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.
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:
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.
You have 45 minutes to complete the test.
You need to correctly answer 18 of the 24 questions (75%) to pass.
It costs £50 to take the 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.
For information on what to bring to the test centre, suitable identification, refunds, results, retakes and much more, go to this website.
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:
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?
The correct answer is St. Andrew. You just have to choose this one answer.
The test gives you a statement, and you have to say whether it is true or false.
The Magna Carta was signed in 1215.
The answer is True because it was signed in 1215.
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?
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.
This question involves reading two statements and choosing which one is correct.
The correct answer is Buckingham Palace is in London. Balmoral Castle is in Aberdeenshire near the village of Crathie.
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.
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?
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?
This means to have a connection to something or someone.
St Dwynwen’s Day celebrations are associated with which object?
A large formal meal for many people.
Which of the following items of clothing should you not wear to a royal banquet?
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.
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 bronze?
to organise activities to achieve a goal.
What did the Chartists campaign for?
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?
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…
Which charity helps people who don’t have enough money to heat their homes?
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?
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?
To subtract something from something.
What system automatically deducts tax from a person’s wages?
A person who has an important role in society, such as an ambassador.
The King’s responsibilities include welcoming foreign dignitaries.
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.
This means built.
For what reason was the Crystal Palace originally erected in 1851?
Is a performance arts festival in Scotland.
In which of the following cities is the Fringe festival held?
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?
Historically important traditions, cultural features, buildings etc. passed down the generations.
Which of the following heritage sites is in London?
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?
A king or a queen.
The last serving monarch, Elizabeth II, died in which year?
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?
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?
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?
A basic idea or rule that decides how things work.
Which of these principles is not fundamental to British values?
A famous classical music event in the UK.
How long do the Proms last?
Small amounts of money that people argue about in court.
What is the maximum money limit for a small claims court case?
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?
A person who lives in a country with a king or queen.
Which people in the following territories are not British subjects?
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:
These resources have all the information that can possibly appear in the exam. If you know all this material, you should pass:
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.
You should prepare for your exam by taking as many practice tests as possible. Here are some great resources for practice tests:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Even though there are two types of SELTs, there are many different exams on offer from these four official providers in the UK:
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.