Life in the UK Test and a question about Pass/Fail Notification Letter

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Life in the UK Test and a question about Pass/Fail Notification Letter


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Old 9th April 2014, 06:06 PM
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Default Life in the UK Test and a question about Pass/Fail Notification Letter

I don't know if this will be useful to anyone but I thought I would give my impressions of the Life in the UK Test, which I took recently. I used the on-line version of the Life in the UK book and that's the only thing I used to prepare for my exam. I read the book once, slowly, trying to remember as many things as possible. It took 4 days to read the book, about 4 hours of reading every day. I highlighted the things I wanted to revise but in the end only managed to revise the first third of the book. However, my degree is in English language and although I passed it a long time ago, I still remembered basic things about British history. Someone who has studied something like engineering or comes from a non-European country or a non-English speaking country will probably need about 2-3 weeks to prepare for the test. I also found that if you take the test having lived in the UK for over a year, it will be easier to pass it with less preparation, because some of the questions actually do tend to become obvious after you have lived in the country for a while.

I arrived at the centre about 20 minutes before the test started, which was fine. One person arrived 10 minutes before the test started and that was also OK. I'm not sure how many people took the test, but there may have been 7-8 people.

After you arrive, they ask you to find your name on the list of people who are taking the test in that session and then take you to the room where they check your details. I was asked for my passport and the proof of address. I used my recent bank statement (received by post, not signed) and there were no problems. Then you get asked for your name, citizenship, date of birth etc. I was asked all these questions 2-3 times. At the end of it, you are asked to check if you can read the font size on the screen. The font was quite big (size 12-14) but I assume if you can't see it very well, they'll increase it for you.

After that you go to the waiting room and everyone gets taken to the same room for presumably the same procedure. You are asked to leave everything (bags, mobile phones, coats, EVERYTHING except for your passport/ID) in the locker room of the waiting room. Women wearing scarves/wails are taken to a separate room and asked to remove them.

After the details have been taken from all the applicants, you get taken to the room where the testing is going to take place. The test is done on a computer. You get told how to go through the test and basically it looks very similar to free on-line tests which you can take on the internet. The only difference is that the "next question" button is located on the bottom left hand side of the screen and the "Finish" button is located on the bottom right hand side of the screen so you have to be careful not to press the "Finish" button by mistake. If that happens, you cannot restart the test again. Two different people check your passports/IDs again.

Before the test starts, they check once again that you have not brought anything into the room. They check you have no devices in your ears, ask you to lift your hair etc. The computers on which you are doing the tests also have headphones, which I haven't used, but if you like, you can use the headphones and you will be able to hear the questions through the headset.

Now, more about the actual test:

Before the official test starts, you can have a go at the practice test to familiarise yourself with how the test works. The practice test has 4 questions and when you finish it, it tells you how many questions you got right.

After this, you move onto the real test. There are two ways in which you can move through the questions, either by using the "Next" button in the bottom left hand side of the screen, or by clicking on the squares at the top of the screen which lets
you see any questions you like, without having to go through them in any particular order. Once you start the test, these squares are always present on your screen.

You can give an answer to the question and change it later if you like. The questions which you have not answered are marked with an empty square, the questions which you have answered are marked with a dark blue square and the questions which you have looked at but not answered are marked with an empty square with the dark blue border. I thought this was a very good idea as you could answer the questions you know but leave the questions you weren't sure about for the end of your test.

The questions themselves I found fairly easy, about the same level as the free on-line practice tests. From what I can remember, there was a question about the date of St. Patrick's day and there were only 3-4 questions with dates or numbers. There was a question asking what the Enlightenment was and which battle was fought in 1066. There was also a question stating something along the lines of "James I, when he became the King of England was already a king of another country, what country was that. The answers offered were Spain, Scotland, Northern Ireland and France. There was also a question asking who was the leader of English Republic and a question asking which flower did Wordsworth write his poem about (as far as I remember, offered answered were the four national flowers of the countries in the UK). Another question asked about the name in the Second World War and the name of the battle (Battle of Britain). Questions are randomised for all people sitting the test and the tests all contain different questions for everybody. It took about 5 minutes to answer all the questions. You cannot ask the supervisors any questions about the actual questions in the test. Supervisors of the test refuse to help you and tell you that you have to do the test completely on your own, so if you don't understand the question, you are on your own.

Once you answer the questions and click to "Finish" your test, you can go to the waiting room and you get your results only after everyone has finished their tests. You don't get to see if you answered anything wrongly or how many questions you answered correctly, you only receive a Pass or Fail notification letter with your details.

I hope this helps, if you have any questions, please ask and I'll try and answer them. Please however, do try and ask soon, while I still remember the procedure and some of the test.






