFL-qualified English tutor and writer from England. After gaining his TEFL qualification, he started teaching English in Spain in 2009. During this time, he also worked as an editor/translator for art organisations and publications in Madrid. He later returned home and graduated from the University of Gloucestershire with a MA in Critical and Creative Writing. In his free time, he enjoys all things cultural, especially writing fiction. Sam is also a published author.

Written by Sam Savage
— ESL Tutor