Spanish citizenship test handbook riddled with ‘unfortunate’ errors

Spanish citizenship test handbook riddled with 'unfortunate' errors
The CCSE test, which costs 85€, consists of 25 multiple choice questions which must be answered within a set time limit of 45 minutes to test your knowledge of Spain. Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP
The preparation handbook for the 2022 Spanish citizenship exam listed Mariano Rajoy as still being prime minister and that the death penalty is part of Spanish law.

The Cervantes Institute, the public cultural institution that organises language and citizenship exams, said the errors in the preparation handbook published on November 29th were due to a “computer glitch”, El País reported. The Institute said it had since corrected the mistakes.

Rajoy hasn’t been prime minister of Spain since 2018, and the death penalty was banned in 1978.

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The handbook is given to applicants who prepare for the citizenship test (known as CCSE), which they must pass, along with a language test, in order to qualify for Spanish nationality.

The CCSE test, which costs 85€, consists of 25 multiple choice questions which must be answered within a set time limit of 45 minutes to test your knowledge of Spain.

Fifteen of the questions are designed to test your knowledge of Spain’s government, legislation and rights of the citizen while the remaining ten are concerned with Spanish culture, history and society. 

Some questions are multiple-choice with three possible answers, while others must be answered with true or false. 

Twelve of the 300 questions in the preparation handbook had errors, many of which anyone with a basic knowledge of Spanish society would detect. It included falsely indicating that public education is not free, and that driving licences are issued by the police and not issued by the traffic authority, Dirección General de Tráfico (DGT), as is the case.

Among the most shocking errors was a question indicating that the right answer to “The current prime minister is…”, was  “Mariano Rajoy”, instead of “Pedro Sánchez”.

Another multiple-choice question indicated that the right answer to “The Spanish Constitution is…” was “a secondary law”, instead of “an essential law”.

The Cervantes Institute told El País that errors were caused by the fact that the questions were changed, but the computer programme failed to change the answers from the previous test.

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The Cervantes Institute described it as “an unfortunate mistake”, and admitted that it might affect people who have taken the test recently. The test is corrected automatically, which means it could penalise applicants who checked the “right” answer according to the handbook.

A group called Legalteam based in Barcelona that provides advice on citizenship issues noticed the mistakes and posted several examples of the errors on its website.

“We have observed that many questions have the wrong answers and at Legalteam we have corrected them because the answers that appear in the official manual are incorrect,” Legalteam wrote on its website on December 2nd.

“If you notice any wrong answers, please tell us so we can correct the manual and let the Institute Cervantes know.”

According to El País, the Institute said the errors had been fixed by experts who checked the handbook’s answers “one by one”.

However, it has raised questions about how such obvious errors were able to go unnoticed before the handbook was published.

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