How to Study for the US Citizenship Test

Instructor: Andrea Losa
The United States naturalization, or citizenship, exam consists of an applicant interview, an English reading test, an English writing test, and an oral US civics test. Read on to learn what you will need to know for the exam, where to find resources to help you prepare for the test, and possible testing exemptions and accommodations.

Understand What's On the US Citizenship Test

To prepare for the citizenship exam, you should first familiarize yourself with what is on the test. There are two main sections on the exam, which are outlined below.

English Test

In this portion of the exam, applicants are presented with three English sentences for each task. In one exercise, they'll be asked to correctly read at least one of them out loud. The other exercise requires applicants to correctly write one of the three sample sentences. Some of the vocabulary words test takers will need to know include US holidays, states, neighboring countries, historical figures, basic English verbs, prepositions, and question words.

To complete the speaking requirement, applicants are interviewed by immigration officers who determine their English speaking ability and eligibility for citizenship. The questions concern applicants' responses on their citizenship applications.

Civics Test

Applicants are asked a total of 10 questions concerning U.S. government, history, and civics. They will need to correctly answer 6 of them to pass this section. There are 100 possible questions.

Find English Language and Civics Help Online

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website features many free preparatory materials for the exam. Available resources include:

  • Downloadable test booklets and a list of all 100 possible civics test questions
  • Vocabulary lists and flash cards of terms included on the reading and writing tests
  • Online practice tests and vocabulary for the naturalization interview

In addition to materials on the USCIS site, offers numerous resources that can help naturalization applicants prepare for the English language and civics tests. Test takers can find courses, video lessons, and practice tests in these subjects through the links below:

Locate Citizenship Classes in Your Area

The official USCIS site can also direct applicants to resources in their community that will help them prepare for the citizenship test. Test takers may search for nearby citizenship classes by entering their location into an online directory of education providers. They may also find links to legal services offered at low-cost or even for free.

Learn About US Citizenship Test Accommodations

Applicants who are over the age of 50 or 55 and have held legal residency in the U.S. for at least 15 (at 55) or 20 years (at 50) are eligible for exemption from the English language testing requirement. Applicants will still need to take the civics exam in their native language and must be accompanied by an interpreter who is fluent in English during their interview. Other testing exemptions and accommodations on the grounds of disability and continuous residency can be reviewed on the official USCIS website.

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