I sure did both times I’ve taken it–once before becoming a naturalized citizen and again as I watched this video :D! How will YOU do?
DO AMERICANS SUCK AT HISTORY AND POLITICS, THEN?
I guess the point everyone who’s ever written about the Citizenship Exam always tries to make is “If immigrants can take/ace it, will U.S. natives be able to as well?”
According to videos and both accurate and inaccurate “citizenship exam quizzes” that abound online, U.S.-born Americans won’t. They’ll suck at it. And documented immigrants/potential naturalized citizens will do really well because they magically learned them or have spent their many years in the U.S. (since the moment they arrived) studying and studying these facts.
Nope, not so. Here’s the thing:
Now I don’t mean to demerit my fellow (new) citizens’ achievements, but we didn’t learn those things through osmosis or through years spent studying them. In fact, we’re all given a booklet with all the 100 questions in the test bank. As the video stated, on Exam Day, we can get asked ten random questions–but if we’ve aced six of them correctly (the exam is administered orally) then we’re done.
In addition, we also get a few months to prep. So it’s not a huuuuge feat to accomplish. (Getting here and leading good, successful, responsible lives is certainly more impressive.)
Granted, nerves may take over, and not very many immigrants speak English well enough (though proven you can speak it well is another part of the Exam) or have enough confidence in their test-taking abilities, but it really is rather easy. My parents and I took ours separately interview-style with an immigration official. After the Qs, we had to repeat a few sentences in English (that’s the English Proficiency part.)
That’s all! A ten-fifteen-minute-exam can make you a citizen.
OK, MAYBE I’M BIASED
I mean I did move here at 13, and though that was rather late (because A- I didn’t learn any Civics in 8th grade; and B- I don’t remember whether I had any History classes in high school other AP European History and AP Government [?]–and maybe AP U.S. History[?]), I took a great Government class in College that taught me the fundamentals. Moreover, my mom listens to news talk radio almost all day, and we all enjoy CNN.
In other words, we’re pretty much in the know, so maybe I’m biased in saying that “it was easy.”
But it really was!
Think of it this way: In college, do you remember having gotten exam “study guides” that contained everything that could (or in some generous–though rare–cases WOULD) be in the exam? Most people–*cough* me included *cough*– would study those guides and ace their exams. Why? Because they were so well-prepared! They already knew what they’d be asked.
Now usually you get days to study for an exam in college. But we, for instance, got a few months to study all 100 Qs of the Citizenship Exam. This adds to the Easy factor!
WHAT I’M TRYING TO SAY IS…
Dear U.S.-born Americans, if you didn’t ace ALL Qs on the video above, don’t worry: You don’t suck. Chances are that it’s been many years–even decades–since you learned them and your brain just didn’t bother to retain facts that aren’t all that important to your everyday “survival.”
(If you don’t know who the Vice President is, though, then that’s another story and you need an intervention.)
I mean it’s cool to know that there are nine Supreme Court Justices, and that the 13 stripes on our flag represent the 13 original colonies but does your life/sanity depend on that? Nope.
Potential naturalized citizens’ lives and sanities DO depend on those facts, so we study and own them because they’re the gateway to our futures.
So don’t feel bad that you don’t know them. It’s normal. (Trust me, 100% of us didn’t know many of these facts upon our arrival to the States.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO TAKE A CITIZENSHIP EXAM RIGHT NOW? Sure, why not?
Here are ten EASY and real Qs from the exam (all 100 have open-ended, one-line answers) with the answers at the bottom. You only have to get SIX correct. Practice these if you want to impress everyone at your next dinner party.
Hint: None of the answers
- Who vetoes bills? (Not a name, but a position within government.)
- What is an amendment?
- What is ONE right or freedom from the First Amendment?
- What are TWO rights in the Declaration of Independence?
- Name ONE branch of the government
- How many U.S. senators are there? (Bonus: How many U.S. representatives are there? [Tell me why Utah residents will like the answer to that one.])
- What is the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives now?
- Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? (Bonus: In what year was the Constitution written?)
- What ocean is on the East Coast of the United States?
- What is the name of the national anthem?
Answers: 1. The President; 2. A change/addition to the Constitution; 3. Speech/religion/assembly/press/petition the government; 4. Life/liberty/pursuit of happiness; 5. Judicial/Legislative/Executive; 6. 100 (Bonus: 435–a Utah area code!); 7. John Boehner [pronounced |Bay•ner|]; 8. Thomas Jefferson (Bonus: 1787); 9. Atlantic Ocean; 10. The Star-Spangled Banner.
So how did YOU do? (Remember you needed to get SIX right to become a citizen?) Do you think U.S.-born Americans should know more Civics? What would you suggest?