Publisher Red Squirrel has seen demand for its study guides soar by 400% since the EU referendum was announced
Passport exam requires 75% pass mark – and there’s no ‘phone a friend…
Who was Kenneth MacAlpin? – a Danish king, an Anglo-Saxon king, a Scottish king or a Viking? Catherine Howard was the sixth wife of Henry VIII – true or false? Who wrote the poem She Walks in Beauty? – Sir John Betjeman, Sir Walter de la Mare, Elizabeth Browning or Lord Byron?
These are typical of the questions every applicant for a UK passport has to answer as part of the standard application process. And with a 75% pass rate required, it’s a tough ask. But would YOU or your friends be able to pass?
The test also contains some contemporary questions such as who is the UK prime minister and where does the queen live? But some believe the test has been made considerably harder in the last five years.
George Sandison is Managing Editor of Red Squirrel Publishing which publishes the study guides that help potential applicants prepare says the test:
“The current test is more fact based and includes some really tough questions. There’s a lot more history, kings and queens of England and famous historical figures from the arts and literature worlds for example. It also touches on Britain’s modern music culture including the Beatles and the Stones, although the Kinks, Bowie and the Britpop scene don’t get a mention.,” says George.
“It’s amazing how many blank faces I get when I try it out on mates in the pub. If the prize was a passport, a good number of them would be going home disappointed. I’m sure many people who were born in the UK would struggle to hit the 75% pass mark.”
Uncertainty about the UK’s future in Europe following the referendum announcement has caused a rush of applications for UK citizenship – and that has caused George a bit of a headache:
“The study guides have quite literally been flying off the shelves since the referendum date was announced. We’ve had an unprecedented spike in sales of 400% and are having to rush through a reprint of our 2016 edition to meet demand,” said George.
Everyone applying for a British passport has to take the Life in the UK Test
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“This has been caused in part by EU nationals concerned that their desire for UK residency will be dashed if Britain votes to leave the EU. So it’s a headache for us, but a good headache!”
The guides cover all of the topic areas that might come up in the Life in the UK test so are an invaluable aid to those seeking citizenship.
“Obtaining UK citizenship is a costly and time-consuming process and the announcement of the referendum date has definitely focused minds hence applicants are moving quickly in case Brexit wins the day.”
Everyone applying for UK citizenship has to pass the exam to get their application approved. And whilst it’s a tough assignment, the pass rate is typically well above 70%.
The process costs each applicant in excess of £1,500 including sitting the test, achieving a basic English language qualification plus the passport itself.
According to the Office of National Statistics, a British withdrawal from the EU would mean an uncertain future for up to 3 million EU nationals already living in the UK.
And it’s not just people trying to reach the UK. Figures just released from Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs showed an increase in the number of British born citizens with Irish roots applying for Irish passports to secure their ancestry – just in case Brexit fears become reality.