Now, for the question I have about the Pass/Fail notification letter:

All that being said, I have a question for preferably Joppa or anyone with a similar experience. My country changed its name a few years ago and my passport is in the current country's name. My Pass Notification Letter, however, has the old name of the country, even though I was asked and gave the current country name multiple times. I did not see this until I walked out of the test centre so I cannot complain about it now. Will this present a problem? Would I need to retake the test and ask for the correct name of the country to be on the Pass Notification Letter? The Pass Notification Letter contains my name, town and date of birth, but the information about my Present Nationality is wrong (well, it uses the old name of the country) and the Notification does not contain the ID of my passport.
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Old 9th April 2014, 06:18 PM
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Don't think so, provided it has your correct name.
Also don't lose your pass notification letter. It won't be replaced and you have to resit. And don't book a PEO appointment for at least 48 hours after the test, as the result isn't loaded on the system until then.
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Old 9th April 2014, 06:25 PM
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Thank you very much! I'll try and ring the help line tomorrow to check (I tried already but no one seems to be answering it, so I'll try in the morning) but really do hope it won't present a problem

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Old 9th April 2014, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashkevron View Post
I don't know if this will be useful to anyone but I thought I would give my impressions of the Life in the UK Test, which I took recently. I used the on-line version of the Life in the UK book and that's the only thing I used to prepare for my exam. I read the book once, slowly, trying to remember as many things as possible. It took 4 days to read the book, about 4 hours of reading every day. I highlighted the things I wanted to revise but in the end only managed to revise the first third of the book. However, my degree is in English language and although I passed it a long time ago, I still remembered basic things about British history. Someone who has studied something like engineering or comes from a non-European country or a non-English speaking country will probably need about 2-3 weeks to prepare for the test. I also found that if you take the test having lived in the UK for over a year, it will be easier to pass it with less preparation, because some of the questions actually do tend to become obvious after you have lived in the country for a while.

I arrived at the centre about 20 minutes before the test started, which was fine. One person arrived 10 minutes before the test started and that was also OK. I'm not sure how many people took the test, but there may have been 7-8 people.

After you arrive, they ask you to find your name on the list of people who are taking the test in that session and then take you to the room where they check your details. I was asked for my passport and the proof of address. I used my recent bank statement (received by post, not signed) and there were no problems. Then you get asked for your name, citizenship, date of birth etc. I was asked all these questions 2-3 times. At the end of it, you are asked to check if you can read the font size on the screen. The font was quite big (size 12-14) but I assume if you can't see it very well, they'll increase it for you.

After that you go to the waiting room and everyone gets taken to the same room for presumably the same procedure. You are asked to leave everything (bags, mobile phones, coats, EVERYTHING except for your passport/ID) in the locker room of the waiting room. Women wearing scarves/wails are taken to a separate room and asked to remove them.

After the details have been taken from all the applicants, you get taken to the room where the testing is going to take place. The test is done on a computer. You get told how to go through the test and basically it looks very similar to free on-line tests which you can take on the internet. The only difference is that the "next question" button is located on the bottom left hand side of the screen and the "Finish" button is located on the bottom right hand side of the screen so you have to be careful not to press the "Finish" button by mistake. If that happens, you cannot restart the test again. Two different people check your passports/IDs again.

Before the test starts, they check once again that you have not brought anything into the room. They check you have no devices in your ears, ask you to lift your hair etc. The computers on which you are doing the tests also have headphones, which I haven't used, but if you like, you can use the headphones and you will be able to hear the questions through the headset.

Now, more about the actual test:

Before the official test starts, you can have a go at the practice test to familiarise yourself with how the test works. The practice test has 4 questions and when you finish it, it tells you how many questions you got right.

After this, you move onto the real test. There are two ways in which you can move through the questions, either by using the "Next" button in the bottom left hand side of the screen, or by clicking on the squares at the top of the screen which lets
you see any questions you like, without having to go through them in any particular order. Once you start the test, these squares are always present on your screen.

You can give an answer to the question and change it later if you like. The questions which you have not answered are marked with an empty square, the questions which you have answered are marked with a dark blue square and the questions which you have looked at but not answered are marked with an empty square with the dark blue border. I thought this was a very good idea as you could answer the questions you know but leave the questions you weren't sure about for the end of your test.

The questions themselves I found fairly easy, about the same level as the free on-line practice tests. From what I can remember, there was a question about the date of St. Patrick's day and there were only 3-4 questions with dates or numbers. There was a question asking what the Enlightenment was and which battle was fought in 1066. There was also a question stating something along the lines of "James I, when he became the King of England was already a king of another country, what country was that. The answers offered were Spain, Scotland, Northern Ireland and France. There was also a question asking who was the leader of English Republic and a question asking which flower did Wordsworth write his poem about (as far as I remember, offered answered were the four national flowers of the countries in the UK). Another question asked about the name in the Second World War and the name of the battle (Battle of Britain). Questions are randomised for all people sitting the test and the tests all contain different questions for everybody. It took about 5 minutes to answer all the questions. You cannot ask the supervisors any questions about the actual questions in the test. Supervisors of the test refuse to help you and tell you that you have to do the test completely on your own, so if you don't understand the question, you are on your own.

