Quirks of the official study materials for The Life in the UK Test

Although actually rather well crafted so that the study material hasn’t dated much it is possible to find a number of mistakes in the official study materials for the Life in the UK Test.  Here we are talking about the text of ‘Life in the United Kingdom: A Guide for New Residents, 3rd edition.  For the most part even these inaccuracies and mistakes aren’t that material.

We found a couple that are of note though.

Guy Fawkes (of bonfire night fame) – the book perpetuates the myth that Guy Fawkes was the leader of the gunpowder plot of 1605 when a group of conspirators attempted to kill the king (James I) and his government.  The plan was to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament on 5 November 1605, as the prelude to a popular revolt in the Midlands during which James’s nine-year-old daughter, Princess Elizabeth, was to be installed as the Catholic head of state. However, the leader of the plot was actually Robert Catesby.  Catesby died in a shoot out with pro government supporters at Holbeche House as the plot unraveled following Guy Fawkes capture and torture.

Next we come to the Jacobite risings. In the official study materials we learn that ‘An attempt at armed rebellion in support of James was quickly defeated at Killiecrankie.   Now it turns out that The Battle of Killiecrankie was fought between Highland Scottish clans supporting King James II and VII and troops supporting King William of Orange on 27 July 1689, during the first Jacobite uprising.   However, where things go wrong for the official study material is that the Battle of Killiecrankie was a stunning victory for the Jacobites and James I.  In fact the battle is a famous example of the success of the ‘Highland Charge’.   The Jacobite advance continued until it was stopped by government forces at the Battle of Dunkeld the following month (21 August 1689).

Oh, and the composer George Frideric Handel was born in 1685 rather than 1695 – which I think we should forgive!

More understandably it is worth noting that Margaret Thatcher, who was alive when the study materials were first written died in 2013.  No doubt some of the famous people named in the study material may also die as the years go by.  However, it isn’t a big issue in relation to the Life in the UK Test as you won’t be tested on these dates.

Also of note is, that as of 9 September 2015 Queen Elizabeth II became the longest reigning British monarch.  When the study materials were prepared that record was then held by Queen Victoria.

On General Elections the study material says that these are held at least every 5 years.  While the study material is not technically wrong, since the coalition, we now have the Fixed Term Parliament Act where Parliamentary elections must be taken every 5 years  beginning in 2015.

One ‘great escape’ for the study materials was the Scottish Referendum of 2014 when Scots voted against Scotland becoming an independent country.  A ‘yes’ vote would have rather messed up the book and  probably also the test!

No doubt there are other errors and inaccuracies that can be found.  Even the two ‘clangers’ above [Guy Fawkes as leader – not: and Killiecrankie as Jacobite defeat – not]  which should aggrieve those with a sense of history needn’t be of concern to those taking the official test.  The maxim is that you will be tested on the content of ‘the study materials’. You have to learn what is in the official study materials.

However, the government won’t like testing you on things that are wrong – so such questions are unlikely to feature in the test itself!







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