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The new Australian citizenship test which assesses prospective new citizens on their understanding of Australian civics and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship commences Monday 19 October.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said the new test is based on the pledge of commitment that new Australians make when becoming citizens. Topics include Australia’s democratic beliefs, laws and government as well as the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship.

The 20 multiple-choice questions in the new test have been written in plain English and will be conducted in English only. All test questions have been drawn from the testable section of the revised citizenship test resource book, Australian Citizenship: Our Common Bond, which was launched in September.

The new test is not a general knowledge quiz about Australia,’ Senator Evans said. ‘We want people applying for citizenship to understand the values of Australian society, our democratic beliefs, our rights and our system of law and what it means to be an Australian citizen. ‘All prospective citizens should understand those concepts so all of the questions in the new citizenship test focus on the commitments that new citizens make in the pledge.’

The new test was developed after an independent review of the old citizenship test last year found that it could be improved by focusing on the pledge of commitment. People will now need to answer 75 per cent per cent or 15 of the 20 questions correctly to pass – up from 60 per cent under the old test.

However, the mandatory questions have been removed to make the test fairer. All questions are now equally important and a person can no longer answer 19 out of 20 questions correctly and still fail the test because they answered one of the three mandatory questions incorrectly. A citizenship course is also under development to help a small group of disadvantaged people, who for a range of reasons, such as limited literacy and schooling, are likely to struggle when preparing for and sitting a formal computer-based test.

This will ensure that we encourage people to become citizens without the test being a barrier,’ Senator Evans said. The citizenship test resource book, Australian Citizenship: Our Common Bond, and practice citizenship test are available online.

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In his first interview since he miraculously survived almost two weeks lost amid freezing temperatures in Sydney’s Blue Mountains, the 19-year-old from north London, who was found by bushwalkers last Wednesday, also denied his story was a hoax.

“I was thinking I might die on that mountain,” he told the 60 Minutes current affairs television program in Australia in an interview for which he was paid an estimated $200,000 (£100,000).

“I had actually written some goodbye notes and things to my family saying, my last walk, saying sorry, explaining how I’d got lost and different things like that.

“I’m not a particularly religious person but I started thinking about God and I was praying and saying, ‘Surely you can move a helicopter an inch and find me,’ and ‘Why won’t you just help me?’”

Mr Neale returned to the location of his near-fatal bushwalk with the television crew after being released from hospital in Katoomba on Friday.

He posed for photos at the Narrow Neck Plateau near Katoomba where he had been discovered last Wednesday by bushwalkers, and was then flown over the Blue Mountains by helicopter.

He said he had lost the notepad with his goodbye letters, and his digital camera, while trying to get out of the dense bushland.

His incredible tale of survival – where he endured 12 nights in freezing temperatures, eating kangaroo berries and geebung weed, and drinking from local streams – has attracted many sceptics questioning the veracity of his story.

However Mr Neale remains adamant that he became lost after getting disorientated by the sun, and dismissed talk his disappearance was a hoax or a stunt to make money.

“I know what happened, and I know the people who were out searching for me,” he said in the interview, which was set to air in Australia on Sunday night and will be broadcast in the UK on Sky.

“They know that it happened and that’s good enough for me. People can say what they want because I’m not lying. It’s the truth.”

Mr Neale and his father Richard Cass hosted drinks in Katoomba on Friday night for some of the scores of volunteers who searched the rugged bushland looking for the lost backpacker.

Mr Cass, who had flown to Australia from the family home in London to help search for his son, returned to England on Saturday.

Mr Neale will now travel by train to Perth to stay with relatives as he cannot fly for eight weeks due to air bubbles on his lungs.

Source  :  www.timesonline.co.uk

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There are a number of changes being made to the citizenship test. The key changes are:                                                                                                    citizenship

  • the test questions will be rewritten in plain English
  • the test will not contain any mandatory questions
  • the current pass mark will increase from 60 per cent to 75 per cent
  • the test will be based on the Pledge of Commitment that new Australians make when becoming citizens.

The new citizenship test is planned to begin in late September 2009. The revised citizenship test resource book, which will contain all the information needed to prepare for the test, will be available from late August 2009.

You will be able to sit the new citizenship test in the same locations as with the current test including all 13 department offices, 30 Medicare offices and 4 Centrelink offices across Australia.

Will the new test be easier?

No. The test will continue to assess whether clients have an adequate knowledge of Australia and of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship and possess a basic level of English.

Will the test only be in English?

Yes. The government is committed to the citizenship test being delivered in plain English.

If I have already passed a test will I have to sit another one if there are any changes?

No. You will not have to sit another test if you have already passed a test.

Can I make a booking to sit the new test now?

No. Appointments for the new test will not be available until the revised resource book is released in late August 2009.

Can I get a copy of the new test questions?

No. As with the current test questions, the new test questions will be confidential. However, practice questions will be available in the revised resource book and on this website.

Will assistance to complete the test still be available?

Yes. If you have difficulty reading or are unable to operate a computer you will be able to request help from a Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) officer during a standard 45 minute test. The department officer will be able to assist you by reading aloud the test questions and answers or by operating the computer. Please ensure you request assistance at the time you make your test booking.

Source  :  http://www.citizenship.gov.au/test/changes/

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