Once you answer the questions and click to "Finish" your test, you can go to the waiting room and you get your results only after everyone has finished their tests. You don't get to see if you answered anything wrongly or how many questions you answered correctly, you only receive a Pass or Fail notification letter with your details.

I hope this helps, if you have any questions, please ask and I'll try and answer them. Please however, do try and ask soon, while I still remember the procedure and some of the test.






Now, for the question I have about the Pass/Fail notification letter:

All that being said, I have a question for preferably Joppa or anyone with a similar experience. My country changed its name a few years ago and my passport is in the current country's name. My Pass Notification Letter, however, has the old name of the country, even though I was asked and gave the current country name multiple times. I did not see this until I walked out of the test centre so I cannot complain about it now. Will this present a problem? Would I need to retake the test and ask for the correct name of the country to be on the Pass Notification Letter? The Pass Notification Letter contains my name, town and date of birth, but the information about my Present Nationality is wrong (well, it uses the old name of the country) and the Notification does not contain the ID of my passport.
Thank you so very much for a great post. I'm trying to study for my test now, so I can get it over with before they decide to change anything. I'm concerned about my terrible memory - I have issues that severely limit my recall, so I'm going to really crack down and concentrate on it and get it done soon.

I bought the book with the cd in the back for the practice questions, plus I've bookmarked the online practice page. I'm hopeful that it won't be as bad as I fear but it is only the luck of the draw as to what questions I'll get. Not TOO many dates, I hope!

Thanks again!

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Old 9th April 2014, 07:13 PM
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I had pretty much the same experience as the OP. I took my test after being here for about a year. I skimmed over the book and really focused on the question and answering. I too used the free online tests as well as an app on the iPad. I think I paid like a pound or two for the app. I studied for about a few weeks and I finished the test in less than 5 mins. Even though there were a lot of the present That I knew, I found the UK history to be very fascinating and loved learning about the history.
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Old 10th April 2014, 12:44 AM
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First-time pass rate for competent English speakers like US, Canadian and Australian citizens is something like 95% but this drops to nearer 50% for those whose English is additional language (EAL), like those from the Indian subcontinent. They may also struggle to pass English test at B1, both required for ILR.
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Old 10th April 2014, 04:31 AM
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I am not sure how good you need to be at B1 level, but I thought the Life in the UK book was a 'proper' book (similar to 'simplified' versions of classic novels) and required medium to advance level English to understand it properly, so probably someone with B1 level could struggle through it, but would find it difficult, as they'd have to wrestle with both understanding what is written and remembering it.

In my experience, 1/4 of the test was quite reasonable, sensible and consisted of general knowledge questions which I would expect anyone to know (questions like, which country did Hitler invade when the UK declared war on Germany). Half of the questions consisted of history and geography of the UK (for example, where is Loch Lomond located or what the Enlightenment was). People with native English or European ties would definitely have an advantage here as they could make an educated guess that "Loch" is a Scottish word for a lake and their own countries would have probably gone through the Enlightenment period around the same period. However, they would still need to study a bit, as I would not expect them to know the dates of patron saints and all the battles.

The last quarter of the questions I thought was a bit tricky and one or two questions were a bit unfair maybe. I knew the answer to the question about Wordsworth's Daffodils because I knew it from my university days and it is a very important poem, but I was certain it was not in the Life in the UK book. When I checked the book later on, I saw that a part of the actual poem is in the book, but the name of the poem and the poet (William Wordsworth, 1770-1850 The Daffodils) was given in the brackets underneath the poem along with a bunch of other poems and visually looked quite ... forgettable and unimportant. I also don't really feel that "daffodils" is a B1 level word.

All that being said, the statistics about the pass rate seem about right. I think that if the language is not the problem, the entire experience is quite pleasant and for native English speakers/people with European ties, it will feel more like a fun general knowledge quiz, whereas people like those from Indian subcontinent will find it more of a 'proper', full on exam that they have to properly prepare for. If they speak good English, I would still expect 3-4 weeks of studying to be enough, if however their English is more at B1 level, it may take up to two months.

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Old 10th April 2014, 12:56 PM
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OMG! They have questions about Wordsworth?? There is no way my husband is going to pass the test! I'm not sure many average British people would know the answers to all the questions.

What is the percentage pass mark?

Thanks

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Old 10th April 2014, 01:12 PM
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18 out of 24 questions correct or 75%.

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Old 10th April 2014, 01:16 PM
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Thanks Joppa.

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