How to Study and Pass US Citizenship Test

This article is a study guide for the U.S. Citizenship Test. If you are eligible to apply for US Citizenship and ready to file a naturalization application, you need to know what will happen during your naturalization interview.

At the interview, a USCIS Officer will ask you questions about your application and background. You will also take an English and civics test unless you qualify for an exemption or waiver.
The English test has three components: reading, writing, and speaking. The civics test covers important U.S. history and government topics. Before we go into detail on how to prepare for this test, it is highly recommend that you to watch a video that shows a standard naturalization interview.

NATURALIZATION INTERVIEW VIDEOTAPED

www.uscis.gov/citizenship/teachers/educational-products/uscis-naturalization-interview-and-test-video

READING TEST

To sufficiently demonstrate the ability to read in English, applicants must read one sentence, out of three sentences, in a manner suggesting to the USCIS Officer that the applicant appears to understand the meaning of the sentence. Once the applicant reads one of three sentences correctly, USCIS procedures require that the USCIS Officer will stop administering the reading test. Applicants shall not fail because of their accent when speaking in English. A general description of how the reading test is scored follows:

Passing means:

  • Reads one sentence without extended pauses.
  • Reads all content words but may omit short words that do not interfere with meaning.
  • May make pronunciation or intonation errors that do not interfere with meaning.

Failing means:

  • Does not read the sentence.
  • Omits a content word or substitutes another word for a content word.
  • Pauses for extended periods of time while reading the sentence.
  • Makes pronunciation or intonation errors that interfere with meaning.

The best way to prepare for a reading test is to read out loud in English to a friend or relative who is fluent in English. Your goal is to make the listener understand the reading material. Making grammatical mistakes or omitting articles is okay as long as the listener understands the content of your reading. USCIS uses simple and common words in the testing sentences. You can find those words here: www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Office%20of%20Citizenship/Citizenship%20Resource%20Center%20Site/Publications/PDFs/M-715_reading.pdf

If you feel you need help with your English skills you can seek help in your community. It’s very likely that your community (or a community near you) offers a variety of classes and services that can help prepare you for the Naturalization Interview and Test. To find local resources near you check this website: www.uscis.gov/citizenship/learners/find-help-your-community

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WRITING TEST

To sufficiently demonstrate the ability to write in English, the applicant must write one sentence, out of three sentences, in a manner that would be understandable, as written, to the USCIS Officer. An applicant must not abbreviate any dictated word in the written sentence. Once the applicant writes one of three sentences correctly, USCIS procedures require that the USCIS Officer will stop administering the writing test. An applicant shall not fail because of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation errors unless the errors would prevent understanding the meaning of the sentence. A general description of how the writing portion is scored follows below:

Pass means:

  • Has the same general meaning as the dictated sentence.
  • May contain some grammatical, spelling, punctuation, or capitalization errors that do not interfere with meaning.
  • May omit short words that do not interfere with meaning.
  • Numbers may be spelled out or written as digits.

Failing means:

  • Writes nothing or only one or two isolated words.
  • Is completely illegible.
  • Writes a different sentence or words.
  • Written sentence does not communicate the meaning of the dictated sentence.
  • Writes an abbreviation for a dictated word.

The only way to learn how to write and spell words correctly is to write. USCIS uses common and simple words for its writing test. You can find those words here www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Office%20of%20Citizenship/Citizenship%20Resource%20Center%20Site/Publications/PDFs/M-715_writing.pdf
If you feel you need help with studying find a local community center near you here https://www.uscis.gov/citizenship/learners/find-help-your-community

CIVICS TEST

To sufficiently demonstrate knowledge of U.S. government and history (civics), the applicant must answer six of ten questions correctly. The civics test will be an oral examination. Once the applicant answers six questions correctly, USCIS procedures require that the USCIS Officer will stop administering the civics test. You need to study and learn answers to 100 questions. You can find downloadable flashcards with civic questions and correct answers here. www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Office%20of%20Citizenship/Citizenship%20Resource%20Center%20Site/Publications/PDFs/M-623_red_slides.pdf

Once you receive your interview date, make a weekly schedule and devote a certain amount of time per day to studying for the naturalization test. Make sure you stick to your schedule as much as possible and remember, the better you are prepared for the exams, the more confident you will feel during your naturalization interview. Good Luck!

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