Chicago Law Office of Christine Contreras

US Citizenship: How to Prepare for Your Civics Test

The United States citizenship test, and the United States Civics Test portion, is a huge milestone on the path to a new life as an American citizen.

However, the test can be intimidating for some. The Civics test is a big deal for those hoping to gain naturalization and citizenship in the United States. The entire study guide can be downloaded to your device for free on USCIS.gov, along with other helpful information about the United States citizenship process. With some guidance, some time to study, and access to the materials provided, you should have no problem overcoming this obstacle on your journey to citizenship.

What to Expect

The United States Civics exam is a part of the naturalization test. There is an English test, and a Civics test.

The Civics test of 2020 contains 128 questions regarding United States history and processes. Applicants should study and be familiar with the information and answers to these questions.

The test itself will only ask 20 of these questions, and applicants must answer 12 correctly. While it may seem daunting, the test is certainly passable, and much of the knowledge contained is fairly commonplace.

The test is performed orally, with an immigration officer reading the questions out loud to you.

Here is a helpful tip when you are studying:

Practice saying your answers out loud. Some applicants may waive the English portion, but practicing pronunciation of your answers will help you and your officer determine if your answers are correct.

How to Prepare

Download all of the available materials online.

Prepare by going through the questions, and reading the answers. A lot of the answers will have common associations. Once you have read through your questions, and have some idea what the answers are, try taking the test. Do a mock interview and oral test with a loved one. Keep track of answers that stumped you. Repetition will keep answers fresh in your mind, and help to create a neural pathway in your brain. You will learn the information while you are trying to remember the answer.

You can also divide the answers or questions by subject.

If you know the answers to questions, highlight them and do not practice them. If you have problems remembering some questions, and you cannot seem to remember the answer, group these questions into a different area. Create flashcards and glance at them whenever you get time. Practice speaking and hearing the questions and answers whenever you can.

What happens after the test?

Once you have answered 6 questions correctly, your officer will conclude the test. Your officer will tell you whether or not you have gotten each question right. If you pass the test, you are almost a citizen!

You will be given two tries to pass each section of the test.If you cannot pass you will receive a chance to retest somewhere between 60-90 days after your interview. That is about 2 months of extra time for studying and practicing English.

Whether you pass or not, you will need to wait for a letter of decision on form N-400, which you submitted at the beginning of the process. Your decision letter will either say Granted, Continued, or Denied.

If you have Granted, congratulations, you did it! If you get Continued, congratulations, you still have a chance to retest or submit additional information.

But if you receive Denied, it is not the end. There are options to appeal this decision, and you should reach out to an immigration attorney with years of experience assisting people just like you. If you have any questions about the naturalization process, reach out to us today!