It turns out Meghan Markle was right about the Home Office citizenship test

The Duke and Duchess of Essex both reportedly struggled to answer the Life in the UK test questions (Picture: Wire Image)

The UK life test may look like your average pub quiz – but instead of a bottle of wine, you receive citizenship if you pass it.

“Who built the Tower of London?” or “What did the Chartists campaign for?” with them.

Nearly 200,000 immigrants took the test in 2022 as part of their citizenship or settlement applications.

According to Home Office figures obtained by, more than a third of them failed to meet the minimum score of 75%.

The test is meant to prove that candidates have ‘sufficient knowledge’ of British life, but those who have lived through it have described the questions asked as ‘irrelevant’ and ‘outdated’.

Hassan Akkad, the BAFTA- and Emmy-winning director and producer behind Netflix’s The Swimmers, arrived in the country as a refugee from Syria in 2015.

After completing the test a year ago, he told us that most questions do not prove the level of integration into daily British life.

Metro Graphic on life on the UK citizenship test

Almost one in three people have failed the test this year alone (Picture:

“I’m all for testing people who want to live in the UK,” he stressed.

“The language test is essential – everyone who wishes to obtain citizenship must be able to speak English. Otherwise, they will have no voice in this society.

“But the Life in the UK test should test everyday things, like how to file taxes, or how to register to vote, or how to register your car.

“I don’t really like historical questions, wondering how many wives Henry VIII had.

“How will this prove the level of integration into everyday British life?”

The test itself costs £50 and cannot be done in person, requiring all test takers to also pay for transport to one of 30 centers nationwide.

Hasan Akkad

Hassan Akkad is a BAFTA and Emmy director who passed the test a year ago

Like most people preparing for it, Hassan spent £7.99 on the official government book with sample questions and £10.99 on the app.

‘Did I learn anything useful? No. Literally nothing. Do I think the government gets a lot of money out of it? Yes, he said.

Frustrated with the citizenship process, Hassan asked 1,717 Britons to complete an example, and he says only 15 passed.

It seems the test is so tough that even Prince Harry, who is fifth in the line of Succession, is struggling to help his wife study for it.

Given that he is a member of the royal family and studied at Eton College, it is difficult to imagine that he did not answer all the answers.

“This citizenship test is so difficult. I was studying for this and I remember saying, ‘Oh my God,’ Meghan recently said on her podcast.

Five questions from the UK life test

Most readers failed historical questions (Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

“I would ask my husband, ‘Did you know that? Did you know that?” And he said, “I had no idea.”

As with Hassan, we asked readers who are British and grew up in the country to answer questions from the website.

Only a third made it through and all struggled with questions, like “Who appoints peers for life?” », « When did the first Christian communities appear in Great Britain? and ‘Who created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland?’

Dr Andi Hoxhaj, a lecturer in law at University College London, obtained his British citizenship in 2015.

As someone whose work focuses on rule of law, governance, civil society, EU engagement and European integration, he still spent three weeks studying for the test.

He recalled some of the issues even “highlighting the glorification of the British colonial era”.

Dr Andi Hoxhaj, a lecturer in law at University College London, obtained his British citizenship in 2015.

Dr Andi Hoxhaj, a lecturer in law at University College London, obtained his British citizenship in 2015.

“A lot of it was a bit old and unnecessary in terms of historical references,” the 34-year-old said.

“I remember one of them asking which king killed the most women. There were weird questions like that. Some that referred to government structures were helpful.

Andi said the test would make better use of focusing on human rights and freedoms, which may be different in the countries immigrants come from.

He said: “I felt the test should be more focused on the aspect of how important the rule of law, core values ​​and democratic principles are and how they are upheld in the UK. .”

“Some citizens come from countries where these values ​​are seriously compromised, and part of the reason they come to the UK and then decide to become British citizens is to be able to live freely in an open and democratic society which respects and upholds these values.

“So the test should put people to the test on these to make them more aware of how far the UK has come and to make them aware of some of the challenges that have helped push for the adoption of these values. fundamentals of human rights. ‘

Since English is not his first language like most people seeking citizenship, he got a few questions wrong because of the language.

Andi recalled that some words had double meanings, sometimes “misleading” him.

“If you’re not a native English speaker, it’s possible to misinterpret them,” he said.

The Home Office has confirmed its intention to set out the review process for the Life in the UK handbook in the first half of 2023 after contacted them about the passability rate.

A spokesperson said: “The Life in the UK test is important for anyone wishing to settle permanently in the UK to ensure that they understand the democratic principles that underpin British society and aspects of our culture and traditions.”

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