Celebrate your citizenship: (hint) It’s not a meritocracy!

For several years, I spent the 4th of July at community festivals (like everyone else is watching fireworks, eating fried foods, and hanging out) at a booth with a big map of the world, asking people to put pins up to show where their families originated, with the goal of highlighting our nation’s history of immigration and the common ideals that bind us together. Part of this was always administering sample citizenship tests, too, to give people an idea of what prospective naturalized citizens are expected to know in order to ‘win’ admittance to our country. Inevitably, people don’t do as well as they think they will, and there were usually some nervous laughs about “you’re not going to take it back, are you?”

No, I’m not.

But I do want to challenge you, readers, with your own sample citizenship test. If you do wonderfully, congratulations! If you don’t do so well (or really, even if you do), please consider volunteering to help immigrants studying for the naturalization test (still one of my most rewarding volunteer experiences), or registering newly-naturalized folks to vote after a naturalization ceremony (contact the League of Women Voters in your area to see if they already have this covered).

As the USCIS examiners do, I randomly chose 10 questions for your sample test. You must answer at least 6 correctly to pass. In my opinion, this is a pretty good reflection of the difficulty of the questions; you lucked out on the one about the 13 original colonies! Imagine, if you will, that these questions are all in a foreign language; that will make it more realistic. I’ll post the answers tomorrow. Buena suerte!

1. How many amendments does the Constitution have?
2. We elect a U.S. Senator for how many years?
3. The House of Representatives has how many voting members?
4. If both the President and the Vice President can no longer serve, who becomes President?
5. What are two Cabinet-level positions?
6. How many justices are on the Supreme Court?
7. Who is the Chief Justice of the United States now?
8. What is the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives now?
9. There are four amendments to the Constitution about who can vote. Explain one of them.
10. The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Name one of the writers.

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