How to Pass the US Citizenship Test

Instructor: Andrea Losa
Passing the U.S. Citizenship test requires a good deal of preparation for most applicants. Read on to learn how you can achieve passing scores and gain some tips for success on the exam.

Know What's on the Test

To pass this test, you need to know what's on it. The two sections of the U.S. Citizenship exam are English (which tests speaking, reading, and writing skills) and civics. The information on the English test concerns various topics, including U.S. historical figures, major cities, states, and holidays. On the reading portion of the English test, you will be presented with three statements in English. To pass this section, you will need to read one statement correctly. For the writing part, you will need to write one given sentence correctly to pass. Your English speaking abilities will be tested with an interview.

On the civics exam, you will be presented with 10 out of a possible 100 questions pertaining to U.S. History and government. To pass this portion, you must provide six correct responses.

Use Study Guides and Test Prep Materials

The official United States Citizenship and Immigration Services website offers many resources to help applicants prepare for the naturalization test, including a complete listing of possible questions on the civics portion of the exam and lists of terms you will encounter on the speaking, reading and writing portions of the exam. Take time to review all available preparation materials with the help of a study partner who is fluent in English and your native language, if possible. Use study methods that are most beneficial to you, including making flash cards, to help you grasp the material. also offers numerous courses, lessons, and chapters, as well as practice quizzes and exams, that allow prospective citizens to prepare for the naturalization test. This chapter of lessons on United States History: Citizenship & the Constitution covers material on the civics portion of the exam, and this US Citizenship Study Guide can walk you through the naturalization process and each section of the exam.

Practice Your English Reading, Writing, and Speaking Skills

To pass the naturalization test, you must demonstrate a basic proficiency in the English language. This includes the ability to understand spoken questions in English, respond to questions in English, write simple sentences in English, and read aloud statements in English. In preparing for the English portion of the exam, applicants should try to practice the following:

  • Reading aloud and writing out all the possible test terms provided on the USCIS website
  • Reviewing the list of civics questions and having a study partner read them to you
  • Reading aloud the listing of civics questions and practicing your responses in English
  • Familiarizing yourself with the English language by reading newspapers and magazines, watching television shows, and speaking English everyday

Attend Classes in Your Community

The USCIS website can direct you to citizenship classes in your area. These classes can help not only with learning all the test material but also with understanding the citizenship process and obtaining legal assistance, if necessary. Even if you are practicing with a study partner, getting a little additional assistance and connecting to others who are also preparing for the exam will only help ensure your success on the test.

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