6 Tips on How to Pass your Life in the UK Test
Updated: Sep 9, 2020
I've been fearing this test for years - it's always been that thing looming in my future that I had tucked away in the deepest recesses of my mind because it always seemed to be a long way off. Unfortunately, it's one of those things that sneaks up on you. Not only that, but due to test centres being closed and then limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, I had a very narrow window in which I could book my test before the expiration date on my current visa. Basically, I had one chance to pass it.
The LITUK test is a 24 question multiple choice test, and you need to get 18/24 correct to pass. You can create an account and sign up to take the test on the Gov.uk website, where you can pick your local testing centre and the time of the test. It costs £50 each time you take it, or £60 if you're testing on a weekend.
1. Utilise the Reading Materials
I used the Life in the UK Test Study Guide religiously. The book was about £9 on Amazon, and it was a real life saver. It breaks down the test into 5 chapters that cover all of the possible questions on the test, and walks you through each of the sections step-by-step with super clear sub-headers and highlighted key information, and a quick comprehension check at the end of each chapter. Not only that, but includes 13 free practice tests in the back of the book to take once you've finished reading. It's quite a lot to get through, so I'd recommend starting early and continuing to refer back to it while studying.
2. Take Several Practice Tests
This is where I'm thankful I was such a nerd in high school and took so many advanced placement tests, because I am all about preparation when it comes to exams. In addition to the 13 test in the back of the LITUK study book (I took - and passed - every single one of them), I also took every one of the practice tests on the Life In The UK Test website. In fact, I actually started off taking about 4 or 5 of those tests even before I started studying the book, just to figure out what areas I was strong or weakest in, so that I could apply extra focus to those chapters. The tests are a great indicator of what the test will be like on the day, and while they don't have the exact same questions, they're pretty darn close (the content is essentially the same, but they may just be worded slightly differently). I did find that my test on the day felt quite a lot easier than some of the practice tests, so it's nice to think they over-prepare you.
3. Download the App
I'm someone who has a hard time sitting still when watching TV or eating breakfast, so in my downtime, I usually play brain games on my phone. You can imagine how thrilled I was, in that case, to discover that I could download a (free!) app with questions about the UK Citizenship test! The app is broken down into practice tests and flash cards - so you can get used to the material that's on the test in a way that feels a little bit more interactive and less stressful.
4. Get Used to the Question Formats
There were a few questions I missed when taking my practice tests because I wasn't paying enough attention - occasionally they'll ask for two examples instead of just one, and sometimes it'll say something like "Which country was not a member of the allied powers during the Second World War", and so you need to make sure you read every question carefully. They're not trying to catch you out, but you easily can be if you don't have knowledge of the way the test is structured. In a test where it's essentially a numbers game as to whether you pass or not, you don't want to make the mistake of not reading the questions properly.
5. Take Notes!
I'm a huge advocate for taking notes and probably go a bit overboard in preparing for anything - if you've seen the post about my Fiance visa process, you'll know what I mean. I personally find note-taking incredibly helpful for memory, so it was useful to me to write down the content from the LITUK reading in a way that made sense to me. I ended up with about 30 pages of notes, which seems overkill, but it definitely helped in the long run to feel so prepared and familiar with the content.
6. Take Your Time
There are a lot of sub-categories to this: take your time in studying, take your time when completing the test on the day. I only allowed myself a week to study, and while it worked for me, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it. The test is very dense in literature and the history of the UK, and I'm lucky in that I already had a base knowledge of the history from history classes I took back in school (AP Euro for all you Americans! If you know, you know), so I felt that the material was somewhat familiar rather than an entirely new subject. However, there's also a lot to learn on UK government and its various devolved administrations, and I felt a bit like I was drowning in random facts in the last 48 hours before my test. I'd recommend you take a month or so to study, as to not stress yourself out. In terms of the day of the test, they give you 45 minutes to complete the 24 questions, so you've got plenty of time to work on it. If you need that time, absolutely take it. You can also skip questions and come back to them if you're not sure of the answer.
As always, if you have any questions about Visas and immigration to the UK, please shoot them my way! Applying for visas and settlement can be a tricky process, and I'm always happy to help where I can.