One of the most important pillars of British life is the Pub Quiz. It’s thus fitting that people who wish to become permanent residents or citizens of the United Kingdom are obliged to pass a tricky pub quiz before being allowed to settle here permanently.

If you’re interested in pitting your wits against the test, you can take the Official Practice Citizenship Test online. (Note the tragic irony of the misspelled page title while you’re there.)

But be warned. The pass mark is high, and the questions are tricky. Some of the questions are historical trivia irrelevant to life in the UK:

In which year did married women get the right to divorce their husband?

  • 1837
  • 1857
  • 1875
  • 1882

Some are barely-disguised government propaganda:

Adults who have been unemployed for six months are usually required to join New Deal if they wish to continue receiving benefit.

  • True
  • False

Others are specific to the point of absurdity:

The number of children and young people up to the age of 19 in the UK is

  • 13 million
  • 14 million
  • 15 million
  • 16 million

But what’s really amusing is the recent activity on Twitter. Lots of British citizens have been taking the practice test.

A few passed. Most failed.

It turns out that almost no one who is already British would be allowed to become British. The test doesn’t appear to intersect either with what British people think their country is, nor with what they think that prospective citizens ought to know. So, what is the point of this test? Rote memorisation skills?

The idea of requiring potential permanent residents and citizens to know about the country may not be unreasonable of itself, though it has more than a whiff of populist pandering about it. However, the way that the Citizenship Test has been implemented deserves our ridicule and contempt.

I also posted a problem on Get Satisfaction.