Redesigned Naturalization Test
In the interest of creating a more standardized, fair, and meaningful
naturalization process, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
recently completed a multi-year redesign of the naturalization test. The revised
test, with an emphasis on the fundamental concepts of American democracy and the
rights and responsibilities of citizenship, will help encourage citizenship
applicants to learn and identify with the basic values we all share as
Over the past decade, several in-depth studies of the naturalization test
revealed concerns with the test’s content, how the test was being administered,
and how it was being scored. To address these concerns, the federal government
launched a test redesign in 2000. In April 2005, the USCIS Office of Citizenship
took over responsibility for this redesign. A panel of adult education experts
affiliated with Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), U.S.
history and government scholars, expert test development contractors, and other
external stakeholders provided input into the redesign.
The major aim of the redesign process is to ensure that naturalization
applicants have uniform, consistent testing experiences nationwide, and that the
civics test can effectively assess whether applicants have a meaningful
understanding of U.S. government and history. Following a basic U.S. history and
civics curriculum, the redesigned test will serve as an important instrument to
encourage civic learning and patriotism among prospective citizens.
To accomplish these goals, USCIS initially piloted a new test–with an
overhauled English reading and writing section, as well as new history and
government questions–in ten sites across the country. The feedback from this
pilot was then used to finalize testing procedures, English reading and writing
prompts, and a list of 100 new history and government questions. To ensure the
pilot accounted for a representative sample of candidates with a variety of
education levels, the test was also piloted at adult education sites
The resulting redesigned test was publicly introduced on September 27, 2007.
Naturalization applicants will begin taking the revised test on October
Which Test Do I Take?
Following the public introduction of the redesigned naturalization test
on September 27, 2007, there will be one full year before naturalization
applicants begin taking the revised test. This period will allow adult educators
and immigrants working toward citizenship sufficient time to prepare for the
redesigned test. The following guidelines will determine whether naturalization
applicants will take the current test or the redesigned version:
If an applicant:
- Applies BEFORE October 1,
2008 and is scheduled for his or her naturalization interview BEFORE
October 1, 2008, he or she will take the current test.
- Applies BEFORE October 1,
2008 and is scheduled for his or her naturalization interview AFTER
October 1, 2008, he or she can choose to take the current test or the
- Applies AFTER October 1,
2008, he or she will take the redesigned version.
- Is scheduled for his or her naturalization
interview AFTER October 1, 2009, regardless of when he or she
applied, he or she will take the redesigned version.