So You Want to Become an American?

by Roger Alford

One of my students recently took the naturalization test and was kind enough to share with me the “Quick Civic Lessons” that the government hands out to help prepare for the test. Most questions are terribly easy, but I would suspect a few are hard for the average would-be American:

15. Who Elects the President of the United States?

19. How many changes, or amendments, are there to the Constitution?

28. How many voting members are in the House of Representatives?

38. Who Becomes President if both the President and Vice President die?

67. What was the 50th state to be added to our Union?

72. Name the amendments that guarantee or address voting rights?

75. Whose rights are guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?

88. What U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services form is used to apply for naturalized citizenship?

89. What kind of government does the United States have?

90. Name one of the purposes of the United Nations?

93. What is the most important right granted to United States citizens?

The official answers, with explanations, are below (bonus points if you can spot the wrong answer):

4 Responses

  1. Roger, Periodic surveys always find that a majority of high school seniors would fail the test (which was recently revised, in trivial respects – see my post here).

    Q75 is also incorrect in this respect: noncitizens in the US don’t enjoy constitutional protections in the context of immigration proceedings.

  2. One little bit of history I learned from a bankruptcy judge in Cleveland that many of the questions on the naturalization test were identical to questions on the literacy tests used to keep blacks from voting in the South.



  3. The question of which right is the most important is hopelessly subjective. It really doesn’t belong on this exam.

  4. 93. What is the most important right granted to United States citizens?

    The right to sell firearms to almost anybody without caring for the consequences. No ? Am I wrong ?

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