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U.S. Citizenship Test Overview

The U.S. Citizenship test is a two-part naturalization test. The first part is the English test while the second part is the Civics test. Anyone who wishes to become a U.S. citizen must pass both parts of the Citizenship test.

Most naturalization applicants must take both parts of the Citizenship test, but there are some exemptions made based on an individual’s age or time as a green card holder. All applicants will have 2 chances to take the Citizenship exam.

We will go over what is on the U.S. Citizenship test and resources to help you.

What is on the Citizenship Test?

First off, some people refer to the U.S. Citizenship test as the “naturalization exam,” so do not get these two terms confused – they are the same thing.

The Citizenship test is composed of 2 components:

  1. English component
  2. Civics component

English Component

The English portion of the Citizenship test has 3 parts:

  • Speaking test
  • Reading test
  • Writing test

On the speaking test, the immigration officer will ask you specific questions about your citizenship application. These questions are meant to evaluate your speaking abilities. It is a good idea to review your application before taking the Citizenship test.

On the reading test, you will be given a digital device. A sentence will appear on the device and the immigration office will ask you to read it aloud. Try to avoid long pauses when reading these sentences. Use our Citizenship test questions for examples of vocabulary words used in the reading test.

On the writing test, you will also be given a digital device. The immigration officer will read 3 sentences aloud to you. You must write 1 out of 3 sentences correctly. You will write these sentences on the digital device using a stylus. Use our U.S. Citizenship test questions for examples of vocabulary words used in the writing test.

Civics Component

This portion of the test is designed to test your knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government. The immigration officer will randomly select 20 questions and read them aloud to you. You will try your best to answer each question.

In order to pass the Civics portion of the Citizenship exam, you must answer 12 out of 20 questions correctly. As soon as you answer 12 questions correctly, the exam will end and you will have passed.

There are a total of 128 potential questions that can be asked on the Civics component of the U.S. Citizenship test. You can review our Citizenship practice test for all 128 questions that could be asked. The practice tests include automatic scoring and answer explanations.

Citizenship Test Changes

There were some changes made to the Citizenship test that went into place starting December 2020.

Some of the changes to the Citizenship test include:

  • The test is longer – applicants are now required to answer 12/20 questions correctly instead of the previously required 6/10 questions.
  • The test is more complex – instead of there only being 100 possible questions they could ask you, there are now 128 possible questions you could be asked.

How Do I Study for the Citizenship Test

Applicants who properly prepare for the U.S. Citizenship test should have no problem passing the exam. However, if you do not properly prepare, you may have some difficulties passing the exam.

One of the best ways to prepare for Civics portion of the exam is by taking answering Citizenship test questions. There are 128 possible questions for the Civics portion, and every single question is released to you before taking the exam. Take advantage of our 100% free practice tests to prepare for the Civics portion of the exam.

One of the best ways to prepare for the English portion of the exam is by simply reading books. The books do not have to be difficult or long, children’s books will work well because many of the vocabulary words used in the English test will be words you encounter in children’s books.

After Taking the Citizenship Test

After taking your U.S. Citizenship test, you can expect to hear from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). They will inform you of your results, typically on the same day.

Passing Applicants

If you passed your Citizenship test, congratulations! You are almost done with the naturalization process – there will be a couple of things you need to complete, which USCIS will inform you of.

What Happens If You Fail the Citizenship Test

Non-Passing Applicants (First Exam)

If you did not pass your Citizenship test, you will be able to retake the portions you did not pass. However, the questions on the second test will be different from the questions you were asked the first time. Your second exam will usually take place 60 to 90 days after your original exam happened.

Non-Passing Applicants (Second Exam)

If you did not pass your Citizenship exam the second time around, you will have a chance to appeal the denial within 30 days with USCIS. If your request is granted, a hearing will be scheduled within 180 days.

During that hearing, a USCIS officer will re-test you on the portion of the exam that you did not pass on your second attempt.

Frequently Asked Questions

For the Civics portion, you will be asked 20 questions. You will need to answer 12 out of 20 questions correctly.

The English portion is split into 3 different categories: Speaking, Reading, and Writing.

  • Speaking – no set number of questions
  • Reading – 3 sentences total
  • Writing – 3 sentences total

For the reading and writing sections, you can stop once you have properly read or wrote a sentence correctly.

It costs $725 to go through the naturalization process and take the Citizenship test.

It is $640 for the filing fee and $85 for the biometric fee.

Applicants who put in the proper effort before taking the exam should not have any problems.

The USCIS releases all 128 official questions for the Civics portion of the exam, so you have the ability to see all of these questions beforehand.

You can take our Citizenship practice test to see all 128 of those questions.

Dave Evangelisti
Dave is our founder and CEO. He has 20+ years of experience in the testing and test prep industry.