New Citizenship Test To Become An American Citizen: Can You Pass It?

Foxnews. Com posted this story on the new citizenship test that immigrants take before they become American citizens. I thought our supporters would like to test themselves on how well they know American history. The CCA staff did overall pretty well on the answers.

Never mind being smarter than a fifth-grader. Are you smart enough to be a U.S. citizen? (FOXNEWS.COM)

The Citizenship and Immigration Services has re-designed the citizenship test for immigrants who want to become naturalized Americans, revamping the questions for the first time since 1986.

The new test "demonstrates that they really are trying very hard to learn about this country. It will make them better citizens," said Chris Rhatigan, spokeswoman for USCIS.

But how would a born-and-bred American or an already naturalized American fare on the new exam? FOXNews.com put the test to the test, and the results were mixed.

There are 100 questions on the new oral exam, which will be used as of October 1 (immigrants who applied for citizenship prior to October 1 get to take the old version) — and none of them should be a surprise. All applicants are given all 100 questions, as well as the answers, in advance, and they are encouraged to study. When they sit down for the test, they are asked 10 at random; they have to get six of them right to pass.

The exam — designed with the input of adult educators, English teachers and community organizations that work with immigrants — asks questions about American history, the U.S. government, the rights of citizens and geography. Immigrants must also pass an English writing test.

And it's not as easy as you might think.

FOXNews.com went to Times Square in New York City and gave a sample test to 10 people — eight American-born U.S. citizens, one naturalized citizen and one British man who is hoping to become a citizen in a few months.

We also administered the test to a third-grader, a fifth-grader and an eighth-grader. We did not give them time to study.

From the full list of questions we asked the following 10:

1. What does the Constitution do?
2. What do we call the first 10 amendments to the Constitution?
3. Name one branch or part of the government.
4. We elect a U.S. representative for how many years?
5. How many justices are on the Supreme Court?
6. How old do citizens have to be to vote for President?
7. When is the last day you can send in federal income tax forms?
8. There were 13 original states. Name three.
9. Who was president during World War I?
10. Name one U.S. territory.

(The answers are below, at the bottom of this story.)

The first people we asked were Julie and Peter Caruth, 66 and 68. The Sacramento residents answered nine of the 10 questions correctly, tripping up only on how old citizens had to be to vote for president.

They answered 21 years old — which was the correct answer for when they became eligible to vote. But the 26th Amendment was ratified in 1971, making the current voting age 18 throughout the United States.

Brian Billings, 69, a retiree from Tulsa, Okla., knew how old you needed to be to vote, but was stumped when asked: "Who was the president during World War I?"

"That's a good question," he replied. The correct answer: Woodrow Wilson. Of those who missed that one, the most common response was Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was president during World War II (the answer to another of the 100 questions on the government's test).

Andee Scarantino, 23, a New York waitress, missed on Wilson and on something very important in the lives of adults in America: Tax Day. Scarantino guessed that federal income taxes are due April 24.

It's actually April 15. But as Billings pointed out, extensions can be granted, as long as you apply for them by April 15.

Our third-, fifth- and eighth-graders didn't know when taxes were due, either, but we gave them a pass on that, since they have a few years before they have to worry about making sure Uncle Sam gets his due. (Their parents, on the other hand, are another story.)

Our third-grader got four of 10. The fifth- and eighth-grader each got six of 10, good enough to become U.S. citizens. They knew what the Constitution did and could name three of the 13 original states.

All three answered that William Howard Taft was president during World War I, leading FOXNews.com to believe that they may have collaborated on parts of the test.

British citizen Hanks Johnson Oshinaike, 40, a motivational speaker who hopes to become a U.S. citizen before the end of the year, got six of the 10 right, eking out a passing grade. He missed Tax Day, how long a congressman serves in one term, and Woodrow Wilson.

David T., a 43-year-old engineer who from Princeton, N.J., who declined to give his last name, became a U.S. citizen in 2003. He got eight of the 10 questions right five years after passing the government's old citizenship test. He didn't get the Woodrow Wilson question and the question the most often incorrectly answered on our list: "How many justices are on the Supreme Court?"

Five of the 10 test-takers missed the mark, guessing between seven and 12. (There are nine.)

While he didn't know how many justices were on the court, 42-year-old Willie Johnson, a contractor from Brooklyn, was able to name several members of the sitting court and a few former Justices.

On his list: William Rehnquist, Sandra Day O'Connor, David H. Souter, Clarence Thomas and Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

"I used to be great at history," said Johnson, shaking his head. He got five of the 10 questions right, not enough to pass. "I've got two kids entering college. My mind is scattered. … I was trying. I was trying."

John Jenkins, 42, an operating engineer from Smithtown, N.Y., managed to get eight of 10 questions right — missing the number of Supreme Court justices and the number of years a member of Congress is elected.

Lawrence, 59, and Kim Chapman, 52, of San Diego, got the same questions wrong as Jenkins.

"It was a little tricky," Jenkins said. "I haven't been asked those questions in a long time."

The Answers:

1. Sets up the government, Defines the government, Protects basic rights of Americans
2. Bill of Rights
3. Legislative, Executive, Judicial, Congress, the President, the courts
4. 2 years
5. 9
6. 18
7. April 15
8. New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia
9. Woodrow Wilson
10. Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam

 

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