Who Wants to be a Citizen?

19 Feb

I recently read a blog about the United States citizenship test and thought I’d take a look myself to see what the test involved. Here’s what I found so I thought it would be fun to include the basic requirements of the test here and a few random questions from the original test and then from the newly revised test. Why not give it a try and test your citizenship?

To become a naturalized U.S. citizen, you must pass the naturalization test. At your naturalization interview, you will be required to answer questions about your application and background. You will also take an English and Civics test.  For the English reading portion, you must read one out of three sentences correctly. For the English writing test, you must write one out of three sentences correctly. The test is not multiple choice and requires that all questions be answered in English

In the citizenship test, the applicant for citizenship is asked up to 10 of 100 possible questions. The interviewer reads the questions in English and the applicant must answer in English. In order to pass, at least 6 of the 10 questions must be answered correctly. It is up to the interviewing officer to determine if you have answered the question correctly.

Here is a random sample of the questions that used to be asked…

1. What are the colors of our flag?

14. Who is the President of the United States today?

48. How many terms can the President serve?

67. What is the highest court in the United States?

77. Who has the power to declare war?

79. Which President freed the slaves?

88. What is the United States Capitol?

96. In what month is the new President inaugurated?

99. What are the 2 major political parties in the U.S. today?


Here is the same sample of random questions that are asked now. How would you do on the new citizenship test?                                              

1. What is the supreme law of the land?

14. What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful?

48. There are four amendments to the Constitution about who can vote. Describe one of them.

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

77. What did Susan B. Anthony do?

79. Who was President during World War I?

88. Name one of the two longest rivers in the United States.

96. Why does the flag have 13 stripes?

99. When do we celebrate Independence Day?


How did you do? Did you at any time need to phone a friend or ask the audience? I’d like to see our Senators, Representatives, Presidents and Candidates answer all 100 questions and have their scores posted underneath their names every time they speak publicly. We could call it the “Public Servant’s Diploma”! What do you think?



19 Responses to “Who Wants to be a Citizen?”

  1. jcmarckx2009 February 19, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

    “What is the supreme law of the land?” What the Hell does that even mean? I got the rest of them easily enough, but that first question is new to me.

    • karenspath February 25, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

      That one stumped me as well….

  2. happyzinny February 19, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

    And any public servant with a PSD score under what, 92? wouldn’t be allowed to speak publicly. It’d sure make things a lot quieter around election time!

  3. bcwriter29 February 19, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

    The other 2 branches stop any one branch from becoming too powerful. There are 3 branches, Judicial, Legislative and Executive. They are supposed to balance each other. Unfortunately, sometimes the powers shift one way or another such as now Democrats control the Legislative branch and the Executive branch and want to control the Judicial branch by appointing Liberal judges to the Supreme Court (like Justice Sotamayor.)

    Ok, now you tell me what was the question! I thought this was interesting and for the record my son is a United States Marine and my uncles where as well. I was born here and I’ll die here! I love this Country and yes we do have many problems, but nobody is perfect and I have faith that it will work our somehow. If you can pass the test I think we can all become citizens! This country was founded by Immigrants, brick by brick, tunnel by tunnel, and bridge by bridge! I enjoyed your post don’t be afraid to visit my blog! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Jae February 19, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

    These are things the public servants should be required to know. Period. Thanks for the informative post!

  5. Harold Knight February 19, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

    Almost none of my university students (a very expensive prestigious university) can name the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment. My guess is they’d all fail the exam–and then go right out and talk about how those illegal people are ruining our country.

    • bcwriter29 February 22, 2013 at 2:25 am #

      WOW . . . this comment was upsetting to me, because if our next generations, don’t know enough of the questions to state in a Country they were born into–then what chance do we have as a Nation! I almost want to cry because everybody seems to have pasted the buck! By this I mean is they left the education of our youth to sit solely on the shoulders of the teachers in school, and that isn’t fair! They aren’t our kids parents . . . They are there to put the seed in our kids heads, and it’s the Parents job to drive In the stake that will hold up the tree!

  6. RAB February 19, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

    This is an unpleasantly eye-opening test. As Harold Knight says, almost none of my university students could pass it. The test now seems designed for failure.

  7. dbpigtail February 19, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

    Yes, the “requirements” are ludicrous when most American would fail at those questions, but I’ve got a funny side-note. My husband naturalized from the Netherlands just under a year ago and he did BUY a prep book with loads and loads of info. and potential questions. But do you know what his test consisted of in the English language portion? Under reading, he had to read, “I pay taxes.” And under writing, he had to write, “We pay taxes.” That was it. I kid you not… passed! In my opinion, it’s all about making money, pay the big fee, pay for the test prep. The test was a joke. He may have had to answer who the current president is, or some other of the very obvious ones. It took about 10 minutes, including the interview part. So you see, taxes and fees…. that pretty much sums up America 🙂

  8. Robert February 19, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

    Reblogged this on DiaryCube.

  9. Daphne February 20, 2013 at 12:11 am #

    Interesting post and comments, as my husband and I were just discussing whether or not he wanted to become a US citizen. I was surprised to learn that, even though he is not a citizen, he could still vote in elections, just not the presidential elections. As a permanent resident, but not a citizen, he still has to pay taxes, so there was a debate about whether or not there was any ‘benefit’ to becoming a US citizen. Makes you think…..

  10. Susanna February 20, 2013 at 12:23 am #

    I don’t have a fall back country. Good thing I don’t need it.

  11. hbw February 20, 2013 at 12:57 am #

    10/10 for the old test and 7/10 for the new. For the sake of completeness, I also tried the current sample British Citizenship test and failed with 16/24 😦 – are they trying to ♠tell me something?

  12. Abbi February 20, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

    As a British Citizen of about 2 months I recently wrote the British equivalent of this. The test is about to change but I am yet to find a single British person who can pass the original. I think writing a citizenship test is right but it should reflect information that average “born” citizens of the country would know and demonstrate your immersion into your new country.

  13. Survivor February 20, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

    It is one of my goals to prepare as many Mexicans as possible to take this test and become citizens. I am proud to say that all my students have passed and now live in the States. It is my way of bucking the system as they say.

  14. TamrahJo February 20, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    Interesting post and eye-opening comments section – – I sure did better on this one than the “8th Grade Graduation” test given to students, circa 1898 🙂
    I struggled with the math problems concerning how to determine the price/lb of my bushels of wheat….I also don’t know how much of what determines a ton…
    Yes, Yes, I looked it up then, but today was reminded, I still don’t “know” it –

  15. Lee Kaplanian February 20, 2013 at 11:21 pm #

    You only reach the test when you have already gone through reams of paperwork with an often grumpy, uncooperative civil servant ( ain’t that an oxymoron for you) and gathered all kinds of evidence to prove you are a good person and won’t be a drain on the economy. All that happens AFTER a permanent residency visa. My husband went through it in the early 70’s, I’d say it is a lot tougher now.

  16. bevinnefromhevinne February 21, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    I’m glad I was born here – well – in Alaska when it was a territory … LOL! I don’t think the powers question was worded very well. And I think Jefferson was one of the authors of the Federalist papers. It’s rather appalling how many things I can’t remember about the old U.S.A.

  17. pearlynnw February 26, 2013 at 1:10 am #


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