As part of the Naturalization process, all applicants have to take the Naturalization test. As the applicants span the spectrum of races and cultures, it is important they understand the native language of the US, English. Applicants should also prove basic understanding of the US government (Civics). The test has turned out to be a simpler one with the average national pass rate at 92 percentage.
Though it is true now that the applicants have to take the citizenship test as it was earlier, applicants filing on or after October 1, 2008 have to take a new test. This is because the USCIS re-designed the existing questions and released a new bunch of test questions on Oct. 1, 2008. However, the format of the newer version remains the same. Most applicants should prove their proficiency in the English language by reading, writing and speaking. Not to forget the Civics test.
It is worth mentioning the earlier version because it had many questions surrounding basic historical facts of the US. Without taking away the sheen, many of these questions were re-designed and the new test now requires more than just a one-word answer from the applicant to know his knowledge on the subject. Topics in the Civics section were expanded and the questions re-designed accordingly. Remember the questions were re designed not to make the process harder for applicants to become US citizens. Whereas it was aimed at leading aspiring citizens to a deeper and better understanding of US history and government.
In interview, the officer will speak in English and will ask you questions related to the citizenship application you submitted. While doing so , the officer will get a general idea about your English speaking skills. Just try to understand what the officer is asking, and answer the questions in simple English. While coming to writing, the officer will dictate three sentences and if you write one correctly, it means you are through with the writing part. At times, the officer will ask more questions if he/she is not satisfied with your writing ability. Remember there are no standard sentences and the interviewer will use his/her discretion and normally it will depend on your level of education and background.
The Civics Test
As mentioned earlier, there will be a Civics test. This is basically to test how well you understand US history and government. It is not mandatory you have a in depth knowledge but you have to prove you understand the system of the US government and how it functions, how and why American founded, and important events in the history of America. Remember this test will be oral and the officer will ask ten questions from the hundred questions released by the USCIS. If you can answer at least six out of these ten questions, it means you are through.
If you have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment and if that impairment is affecting your ability to learn the English and Civics sections, you can claim a waiver to the test. To claim a waiver under such instances, you have to file Form N-648 and this form has to be filed along with the Naturalization application. Certain applicants also get a waiver to the test considering their age and the number of years they were lawful permanent residents.