Prepare for citizenship with these interactive lessons and tests
Since 2005, aspiring British citizens have to demonstrate their understanding of both the English language and life in the UK either by completing an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) course or by passing a 24 question, multiple choice exam called the Life in the UK test. This CD-ROM gathers together the Life in the UK tests used in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the relevant question banks for each (929 in England, for example) and various practice sessions.
The practice sessions are a sample from the full set, either a category like Customs and Traditions or the British Constitution, or a custom session made up of those questions you keep getting wrong. Important supporting materials explain the scope and purpose of the test and the way it is scored. There's also a PDF and audio copy of the all-important source text - A Journey to Citizenship, which is required reading if you want to pass the test.
The software gives you the choice of running it as a single user or as multiple users - the latter means that one person can manage a group of others, either as a tutor or a mentor. When you first set up an account it's straight into the practice sessions and mock tests which are faithful to the full test but look unexciting. Once the program starts to clock up scores, it's possible to analyse how you're doing and concentrate on filling the gaps in your knowledge. With a bit of tinkering you can also copy audio versions of the tests over to a digital music player and take them with you.
The accompanying book, A Journey to Citizenship, is available as a PDF and as a series of audio files but in both cases it feels as though only the minimum has been done. There are no chapter or navigation links in the PDF for example, and if you want to transfer the book to an iPod or other MP3 player then you'll have to copy the audio files manually from the folder. Similarly, while we like the idea of having ‘on-the-go' audio versions of the tests, these are confusingly presented, especially if English isn't your first language.
The software itself has some rough edges too. When you start the software for the first time it'll check for updates, but if you don't have an Internet connection or click Cancel, it crashes. It also won't work at all without the CD-ROM present in your computer's optical drive. These are relatively minor inconveniences though.
Overall Focus' program is still good value since the Journey to Citizenship book costs around a tenner and taking the actual test itself costs £50 a pop.
Read more reviews
Lacks presentational pizzazz, but provides everything you need to understand, learn and practice for the UK citizenship test.
Includes official Home Office material; Tracks your progress; Includes Journey to Citizenship text & audio
Old fashioned interface; Some rough edges
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