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The Definitive Practice Test Guide for the U.S. Citizenship Test

About the U.S. Citizenship Test

The U.S. Citizenship Test, also known as the Naturalization Test, is an important step in the process of obtaining U.S. citizenship. The purpose of the test is to demonstrate applicants’ understanding and knowledge of U.S. history, government, and the English language. The test is administered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a component of the Department of Homeland Security.

Established in the early 20th century, the Naturalization Test has undergone numerous revisions, reflecting the country’s evolving values and priorities. The test is made up of two main sections: the English Test and the Civics Test.

The English Test assesses applicants’ reading, writing, and speaking abilities in English. The Civics Test evaluates the applicants’ understanding of U.S. history and government. In the current version of the test, applicants need to answer up to 10 out of a pool of 100 potential civics questions, with at least six correct answers to pass.

Sections of the U.S. Citizenship Test


This part of the naturalization process is included because it is required for progression to the actual tests involved. During the interview, a USCIS officer will ask you to take an oath of honesty while standing before him/her. Following the oath, the officer will review your N-400 application form with you. It is a good idea to be very familiar with the answers you supplied on this form and to be ready to discuss any changes that have occurred since you filed it. During this part, the officer will also be assessing your ability to understand and speak English. You are encouraged to ask the officer to repeat or rephrase questions if necessary. The only things that will cause you to fail the interview portion of the process are: demonstrating that you really do not understand the English language at all the discovery of any dishonesty in the application or in your responses to interview questions

There is no set time limit for this section, but failure to be able to respond to the interviewer’s questions may cause the officer to end the session and schedule a retest.


You will have three chances to read a sentence in English correctly. As in the initial interview, the officer will not be looking for absolutely perfect performance. You just need to be able to read the sentence in a way that does not cause it to lose meaning and in a way that an English speaker can understand.

There will be a reasonable time given for reading a sentence correctly. The officer will only conclude this section if it becomes apparent that you cannot do the task after you have been given three different sentences.

Your reading should also show that you understand the meaning of the sentence. The officer will be choosing sentences from an official list. You can practice reading words that may be in these sentences here.

You can also practice reading aloud for meaning by using our free Reading Practice Questions. These questions require you to decide which of four sentences makes sense, as it is written. This way, you can practice making sure what you read makes sense in English. The sentences contain words from the approved list, so you can also practice reading these words when they are used in a sentence.

U.S. History and Civics

The officer will choose questions from an official list of 100 questions on U.S. Government, American History, and Integrated Civics (geography, symbols, and holidays in the U.S.). He/she will ask you these questions and wait for your response. You will have a total of 10 chances to answer 6 questions correctly.

While there is no set time, the officer will give you a chance to give your answers in a reasonable amount of time. He/she will conclude the test when you either answer six questions correctly or it becomes apparent that you cannot do so, because of lack of knowledge or inability to respond in English.

The officer will ask the questions out loud and you will respond the same way. There is no reading or writing necessary on this portion of the U.S. Citizenship Test.


During this part of the naturalization test, a sentence will be read to you and you will be asked to write it down on paper. The officer is looking for basic writing skills that would make the sentence understandable to an English-reading person. You can make minor errors in spelling and still pass this test. However, do not use any abbreviations for words when you write. In other words, spell out government instead of writing govt.

You will be given a reasonable amount of time to complete your sentence and you will be given up to three attempts to do so.

What to Expect on Test Day

On the day of the U.S. Citizenship Test, you will be asked to arrive at your designated USCIS office at a specific time. The overall process may take a few hours, so plan accordingly. You will first be checked in and verified. After this, the actual examination will commence, starting with the English test followed by the Civics Test. Be prepared to answer questions verbally, in writing, and through reading English sentences.

What to Bring

On the test day, you should bring the appointment notice you received from USCIS, a form of identification such as your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card), and any other documents requested in your appointment notice. You may also want to bring relevant study materials for last-minute review while you wait, though these materials must be put away before the test begins.

What Not to Bring

Items not to bring on the test day include any electronic devices such as cell phones, smartwatches, cameras, or recording devices. These are not permitted in the testing area and can lead to disqualification. Additionally, avoid bringing large bags or unnecessary personal items as there might not be storage available. Finally, refrain from bringing any form of cheat sheets or unauthorized study materials into the testing area.

Best Ways to Study for the U.S. Citizenship Test

Studying for the U.S. Citizenship Test involves a blend of understanding U.S. history, government, and improving your English language skills. Here are some effective strategies to aid your preparation:

Take Practice Tests

Taking practice tests is one of the most beneficial ways to prepare for the U.S. Citizenship Test. Firstly, practice tests help familiarize you with the format of the exam, reducing anxiety and helping you understand what to expect on test day. Secondly, they allow you to gauge your current knowledge level and identify areas where you need to focus your study efforts.

The USCIS provides a list of 100 possible questions that could appear on the Civics Test. Completing practice tests using these questions can increase your confidence and improve your test-taking speed. Additionally, taking timed practice tests can help enhance your ability to think and respond quickly, a valuable skill for the actual exam.

Use Alternative Study Methods

Besides taking practice tests, consider using alternative study methods like study guides and flashcards. The USCIS provides official study materials, including a study guide for the Civics Test, a list of vocabulary words for the English Test, and even flashcards with potential test questions.

Utilizing flashcards can improve memorization through repetition and active recall. They can be particularly helpful for memorizing key historical dates, figures, and civics concepts. Moreover, study guides often provide comprehensive information in a condensed format, making them a great resource to comprehend broad topics in a short amount of time.

Simulate the Testing Experience

Simulating the test experience is another effective strategy for exam preparation. This involves replicating the conditions of the real test as closely as possible, which can help you improve your timing and endurance, and reduce stress on the actual test day.

You can simulate the test experience by taking timed practice tests without distractions, just like in the real exam setting. Try to follow the same rules that will apply during the actual test, such as not using your phone or other study aids. Remember to practice the English reading and writing sections as well, as these will also be timed during the test.

Additionally, consider doing long study sessions that mirror the length of the test. This can help you build endurance and figure out how to maintain focus over extended periods. By creating an exam-like environment, you’ll feel more prepared and confident on your test day.

U.S. Citizenship Test FAQ:

1. How often can I retake the U.S. Citizenship Test if I fail?

If you fail any portion of the U.S. Citizenship Test during your initial interview, you will be given a second opportunity to take that part of the test. The retest for the failed component, either English or Civics Test, will occur between 60 and 90 days after the initial interview.

2. Can the U.S. Citizenship Test be taken in a language other than English?

Generally, applicants are required to take the test in English. However, there are exceptions for individuals aged 50 or older who have lived as a permanent resident in the United States for 20 years or more, and for those aged 55 or older with at least 15 years of permanent residence. These individuals may take the test in their native language. Additionally, those with a medically determinable physical or mental impairment, where the impairment affects their ability to learn English, may be exempted.

3. How long does it usually take to prepare for the U.S. Citizenship Test?

The preparation time can vary significantly depending on an individual’s existing knowledge of U.S. history and government, as well as their English proficiency. On average, it might take several weeks to a few months of consistent study to prepare adequately. However, each individual should plan their study schedule based on their unique learning pace and available time.

4. Are there any fees associated with the U.S. Citizenship Test?

Yes, there is a fee to apply for U.S. citizenship, which includes taking the U.S. Citizenship Test. Currently the standard fee is $725, which includes the $640 naturalization application fee and an $85 biometrics fee. Fee waivers or reductions may be available to those who meet certain income requirements. For the most current fee information, please check the USCIS website.