69 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on 10 January 2009
This is the second study text that I bought - I mistakenly thought that the official text was available ONLY through the Home Office publication. In that belief, I bought both this text and a study guide with practice questions.
I found that the Study Guide and CD Rom by Henry Dillon (ISBN 095521596X; published by Red Squirrel) includes the full text from chapters 2 through 6 - the ones that are covered in the text - of this Home Office publication. In addition, the Henry Dillon book includes 10 practice tests in the book and a CD Rom that allows you to access online practice materials. I feel that the other book is much better value than this one.
It may seem like a minor point, but I also feel that the Henry Dillon book is also in a more convenient format. It's a smaller but thicker paperback compared to this Home Office publication, which is thin but A4 sized and harder to carry in your average handbag!
Overall, I don't feel that this Home Office publication is useful as a study guide and it doesn't offers much preparation for the test. Without sample questions, it is difficult to get a feel for how to treat the text - Should I memorize every fact? Do I need to know every date? The volume of information is actually quite large and the text fairly dense (every sentence is important), so without sample questions it could very easily become overwhelming.
175 of 195 people found the following review helpful
on 7 October 2007
The 'Life in the UK test' itself has audio. However, the Government has elected not to make available any official audio materials with this publication. That is is a real pity.
This book is the only offical study material for the 'Life in the UK test' and it is only sensible to review it in that context.
From April 2007 most categories of migrants to the UK will have to pass the 'Life in the UK' test if they want Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or a UK Passport. For those seeking Indefinite Leave to Remain the requirement has, unusually for UK law, been applied retrospectively so that, for example, a spouse entering the UK as far back as November 2005 and applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain in October 2007 is still required to have passed the test even though that was not a part of the process on initial entry to the UK. In all other areas this would be called 'changing the goal-posts'.
Questions for the 'Life in the UK test' are taken from Chapters 2 through to 6. If English is your first language you are likely to be able to read this title and go on to pass the test. If English is your second language then it is probably worth getting someone whose first language is English to study with and signing up for one of the online question services.
Written by the Home Office Life in the UK Advisory Group, the people who set the citizenship test, the book is, sadly, exactly what you might expect from this sort of committee. While it might be argued that the book contains lots of useful material about accessing help, unemployment and employment rights if you find yourself in those kinds of positions there are a great many better more user-friendly sources of advice and real help.
I firmly believe that many UK citizens would not be able to answer questions taken from this title. For example, I doubt if that many UK pasport holders know what year women first gained the right to vote or own property. The choice of language, while typical of government material, is very dry and not accessible even to those with very good English. I am afraid to say this book is very dull.
In research conducted on Facebook, press released 13 Jan 08, of 11,118 British people who sat a sample test based on the home office citizenship test only 1,585, or 14 per cent, achieved a pass score. Albeit that these people didn't study for the test but this reinforces the disconnection between the content of the title and the knowledge of Britizh citizens.
The Gunning Fog Index is a recognised measure of readability. The randomly chosen left hand column of Page 39 of the Life in UK publication comes out at a Gunning Fog Index of 11.33 using the free Wikipedia calculator, excluding the tables. Typical Fog Index Scores for other publications are: TV guides (6), The Bible (6), Mark Twain (6), Reader's Digest (8), Most popular novels (8-10), Time (10), Newsweek (10), Wall Street Journal (11), The Times (14), The Guardian (14), Academic Papers (15-20). Draw your own conclusions about how accessible the offical guidance has been made to those whose first language isn't English. Why is that?
If the government was serious about encouraging immigrants to learn about the UK they would have employed journalists from the Sun or the Mirror to write interesting useful relevant material. It is not an accident that these newspapers are written expertly to a reading age of about 8 years. According to the Audit Commission 75 per cent of UK residents have a reading age of between eight and eleven years and will be able to understand text containing short sentences with few words of three or more syllables.
Parts of the material are now out of date. For example the age at which you can buy cigarettes has now been raised from 16 to 18. Furthermore, the Northern Ireland Assembly is no longer suspended.
