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Redesigned Naturalization Test

Effective October 1, 2008


About the Redesigned Test

On September 27, 2007, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a press release announcing that it will begin administering a redesigned naturalization test in October 2008. The redesigned exam was test piloted by six thousand citizenship applicants over a four-month period, and also at adult education sites nationwide.

The new naturalization test takes effect on October 1, 2008. The older test will be made available for some applicants until it is completely phased out on October 1, 2009.

What's New in the Redesigned Test?

The redesigned test is all about understanding the concepts of democracy and citizenship rather than the rote memorization of historical facts. It is the hope of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that the new test will encourage applicants to identify with American values. As Alfonso Aguilar, chief of the Office of Citizenship at USCIS has said, "It's no longer a test about how many starts are on the flag or how many stripes..It's a test that describes and captures the applicant's knowledge of those aspects of American history, society and civics that they will one day be raising their hands to support."

Which Test Do I Take?

How do you know which test you need to take? Here's the breakdown:

  • OLD TEST: If your N-400 receipt date and date of initial test is before October 1, 2008
  • OLD TEST or NEW TEST (applicant's choice): If your N-400 receipt date and date of initial test is on or after October 1, 2008 up until October 1, 2009
  • NEW TEST: If your N-400 receipt date and date of initial test is on or after October 1, 2008

What's On the Test?

The test is comprised of a civics portion to test your understanding of American history, society and civics; as well as an English language test which shows that you are able to speak, read and write English in a manner which is easily understood by the USCIS interviewing officer.

  • Civics: You will be asked 10 questions from a list of 100 questions. You must correctly answer at least 6 of the 10 questions to pass the civics portion of the exam.
  • Speaking: The USCIS officer will assess if your understand English by an exchange of general questions and answers throughout the course of the interview.
  • Reading: You must read one of three sentences in a manner that demonstrates to the USCIS officer that you understand the meaning of the sentence.
  • Writing: You must write one of three sentences so that it is understandable to the USCIS officer.

What If I Fail the Test?

If you fail either the English or civics parts of the test on your first attempt, you will be allowed to retake the test. The test will be the same version as the one you took during your first attempt, even if the retest is scheduled on or after October 1, 2009.

Where Can I Find Study Materials?

USCIS provides study materials for the redesigned naturalization test including a list of the 100 civic questions and a vocabulary list for both the reading and writing tests.

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