Preparing for Australian citizenship has just become a bit harder. Last month the minister of citizenship, Alan Tudge, announced that the test is going to have some newly-added questions that are supposed to determine the level of commitment new citizens claim to have. There has been some nodding on one side, and harsh disapprovals on the other. In any case, people who are looking to become Australian citizens have another minor hurdle to overcome. Tens of thousands of people apply every year, and many are denied for various reasons, including failed citizenship test. Let’s scratch beyond the surface and see what the big deal is.
Up until November 15th, 2023, applicants will take the test consisting of 20 questions regarding Australian history, heritage, tradition, and a way of life. From mid-November, 5 new questions will be added so that the potential citizen could prove his or her dedication to becoming an equal member of Australian society.
There have been 20 multiple-choice questions so far on which the permanent resident would have to answer correctly to at least 75%. Per new rules, the 75% still stands plus the applicant would have to answer correctly to all 5 additional questions. Like they weren’t shaking enough already, now they have one more thing to worry about. The additional questions will be based on details from Australian history and heritage. To practice the Australian citizenship test, go to citizenshiptestaustralia.com.au.
New rules faced some opposition too. Many immigration advocates are clamoring about their clients being stressed enough as it is. Besides, they are Australians already, completely integrated into the society, working, paying taxes, buying properties, signing up their kids to school. They feel, and they are by any means, connected to the society. The test was supposed to be proforma, and instead, it turned out to be an obstacle that people are losing their sleepover.
In the end, the new questions stand, and everyone should prepare well for the last step in officially becoming an Australian citizen. There won’t be any changes to the English language or residency requirements for citizenship.
How many people applied?
Last year the record number of people became citizens in Australia, over 200,000 of them. But this is not a surprising fact, since the number of immigrants applying is in a steady rise for the past decade or so. In the past five years, only almost 700,000 people came to permanently live in Australia, and since the test was introduced, post-WWII, Australia has gotten 5 million foreign-born citizens.
Immigrants make up 22% of the total Australian population of 20 million people. The vast majority, 25%, come from the United Kingdom, followed by New Zealand 9%, China and Italy 5%, and Vietnam 4%.
The road to becoming an Australian citizen is long, tedious, and stressful. Dozens upon dozens of papers are needed to prove work qualifications, clean police record, pass through medical examinations, language tests, and so on. If you have children, the process is even more nerve-racking. Once you got to the point to take the test, it means you passed all requirements and paid all the fees, which can be hefty. Once you’re here, you’ll need to prove that you are a person of good character and provide proof of residence in Australia.
Before taking the test, you’ll have to go through the interview where examinators will determine whether or not you satisfy all the rules before going to the test. All in all, the whole process takes years and is very frustrating and costly with 90% of applications taking more than 2 years to process. With new questions imposed upon applicants, the delays might become even longer. In fact, every little thing, might it be a few additional questions to the test, are going to cause a huge backlog and longer waiting times.
As stated, the test has 20 questions coming from three different sections: Australia and its people, Australia’s democratic beliefs, rights and liberties, and Government and the law in Australia. Each section is part of the book meant to help with preparing for the citizenship test. No one can tell which questions are going to be, and how many of them are going to come from each section. So, basically, everything in the book can come up at the test.
- First off, don’t get an anxiety attack by looking at the book. A good plan will relieve some of that stress and push you forward.
- Step one – Read through the whole book once. Get familiar with the general terminology and the themes.
- Step two – Learn chapter by chapter. For instance, read through, take notes, and learn chapter one about Australia and its people. Once you memorized it, try taking the online test. The questions are an example, not the actual ones that you’ll get on the test, but very similar. Most online tests are not timed, so you can go slow and steady in answering the questions. The results will give you an insight into how well you remember the facts, but also it can point out the holes in your knowledge and give you something to work on some more.
- Step three – Once you feel like you covered every subject from the book you can take the “simulation test”. The test is a perfect replica of the official test. The layout is the same, and the questions and answers can be tricky. In the official test, you will often see similar answers to the same question that are meant to confuse you or to double-check your knowledge and understanding of the matter. In the simulation test, the same principle will be applied so that you can get the feeling of what’s going to be at the actual examination. To better illustrate the official rules, the simulation test is timed at 45 minutes, just as the original one. Every question will offer three possible answers, two usually being very similar. So, pay attention. Simulation tests are very important to take before the big day because they will train you to recognize the right answer.
In case you fail, you can take the test again, so don’t stress about it too much. Prepare well and good luck!