Finally, the title makes no mention of the other way that those seeking Indefinite Leave to Remain can meet the English Language Requirement. That is by reaching a minimum of ESOL Entry Level 1 in 'Speaking and Listening' (certificate required) and producing a letter from their place of study reporting 'progress' and stating that the course includes 'citizenship materials'.
Regrettably the ill conceived 'Life in the UK test' looks here to stay for the moment. Therefore, do buy this title because otherwise you won't have a clue what you are likely to be tested on. Good luck with the test (currently £50) - you can take it as many times as you have to.
There are many study guides on the market but personally I like this new one The Life in the UK Test Handbook: for tests from July 2011
And for a Kindle edition: The Life in the UK Test Handbook: for tests from July 2011
51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on 21 May 2007
If you read chapters 2 to 6 and remember the details you will pass the citizenship test with no problems. No other books needed. All questions are taken from this book. Good luck!
54 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on 21 May 2007
Typical thoughts that went through my head as I thought about having to take a test that could ultimately have me deported if I couldn't pass...Oh my God how am I going to pass this when I am so nervous? What if I can't pass it? I can't spend all that money to retake it over and over again. (In my head I was thinking I would have to take it A LOT.) Of course, I am slightly neurotic and I worried I would never get to see my husband again because I would be deported as I wouldn't be able to pass the test or get extended stay so I could pass the test. Then I came to my senses and start looking for all the help I could find.
I have to say this book is a life saver for me and the only book you will need. Almost all the anxiety and worrying thoughts disappeared. I took the questions from the subsections in each chapter and created my own study guide with answers. I studied this the night before the test and refreshed what I knew in a study session before the test with my husband. Also this book contains very useful information and websites that is helpful to you throughout your life in the UK.
Last week, I took my test. I was nervous before about passing, but I felt prepared. If it wasn't for this book, I wouldn't have passed my test. However, the test was not as difficult as I thought it would be and I completed it within minutes. There were questions I wouldn't have known if I didn't have the book unless I spent considerable time going over every aspect of government and life in general.
I recommend doing a study guide for people who are really nervous or have difficulty remembering information or learning. Also I recommended reading all the chapters throughly except for Chapter 1 because there may be some information that will prove useful. ;) It is definitely worthwhile.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 23 July 2009
It's a thick book, but only materials in chapters 2,3,4,5,6 are tested. Took me less than two days to go through these chapters as they are straight-forward.
TSO provides free test practice ([...]) so there's no need to pay for third party online tests. Answers to the questions refer back to specific pages in this book so you can always check if your answers are wrong.
Oh, I passed!
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 6 October 2007
This book certainly contains mistakes, both grammatical and factual, but it does actually collate some useful information about the UK. At times it does tie itself in knots as it tries to fit in what is clearly a politically motivated syllabus, as well as making some aspects of life in the UK unnecessarily complicated. For example, there is a section that attempts to explain the role of the Lord Chancellor in the context of the situation as it was at the beginning of 2007. A much clearer explanation would have been possible simply by explaining the intention of the changes and the new role of the Minister of Justice. The figures also get confusing: there are far too many to absorb, and many could have been omitted or summarised (for example, is it necessary to know that 0.2 million people or 0.4% of the population categorise themselves as "other asian" according to the 2001 census?). Recent changes in legislation are not included, so there are errors concerning maternity entitlement and the laws pertaining to smoking. The role of government is overemphasised, presumably as the book was written by the government, and the whole of the chapter 4 is dedicated to it. There are some good practical chapters, although certain parts dip in rather than explain fully: for example, expect to know that there are such things as class 2 and class 4 NICs, but not precisely what they are (for those that do not know, they are to do with taxation for the self-employed). So all in all a mixed bag. It is embarrassing that the government force people to learn some of this information; it is old fashioned history with dates, fact, figures and years but next to no historical background.
