So the Canadian citizenship test is finally over and I can return to writing and reviewing while I await the results. Canadian citizenship is a long process where you apply after living in the country for three years out of the previous four, after a month they send you a book to read, after a year or two they send you a letter saying to come to a test, then a few months later tell you whether you passed and ask you to go to an interview with a judge or a citizenship ceremony.
I’ve spent most of the last couple of weeks studying the book, which is over sixty pages long and contains maybe a couple of hundred names and dates that they could ask about. The problem is that you have no idea which information will come up and which won’t. You must get fifteen of twenty multiple-choice questions correct, so if you skimp then a few tough questions could mean the difference between pass or fail.
We each picked a question booklet and an answer sheet from the piles and then had, I think, thirty minutes to circle the correct answer with a pencil. Each sheet had a different set of questions so people couldn’t copy each other, and relatives were told to sit far apart so no-one could be accused of cheating; we were warned that if anyone was heard talking they would instantly be failed.
After all that, the test was a bit of an anti-climax. Most of the questions were easy ones and I finished the actual test in 90 seconds. I then noticed that I hadn’t circled a single answer ‘B’ so I had to go through five times to check that all the answers were definitely right.
I wouldn’t have managed fifteen without reading the book, but it seems to me that if you’ve read it a couple of times then you should at least be able to work out two of the wrong answers and make a good guess at which of the remaining two is correct.
My favourite question was (from memory):
Which of the following are fundamental rights guaranteed by the Canadian Constitution?
- The right to beat your wife and drive a car with a license.
- The right to drive a car and own a firearm without a license.
- Mobility rights and the right to have more than one wife.
- Something boring about freedom of religion and association.
I’m glad they didn’t throw me out for laughing when I read that one.