Britain has instituted its first citizenship test (it's very different than America's)





Our test is about American history and American symbols and how our government works. Questions range from "What are the colors of the flag?" to asking for a quick definition of the Constitution.

The British test is very different. It is based on a government-issued 125-page booklet called "Life in the U.K," and it costs the applicant $60 to take the test. There are 24 multiple-choice questions and the applicant must get three quarters of them correct. If he fails, the test can be taken over as many times as necessary. And only those who speak English can take the test. Those who don't have to take a "skills for life" course at a local college and prove to their tutor they have learned some English and understand the British way of life.

What are some of the questions on the British exam? Well, they have a lot more to do with knowing how to behave in contemporary British society than they have to do with the great traditions of "this sceptered isle."

For example there is one that asks (and I am not kidding): "What should you do if you spill someone's pint in the pub?" The wrong answers are:
"Dry their wet shirt with your own." Or "Prepare for a fight in the car park" or "Run away from the pub." The right answer: "Offer to buy the person another pint." And, no, the test was not written by Monty Python. (By the way, my newly American husband got that right. There are some things you obviously never forget).

Here's another question that's sort of sweet but definitely strange:
"Where does Father Christmas come from?" It isn't "Lapland," one of the choices, but that's close. And no, "I don't believe in Father Christmas anymore" is not a possible answer.



comments powered by Disqus