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How to Prepare and Study for Your U.S. Citizenship Test

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Is 2020 the year you plan to become a U.S. citizen? How exciting! Taking the U.S. Citizenship Test is a momentous occasion for immigrants and one that requires plenty of preparation.

As part of the naturalization process, an applicant for U.S. citizenship must pass a two-part test. The first part is an English test that assesses an applicant’s ability to read, write, and speak in the English language. The second is a civics test, evaluating an applicant’s knowledge of U.S. history and government.

Each applicant has two chances to take the exam, which usually takes place on the same day as the citizenship interview. It can be incredibly daunting but your friends at Golden Beacon USA are here to help you succeed! Keep reading for our useful guide on preparing for your U.S. Citizenship Test.

What to Expect on the English Exam

The English exam consists of three parts. The first test evaluates your English speaking skills. Here, an immigration officer will ask you simple questions about your application and evaluate your ability to speak and understand English.

Next up is an English reading test. An immigration officer will give you a digital tablet that will show three sentences, and you will be asked to read these out loud. You’re not expected to know every word, although it’s important that you don’t replace words with ones you do know. The immigration officer is looking to see if you understand the full meaning of the sentence.

Finally, you will complete a writing test where an immigration officer will read a sentence and ask you to write down what he says. A few misspellings or capitalization errors are allowed. Also, you can write out numbers, like seven, in word form or use symbols, i.e., 7. However, remember not to use any abbreviations as these will not count.

What to Expect on the Civics Test

With the Civics Test, you must demonstrate sufficient knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government by answering at least six out of 10 questions correctly. You will be asked questions randomly from a list of 100. You can see the complete list of questions asked on the civics test here (you may be able to find them in your own language too). You must study all 100 questions on the list — unless you’re aged 65 or older, in which case you’ll need to learn only the 20 questions marked with an asterisk (*).

How to Prepare

Studying well for these tests is critical if you want to become an American citizen. Our first piece of advice: start studying right away! The sooner you begin to familiarize yourself with the likely questions and necessary answers to these tests, the more confident you will feel when you take it. Starting early will give you a better chance of fixing any weaknesses you may have.

Another recommendation: read children’s books. Since most of the words and sentences you’ll come across on the English exam test your basic English skills, reading children’s books is an easy and fun way to prepare. If you’re more of a visual learner, check out English grammar videos on YouTube to help you understand the language better.

Finally, create some flashcards that’ll help you with the civics test. Write down any information you’re struggling to remember and study these cards whenever you have spare time – while eating breakfast, waiting for the bus, or at bedtime, for example. Write only one topic on each flashcard. When it comes to memorizing, it’s best to learn new information in smaller pieces.


Taking the U.S. Citizenship Test is a milestone in any immigrant’s journey towards making America his or her home. If you prepare well and in advance with the tips from our guide, passing this test will be easy for you. Looking for help preparing for the citizenship test? Check out Golden Beacon USA’s Resource Referrals to be matched with a tutor. Familiarize yourself with American culture by signing up for our e-learning videos subscription too! Have questions? Contact us today at laura@goldenbeaconusa.com or call or text (866) 403-7173. Remember, you are not alone!

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