The new citizensip test, designed to test immigrants on the core values and principles of the British way of life, is little more than a “bad pub quiz”, it was claimed today.
The first major academic study into the test found it was outdated and rooted in trivia rather than being about practical day-to-day living.
Dr Thom Brooks, a reader in law at Durham University, also claimed the test was male-dominated with candidates asked to remember 30 questions about men compared to just four about women.
Dr Brooks, a US-born academic who has himself sat the test, said it sought to emphasise British history at the expense of practical knowledge.
“Britain will not be more cohesive because more have heard about the Battle of Trafalgar, but rather if future citizens understand better how to participate in daily British life,” he said.
The test was introduced by the Labour government in 2005.
Those seeking citizenship must answer 18 out of 24 questions correctly in 45 minutes.
A Conservative spokesman said: “Our rewritten test has stripped out mundane information about water meters, train timetables, and using the internet, and focuses instead on the values and principles at the heart of being British.”
The British way: Test questions
1. How many parliamentary constituencies are there?
2. True or false: Ulster Scots is a dialect spoken in Northern Ireland.
3. What is the percentage of people in the UK in 2001 who said they were Muslims?
4. What is a quango?
5. When is a by-election held?
Answers 1. 650; 2. True; 3. 2.7; 4. A quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation; 5. When an MP dies or resigns