18:00 02 July 2012
A new immigration test is to be initiated this autumn, with a refocus on Britain's culture and past achievements over more practical traits, it has been proposed.
Home secretary Theresa May has drawn up new plans that will grant would-be Britons a handbook that emphasises the United Kingdom's historically Christian past and "long and illustrious history", The Sunday Times revealed.
The exam will last for 45-minutes and cover key history including discoveries, inventions, the English Civil War and the arts. Television, radar, the internet, DNA and cultural other cultural milestones such as the King James Bible's first publication will be added to the formal exam.
Famous names will form part of the test as well, with profiles of British icons such as Sir Winston Churchill, author Charles Dickens, playwright William Shakespeare, musicians The Beatles and famous artists (such as Gainsborough and Turner) added into the mix.
Applicants will also have to learn the first verse of the National Anthem.
The previous test, entitled Life in the United Kingdom, was introduced by the then-Labour government in 2005 with a more statistical and financial slant that had sections including how to claim benefits and merits of the Human Rights Act.
However, it fell under criticism for its perceived easiness. For example, candidates were asked to read a chapter on the nation's history but were told that they wouldn't actually be tested on the subject.
In a speech on immigration last year, Prime Minister David Cameron made a pledge to improve the test under the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition.
A Home Office spokesperson commented: "Putting our culture and history at the heart of the citizenship test will help ensure those permanently settling can understand British life, allowing them to properly integrate into our society".
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