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Sunday, 25 March 2012

Studying tips for Life in the UK test (ILR and Citizenship requirement)

Thank you Anna for adding the comment below on 31st of Jan, 2013:
"The UK government has released a new handbook, and a new test will be effective March 25, 2013. I think most of your good tips will still be relevant. For your readers, here is an article about the new test: New life in the UK test. It looks like this new test might be a bit harder. They sure don't make it easy to become British!"

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Having successfully passed my Life in the UK test, I thought I'd share my studying techniques with you.


Official Life in the UK book
It's definitely necessary to have and read the official book. Just be sure that you have the latest edition as there may be new information in the book. e.g. statistics from 2011 census(?). Although the book seemed somewhat comprehensive:
  • The first third of the book (grey pages) is just an interesting read you don't need to memorise. 
  • The second third of the book has all the information you need to know. It also has some good questions you should attempt to answer in detail as part of studying. 
  • The last third of the book was definitions which I simply skimmed through. 
The book itself was an interesting read to begin with, but dry to study from. I found the pages too shiny and reflections from the light slightly annoying! I also wished it had more diagrams/tables as I find I learn much better with these visual aids.


Audiobook CD
I listened to this once... boring as batsh*t, but I did pick up a few things I may have skimmed across when reading the actual book. The only benefit is that it was convenient to listen to when you're standing on the tube like sardines in a can during peak hours.


Life in the UK iPhone App
This was the most useful study tool out of the bunch! I tested both the official and unofficial apps in the appstore, but found some mistakes in unofficial ones. In the end, the official app was sufficient and used it in the following manner:
  • After reading a chapter in in the Life in the UK book, I would sit there and do the "Quick Practice" and complete multiple sets of questions (batches of 30 questions) to reinforce what I learnt. 
  • During the week leading up to the test, I would complete at least 3 x 20 questions each day (usually on the tube journey). 
  • When I made errors, I screen captured the errors and created a photo album full of questions I got wrong to review later (thank you Ammy for this clever tip!)
  • For the questions I answered wrong (or guessed right) and was still unsure about, I would go to the page reference in the book review. 

Self-study notes
I was lucky enough to have a typed-up copy of the book to highlight and make my own notes all over. I found this the best way of revising and memorising stupid numbers and figures. If you have access to the PDF book, you could print this off and do the same. (Thank you Jason for the book and notes!) 


On the day of the test
Although I crammed on the morning of the test (due to work related drinks that intended to be "one" drink), I felt confident about the questions. Whilst waiting until the actual start time, I was able to read my notes in front of the computer and do practice questions with my iPhone app. The actual test itself was easy as most of the questions were ones I had come across before. I just want to point out although the iPhone app was quoting actual figures and percentages from the book, one of the actual questions was: "How many countries are in the Commonwealth? Choices: about 20, about 30, about 50, about 70. Overall, there were only 4 questions I had found the need to make an educated guess. 


iPhone App 
 
 
  

A sample of my study notes
(please excuse my poor chicken-scratch hand-writing... I understand it :P)



The actual screen at the testing centre 
(photo taken well before waiting to be briefed and starting the test)  




15 comments:

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