The US Citizenship Test Gets Big Changes — Could You Pass?

If you've already memorized how many stars are on the US flag in preparation for the citizenship test, look out, new types of questions are being implemented — and the emphasis is shifting away from trivia questions that can be memorized to conceptual questions that emphasize practical aspects of being an American citizen. Chief of US Citizenship and Immigration Services office said of the changes, "What we're against is rote memorization of trivial and arbitrary facts that have no impact in a citizen's life or do not cover fundamental concepts of American democracy."


Here's what a sample change looks like: "The House of Representatives has how many voting members?" would now read: "Why do some states have more representatives?" It's a change that would require a greater sophistication with English, and one that could be much more advanced and difficult for some, especially the elderly. One immigration services program director says that tons of citizens couldn't pass the old test — the new fancier, harder one is "just going to widen that gap between the person who passes the test and the average American, who doesn't have a clue."

The old test will be around for another year. Anyone who applied by Tuesday can choose their test, as long as they take it within the year. Though the real test isn't multiple choice, I've picked five questions from the new test so you can test your mettle.

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