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LNY Asks: Could You Pass the Citizenship Test?

Mon, Jan 8th 2018 12:00 pm

Providers across the state have worked long and hard to prepare thousands of immigrants to take the citizenship test. It’s hard work, with a wonderful pay off. There’s nothing like celebrating with a brand new US citizen!



So we were intrigued when we saw this article, written by Sara Shelton, Director of the Wichita Adult Literacy Council. How much do we really know about the test and the process? Read Sara’s article below:

I wrote a column a few years back asking readers if they were required to become a U.S. citizen would they be able to pass the test. I gave examples of the questions that potential new students must pass. Many readers who were born in the US approached me and told me they failed miserably. I thought it would be fun to revisit the test. Let’s see how you do. Could you pass?

As you all know, when immigrants want to become US citizens, they must take a civics test as part of their naturalization interview before an immigration officer. They must go through several steps first and they are not easy. Of the many steps, the two most important require money and knowledge.

Immigration reform is a numbers game. And one of those numbers is $725 for form N-400, the Application for Naturalization. This includes the $640 citizenship application fees and the $85 background check fee. This fee is the process that turns green card-holders into citizens. After filling out the application and paying the fee the most difficult step is the Naturalization test which involves going to a citizenship interview where you must pass an English and a civics test.

If you fail either test the first time, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will give you another opportunity to take the test in an appointment several weeks after the interview that you failed. If you do not pass both tests, you cannot become a naturalized US citizen, and USCIS will deny your application. This test begins the moment the applicant meets with the USCIS Officer who conducts the test. He may say, “Hello, how long have you been in the US and do you enjoy living here?” If you do not answer each question properly, you may ask for the officer to repeat it, but if you can’t answer the questions, you may have already failed.

There are three components to the test: speaking, reading, and writing. The ability to speak English is determined by the USCIS Officer based on your answers to questions normally asked during the eligibility interview. For the reading test, the applicant must read one out of three sentences correctly to demonstrate an ability to read in English. They applicant will need to familiarize himself with a vocabulary list with all the words found in the English reading portion of the naturalization test. For the writing test, the applicant must write one out of three sentences correctly to demonstrate an ability to write in English; therefore, the applicant must familiarize himself with all the words found in the English writing portion of the naturalization test. Sounds easy, right? 

There are 100 possible questions to the test, but prospective citizens are usually only asked ten. Test-takers must answer six questions correctly to pass. Here are 10 questions that are found on the test:

1. How many U.S. Senators are there?


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2. The House of Representatives has how many voting members?

3. Who is the Chief Justice of the United States now?  

4. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the states. What is one power of the states?

5. Why did colonists fight the British?

6. When was the Constitution written? 

7. The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Name one of the writers.

8. What is one thing Benjamin Franklin is known for?

9. What is the Law of the Land?

10. How many amendments are in the U.S. Constitution?

You did great, right?  Immigrants generally have a 91% pass rate.  US born citizens?  We pass about 61% of the time.  Perhaps we need to study a little more?

We won’t leave you hanging. Here are the acceptable answers for each question:

1.  100

2. 435.

3. John Roberts.

4. Provide schooling and education; Provide protection (police); Provide safety (fire departments); Give a driver’s license; Approve zoning and land use.

5. Because of high taxes; Because the British army stayed in their houses (boarding, quartering); Because they didn’t have self-government.

6. 1787.

7. (James) Madison; (Alexander) Hamilton; (John) Jay; Publius.

8.  U.S. Diplomat; First Postmaster General of the U.S.; Writer of “Poor Richard’s Almanac”; Started first free libraries; Oldest member of the Constitutional Congress.

9. Everyone must follow the law; Leaders must obey the law; Government must obey the law; No one is above the law.

10. 27.

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