For those taking the Life in the UK test, note that the book contains no sample questions whatsoever. The book advises you to think carefully about buying complementary study guides, but you may find it more reassuring to buy a guide with some sample questions. It is probably best to buy this book in any case, as it is the official guide, and compared to the other costs associated with gaining residency or citizenship, it is very good value.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2011
A repetitious and unreadable book, rambling, poorly structured and with errors in spelling and punctuation, Life in the UK (2007) is a very bad book. Regrettably, as at today's date, people have to purchase this book to do a "Life in the UK" test (which test should be repealed).
To call this a "book" would be a compliment - it is written more like a manifesto.
On each page there is a mixture of:
- running socio-economic commentary which ranges from broad general statements on the "Sufragettes" and "Public houses" to very detailed information e.g. where the book mentions the fact of treatment being free from your GP but having to pay charges for medicines and e.g. where it mentions discounts being available for the aged 60 or over, disabled people, students, and people under 26 for travelling on trains and underground systems (and then goes on to say: "Ask at your local train station for details. Failure to buy a ticket may result in a penalty");
- statistics purportedly showing the ethnic mix of the UK;
- listed information e.g. on customs and traditions;
- random propaganda from the New Labour government on its flagship policies (e.g. "New Deal", "devolution");
- consumer advice just as easily available on the Citizens Advice Bureau website (e.g. the part dealing with noisy neighbours);
- weblinks and telephone numbers (some inaccurate) for many random organisations referred to in the text;
- abbreviations that are confusing and unofficial (e.g. do you know what "FPA" stands for?);
- idiosyncratic government-knows-best micro-management such as telling you that you should go to the GP's surgery "a few minutes before the appointment";
- outdated rules, figures and statistics; and
- legal advice and simple social advice.
With so much stuff to go through, the content is difficult to read and hard to memorise without having had a substantial number of years in a modern education system and been taught know-how/revision techniques and IT.
The book requires people to be lawyers, to be geographers, to be social scientists and to be IT students - before even being given the chance - and (ironically) discriminates against the old, the infirm, people with learning disabilities, people who are educationally disadvantaged, people who have never had the same IT and web-enabled education system which some people in the UK and other places that have introduced "naturalisation tests" take for granted, and discriminates against the poor who have every human right to work and have their contribution recognised in society. Every utterance here, every piece of social advice, is not necessary to be studied and tested.
Short-sighted, morally dubious, discriminating against people who are not privileged, and poorly contrived, the 53 pages of text in this 146 page waste of money and time should not be looked at without obtaining a magnifying glass and another study text.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 5 January 2012
The whole notion of this book is an appalling attempt to inform newcomers to UK what life is about here! It needs a radical overhaul both on the grounds that it is muddled and to eradicate the dreadful patronizing tone of much of it. I quote as an example. 'People who buy their own homes usually pay for it with a mortgage, a special loan from a bank or building society'. Does whoever compiled this book think that the average immigrant is THAT STUPID! It may come as a shock to the Home Office but buying a home with a mortgage loan occurs in most countries in the world! In other areas questions are asked which I, as a native Brit, am challenged to answer.
It is quite true that the only way to pass this test is to treat it with the contempt it deserves, learn it by rote until you pass your test and then put the whole nasty business quickly behind you. It will certainly do little to increase your knowledge of life here, which is learned through experience, not from a book!
Good luck to anyone unfortunate enough to have to pass the test in order to enable them to remain in this country!,
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 2 April 2009
If you are considering purchasing this book, then in all probability you will have no choice but to buy it. A negative review isn't going to make any difference.
The book does provide all the information you need to pass the Living in the UK test, but it doesn't make it easy for you. It's too big & difficult to handle. The typeface is far too small to read comfortably for any length of time. The writing style is also very dry & provides no incentive to keep reading.
Given that a large proportion taking the Living in the UK test will not be natural English speakers, a cynic might think that this is a deliberate ploy to make it as difficult as possible to pass the test.
Don't try to pass the test without this book. However poorly written it is, you have no choice but to buy it. So you may as well buy it here at less than the RRP.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 December 2012
amazing and well detailed book.
my wife sat the life in the UK test and passed first time.
There is alot to read so you do need to study for at least a month.
product arrived on time
product was well packaged.
would recommend to others.