Skip to Main Content

American Citizenship Guide: Civics Test Sections and Adminstration

This is a guide on how to navigate the U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Process with links to guides, organizations, and other resources to help you through the process from start to finish.

Naturalization Test

Naturalization Test Components: (Click here for more information)

  • US History
  • US Government 
  • Integrated Civics
    • Geography
    • Symbols
    • Holidays
  • English
    • Speaking/Listening
    • Reading/Writing

Civic Test Components 2008 Version:

  • 100 questions
  • Multiple possible answers
  • Forms
  • 10 standard test forms
  • Each form weighted for fairness
  • 3 tests with 10 questions on each form

Civic Test Component 2020 Version (What we know to date):

  • 128 questions

  • Multiple possible answers

  • Each form weighted for fairness

  • Must get 12 out 20 questions correct to pass

Note: Special considerations for tests given to people who been in the US for a number of years legally and meet certain age requirements

Civics Test: Administration:

  • Civics test is oral exam
  • Officer randomly selects a test form
  • Officer asks questions out loud 
  • Officer will repeat and rephrase questions as needed
  • Officer stops 6 correct answers

Reading Test Components (4 components):

  • Alphabetics: Process in which readers can identify words
  • Vocabulary: The body or words whose meanings a person knows and understands
  • Fluency: The ability to read with efficiency and ease
  • Comprehension: The process and product of understanding text

Reading Test Administration:

  • Officer randomly chooses a test form
  • Officer has applicant read the first item.  If applicant fails then he or she reads the second item and so on
  • Applicant must read ONLY 1 of 3 sentences correctly to pass
  • Officer stops asking the questions after applicant reads 1 sentence correctly

Writing Test Components:

  • Content covers fundamental concepts of US History
  • Applicant is dictated a declarative sentence (Must write down the stated question)
  • Writing test sentences are NOT available to the public
  • Vocabulary words are publicly available

Writing Test Administration:

  • Officer randomly chooses a test
  • Officer asks applicant to “Write down exactly what I say on the first line” (Line number 1)
  • If applicant fails the officer dictates next sentence and so on
  • Applicant must only write 1 of 3 sentences correctly
  • Officer stops after applicant writes 1 sentence correctly

Speaking Test Components:

  • Applicants are asked questions from their N-400 applications during the interview part
  • The officer is required to repeat and rephrase questions until he os she is satisfied that the applicant fully understands the question
Speaking Test Administration:
  • Applicant does not need to understand every term, word, or phrase on Form N-400
  • Applicant has sufficiently demonstrated his/her ability to speak English if she or he can respond meaningfully to the questions
  • Officer draws a red line on Form N-400 where the interview stopped