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The US Citizenship Test: What to Expect & Preparation Tips

4.75 minute read
"To become a naturalized citizen of the United States, you are expected to clear the citizenship test. This test proves to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer that you are ready to become a US citizen."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  May 7, 2021
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To become a naturalized citizen of the United States, you are expected to clear the citizenship test. This test proves to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer that you are ready to become a US citizen.

What is the US Citizenship Test and Recent Changes?

The US citizenship test is an important part of the naturalization process for a lawful permanent resident transitioning to citizenship. It is conducted on the day of your citizenship interview. It has 2 parts: an English test and a Civics test. Recently, on March 1, 2021, the USCIS announced that the 2008 version of the citizenship test will be restored for the Civics section.

To obtain US citizenship, you are required to pass this test. Based on your age and how long you have been a permanent resident, you may be eligible for some exemptions from giving the test in the English language. You may also be exempt based on certain medical conditions. However, you have 2 chances to take this test. 

What Are the 2 Parts of the Citizenship Test?

There are 2 parts to the test:

The English Test: 

This part assesses your ability to read, write and speak the English language. You must demonstrate that you understand the English language. A USCIS officer will listen to your speech closely to determine your fluency in the language. 

The English test is made of 3 parts: Speaking, Reading and Writing. For the reading and writing tests, you will be provided with a digital tablet that the USCIS will explain how to use. It is helpful to have fluency in the English language and excellent grammar and spelling skills. 

However, it is also okay if you aren’t flawless in some areas. The basic use of language is enough to get you through this test. Do not be intimidated and ask for clarifications if you are confused about anything.

For the speaking part, the USCIS officer may ask you specific questions about your citizenship application and eligibility and evaluate your responses based on your ability to speak and comprehend the language. It is a good idea to practice beforehand. 

For the reading part, you will be required to read at least 3 sentences in total on a digital tablet. You will be assessed based on your pronunciation, annotation and familiarity with words. 

For the writing test, you will be asked to write 3 sentences in English on the digital tablet. These sentences will be read out loud by the USCIS officer to determine your eligibility.

The Civics Test: 

For the Civics test, the USCIS officer will ask you 10 random questions out of a list of 100 questions regarding US history and government. To pass the test, you must answer at least 6 of the questions correctly. This is an oral test, therefore, it is easier to take. The complete list of questions is already provided by the USCIS. You may be exempt from taking the test if you meet the exemption requirements. 

You can also expect questions based on your age, background, education level, the time you have spent in the US and other factors.

How to Prepare for the US Citizenship Test?

It may seem a little easy, but it is essential to not take these things lightly and prepare diligently for the test. Here are some tips on how you can prepare for the test:

Use Study Guides: 

The USCIS offers online free study guides for English and civics tests. A quick online study guide can help you get familiar with sample quizzes and questions and also test your knowledge. It is a good way to assess where you stand. 

Watch Online Videos: 

There are several explanatory videos on platforms like Youtube that can help you perfect your fluency in the English language. It is helpful to watch if you learn quickly through auditory or visual methods.

Practice: 

Practice is the key to perfection. It helps you retain information and get better at what you are doing. Therefore, practice for the English and civics test to get better and have absolute 0 chances of failing. 

Ask for Help: 

You can ask for help from a friend or family member to coach you through spoken English if you have trouble with pronunciation. You can also get help to find study materials to prepare for your civics test. 

Take it Slow: 

A lot of information can easily overwhelm you in a short time. Therefore, it's best to take it slow and focus on small things. This way you can concentrate and prioritize. 

What Happens After Taking the US Citizenship Test?

Once you have taken the test, you will hear back from the USCIS on the same day with the results. If you pass, you are almost finished with the naturalization process and can soon become a US citizen. 

If you fail, then you can retake the whole exam or just the part that you failed. However, the questions for your second test will be different and re-examination will be scheduled within 60-90 days from the date of your first exam. 

What Happens If You Miss the Re-Examination?

If you fail to show up for your re-examination appointment, your absence will be considered a failed attempt and your citizenship application will be denied. You must get prior approval from the USCIS if you want to be excused from the re-examination.

What Happens If You Fail Your Re-Examination?

Your citizenship application will be denied. However, you can appeal this decision in writing to the USCIS within 30 days of receiving the letter. If your appeal is approved, then you will be allowed to retake the portion of the test you failed within 180 days of placing the request.

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