These Are the Hardest Questions on the U.S. Citizenship Test

Slide 1 of 22: It’s no secret that the United States is a country of immigrants. Despite recent political moods, the nation has a long history of welcoming foreigners from all over the world. Up to 780,000 people become American citizens every year.  They need to meet several requirements, one of which is knowledge of U.S. history and government. This is done by taking a citizenship test. But there are no surprises. A United States Citizenship and Immigration Services officer randomly selects 10 questions from a list of 100, and reads them in English to the would-be citizen, who must answer at least six correctly. Some questions are easy -- who is the president of the United States or what are the two main political parties. Others, however, can make even citizens think twice. In fact, just 36% of Americans would pass a multiple choice test with questions from the civics test, according to a 2018 national survey conducted by Lincoln Park Strategies, an analytic research firm.  The good news is that, even though some questions have multiple correct answers, a person only has to know one. No one will have to, for example, memorize all 56 people who signed the Declaration of Independence.  To compile a list of the 21 hardest civics questions in the naturalization test, 24/7 Tempo reviewed several sources, including a 2011 study by Paula Winke, a professor at Michigan State University who studies language and language testing, a 2018 national survey conducted by Lincoln Park Strategies, an analytic research firm, and two online guides for the U.S. citizenship test. The questions on the following list are in no particular order, but all of them were considered the most difficult by these sources.

It’s no secret that the United States is a country of immigrants. Despite recent political moods, the nation has a long history of welcoming foreigners from all over the world. Up to 780,000 people become American citizens every year.

They need to meet several requirements, one of which is knowledge of U.S. history and government. This is done by taking a citizenship test. But there are no surprises. A United States Citizenship and Immigration Services officer randomly selects 10 questions from a list of 100, and reads them in English to the would-be citizen, who must answer at least six correctly.

Some questions are easy — who is the president of the United States or what are the two main political parties. Others, however, can make even citizens think twice. In fact, just 36% of Americans would pass a multiple choice test with questions from the civics test, according to a 2018 national survey conducted by Lincoln Park Strategies, an analytic research firm.

The good news is that, even though some questions have multiple correct answers, a person only has to know one. No one will have to, for example, memorize all 56 people who signed the Declaration of Independence.

To compile a list of the 21 hardest civics questions in the naturalization test, 24/7 Tempo reviewed several sources, including a 2011 study by Paula Winke, a professor at Michigan State University who studies language and language testing, a 2018 national survey conducted by Lincoln Park Strategies, an analytic research firm, and two online guides for the U.S. citizenship test. The questions on the following list are in no particular order, but all of them were considered the most difficult by these sources.

Slide 2 of 22: About two-thirds of Americans either incorrectly identified or were unsure of which states were among the original 13, according to a 2018 national survey conducted by Lincoln Park Strategies, an analytic research firm. There are several tips to memorize at least three. Perhaps the easiest one is to remember the three states whose names start with "New." These are New York, New Jersey, and New Hampshire. Here are all 13: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island.

Slide 4 of 22: Some may consider this a tricky question. Maybe most people will go for an answer that focuses on independence, and this is not wrong. It's just not a direct cause for the war. About 24% of Americans knew the correct answer, according to the 2018 poll. The three possible correct answers are: because of high taxes (taxation without representation); because the British army stayed in their houses (boarding, quartering); and because the colonists didn't have self-government.

Slide 13 of 22: Maybe this is among the most difficult questions because people automatically think 1776, which was the year the Declaration of Independence was signed. The correct answer is 1787. ALSO READ: Presidents With the Best and Worst Relationships With Congress

There you have it.  The hardest questions found on the U.S. citizenship test.    How did you do ?

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Author: Dennis Hickey

There are no limits to success to those who never stop learning. I want to help you succeed by sharing what I have learned about life skills. Knowing these skills can nourish your personal growth. I hope you enjoy this blog, and visit often so you keep learning too!

One thought on “These Are the Hardest Questions on the U.S. Citizenship Test”

  1. I had to answer three questions back in 2014, and I don’t think they were all really from the actual test. The first asked for the name of the first US president. The second asked who was currently governor in my home state. The third asked which movement Martin Luther King JR had an instrumental role in. So, the answers were George Washington, John Kitzhaber (Oregon), and the Civil Rights Movement. I felt I got off easy – I had expected far worse!

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