The quiz that matters

Somehow this book has taken the fun out of quiz books. Or so it seems right now.

Quizzes have provided the Bookwitch family with some much appreciated relaxation, even when the questions have been on the silly side. You can show off or despair, and you can always complain about how silly the selection of facts is. Especially the facts that date so fast they probably never really belonged anywhere.

But now, the Resident IT Consultant brought home from the library (one doesn’t want to commit by buying) Life in the UK Test, the essential study guide for the British citizenship test. It’s not the book’s fault that it is depressing. It can only advise on what someone else has decided are pertinent facts for life in the best country in the world (I assume that’s the way they look at this ‘get the password to Britain right’ disaster.)

I tried a sample test in a newspaper once and did pretty well, totally untutored and unprepared. But these questions are tough, when they are not laughable, or downright wrong, or merely ambivalent. It doesn’t help having your future jeopardised by picking a correct answer when it’s the wrong correct answer.

It has not currently come to this, though. I am not about to change my allegiance or anything, unless forced to. But you want to be forewarned.

I have no interest in some of the topics covered. And that would be quite all right for anyone not needing to persuade a faceless tester that they could become one of them. I am very ignorant when it comes to certain Swedish facts, especially ancient history and sport. Here I need to know about rugby and what two professions Margaret Thatcher trained as before she did her bit for this country. I also need to understand how very open minded the British are about people of different religions.

‘What did the Roman army do in AD 410?’ Lots of things, one imagines.

I am a fan of Clarice Cliff’s, but I don’t reckon knowledge of what she’s famous for matters. I’d much rather feel that the immigrant/new British citizen down the road is the kind who will come to the rescue if my house is on fire. Rather than deport them.

‘The ideas of the Enlightenment.’ ‘Blood and organ donation.’ “National horse racing museum.’

As a source for information the study guide is fine. That’s what we do with lots of things in life; look them up when we need to know. But not to cram to pass a test. And don’t they understand that people from other countries know about donating blood? We also learned about Emmeline Pankhurst at school. However, Richard Arkwright was new to me. Not what he did, but his name. Bet you don’t know who invented the potato, though?

If the selection was more sensibly done and the questions asked not so ridiculous I’d feel happier about a test like this. But to decide the future of a human being on where the first tennis club was founded?

Perhaps just invite the hopefuls to tea and see what they do when you pour the carefully warmed milk into their cup? And have a nice chat?


5 responses to “The quiz that matters

  1. Kicki Eriksson-Lee

    I agree. And it would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic. But I admit I have done the quiz thing with my children and had many a good laugh. We found the questions online, but library is better any day.

  2. There IS a horse racing museum? I am tempted to find these questions now, if out of slightly-angered curiosity.They seem to be a strange collection, and as you say, there’s probably than one thing that one that the Romans did in 410AD.

  3. And that’s essential for new citizens to know? Wonder why.

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