T’other day, I stumbled upon a site which had the questionnaires that would-be immigrants to my old Sceptred Isle have to score better than 75% on, to be considered – and they made interesting reading.
From TV, I know that would-be Americans have to complete something similar – but my impression is that while most NATIVE Americans would be lucky to pass them, the questions are at least reasonable and predictable.
However, the British questionnaires are, at least in part, decidedly WEIRD.
In all, there are fifty-five of these forms – of which an applicant will be given ONE, at random – each containing twenty-four questions. These are multiple choice, ranging from yes/no, to four possible answers. And the applicants get forty-five minutes to complete them.
Which is where things BEGIN to get strange. I mean, even if their command of English is poor – almost two minutes to read, consider and answer a single-sentence question is SILLY. And why fifty-FIVE questionnaires? Why not just fifty?
But where the crazy REALLY starts is with the questions themselves.
Many are straightforward, like – “What is the minimum age to drive a large lorry or bus? (1) 16 (2) 17 (3) 18 (4) 21”.
Others are more folksy, like – “Where is the Scouse dialect spoken? (1) Liverpool (2) Tyneside (3) Scotland (4) London”.
However, others (seemingly culled from a government department of statistics) are decidedly SINISTER, like – “What percentage of the UK population is Jewish? (1) 0.8% (2) 0.7% (3) 0.6% (4) 0.5%”.
WHA-AT? Who would KNOW that? I doubt even Nick Griffin would (for U.S. readers: the chairman of Britain’s far-right British National Party, not the American standup comic and writer). And I for one would be SUSPICIOUS of anyone who DID.
Then there are questions that border on the SURREAL, like – “Where does Santa Claus come from? (1) The South Pole (2) The North Pole (3) Poland (4) Iceland”. Why on EARTH…?
For the record, I – an ex-pat Brit retired to the Orient – filled in four of these things, passing just TWO.
Since all fifty-five of the questionnaires can be viewed on the Interweb – at http://www.hiren.info/life-in-the-uk-test/1 – I can only assume the authorities expect applicants to MEMORIZE all one thousand, three hundred and twenty questions, complete with their answers.
It IS do-able.
Then, if they get the pass-mark required, it means they really WANT to move to a land where it rarely stops raining – and the people will look funny at them…