7 top tips from people who have passed the Life in the UK test

We surveyed over a thousand people who have passed the Life in the UK test and asked them for their tips and advice. Find out seven tips from them to help you pass your test.

Fear of the unknown is something that is faced by everyone, particularly during exams. One way of calming those examination jitters is to have a clear idea of what will be expected of you during the exam; and what better way for you to conquer that fear than to get advice from people who have already taken the test and passed?

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1. The practice tests are more difficult than the actual test

“The actual test was a lot easier than the practice tests. This was good as I felt more prepared for the exam. I almost wanted harder questions to justify all my effort in studying! Guess you will never know the questions you might get in the actual exam.”

A lot of people who have already passed the test say that the practice questions were more difficult than the questions they have encountered in the actual test.

The practice questions are designed to help candidates become well-equipped in answering the actual exam questions.

Since the practice test’s degree of difficulty is higher than that of the actual test, if you do well in the practice test your performance in the actual test will also be excellent. It is therefore wise to answer the practice questions seriously prior to taking the actual exam.

Getting good scores in the practice tests will greatly boost your confidence because you know that you will sit the exam fully prepared.


2. Some questions require more than one correct answer

“I was expecting to find one specific answer for each question but there were questions that seemed to have more than one correct choice.”

You may find yourself faced with a question which requires you to give two or more correct choices. This is a modified multiple choice question wherein you need to select all the answers that apply to the question given. Sometimes you may also be given the option ‘All of the above’ - you should only choose this option if you are sure that the other three options are correct.

We highly advise you to read the questions carefully and determine first what kind of response is required by the question before deciding on an answer.


3. Take time in answering the questions

“One question about the National Housing Association confused me a bit; but after a thorough analysis of the question I remembered reading about it in your book and found the right answer.” 

Since the questions in the exam are phrased differently from the study guide and the practice questions, the answers may not be immediately clear to you.

Remember that whenever you encounter difficult questions, all potential topics have been covered in the study guide and the practice tests. If you have studied the material properly you only need to take your time in analysing the question to make sure you know what it is asking, so you can give the correct answer.

Read the questions carefully before selecting an answer. After all, you will be given 45 minutes to finish only 24 items. Do not rush your way through the exam and make the most out of the time you are given.


4. Each candidate has a unique set of questions

“I was surprised that we weren’t given the same questions. Each candidate has different questions on their computer. I discovered this when I compared questions with other candidates after the exam.” 

Your exam will include questions drawn from a database containing hundreds of questions. The computer assigned to you randomly selects 24 questions that will form your test.

With such a huge number of questions stored in the computer, the odds of you and the person next you being given the same questions are very slim. This is one way of preventing cheating and protecting the integrity of the exam.


5. You don’t need to get all the questions right to pass the exam

“Do we need to have 24 correct answers to pass the exam? If my memory serves me right, I was only stuck on two questions.”

It would be wonderful to get all the answers in the exam correct, but you don’t have to get a perfect score to pass the exam.

The pass rate for the exam is 75%. This means that you need to get at least 18 correct answers out of 24 questions. Committing 7 or more mistakes in the exam would automatically result to a failing mark. If there are a couple of questions that you aren’t sure about, but you are confident of you answers for the rest, then do not panic! It is likely that a small proportion of people pass with a score of 100%


6. Check your English vocabulary

“I didn’t understand all of the terms and names used in my exam which made it difficult to answer some of the questions.” 

There may be some questions which require a deeper knowledge of the English vocabulary so make sure you read and research some words that may seem unfamiliar to you. The study materials include a Glossary at the end to help you with some of these. Your questions may use unusual words such as allegiance (loyalty to something) or historical terms such as Fenians (19th century Irish nationalists).

Whilst you are expected to have demonstrate your knowledge of the English language as well as taking the Life in the UK test, you should think of the test as part of the English language requirement. If you are not confident reading and answering the questions you will not pass your test. You will not be able to take the test in another language.

We suggest that you test your vocabulary by checking you understand all words in the glossary. Also, we recommend that when you read the book and the practice questions, refer to an English dictionary if you come across a word that you don’t know the meaning of. This will not only help you to pass the exam, but it will also prove useful in your life in Britain.


7. The study guide and the practice tests work hand in hand to help you pass

“There were a few questions about maternity and the parliament which might have been in the study guide. Unfortunately I didn’t read the whole book - I just did the practice tests online so I was a bit surprised to encounter those questions in the actual exam.” 

The study guide and the practice tests are two essential tools to help you pass the exam. However, using only one of the two tools will not equip you to take the test with confidence.

The study guide contains the official study materials and must be read in its entirety as it covers all the topics that may come up in the exam. The exam will be based on chapters 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. All of these chapters have been reproduced from the government’s official textbook Life in the UK: A guide for new residents.

Once you have read and understood the study materials, the practice tests are meant to give you a feel of what the actual test will be like.

Before deciding on your test date, make sure that you have read and understood all the topics in the study guide. You may be tested on specific facts or dates, so it is important that you learn the information, instead of just being aware that it is there. Try to do all the practice tests provided for you in the books to ensure your success in the actual exam.

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