The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced on Sept. 27 a new, redesigned naturalization test. The cost to redesign the current test was $6.5 million.
Over the past year, a test pilot consisting of 142 questions was randomly distributed to 10 districts in the country, where 6,000 citizenship applicants volunteered to test the pilot.
There was an average 92 percent pass rate on the test pilot, which exceeds the average 84 percent pass rate for the current test.
The questions also went through 150 organizations, consisting of ESL experts, historians, adult educators and other scholars before the final 100 questions were chosen.
The new questions are based on concepts of the U.S. political system, basic values and citizen responsibilities. Also, U.S. geography is a newly added subject that is not on the current test.
Veronica Lopez, a senior at UVSC, is planning to take the naturalization test within the next two years. She moved to the United States from Peru about 10 years ago. "I have no complaints about changing the questions," Lopez said, "because you still have to study, and you still have to know the history."
Many of the new questions are similar to the current questions; they are just asked differently. For example, the current test poses this question: ‘What were the original 13 states?’ The new test is worded this way: ‘There were 13 original states. Name three.’
Some questions were thrown out, such as ‘Who helped the pilgrims in America?’ and ‘Who wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner?"’
New questions were added, such as ‘What is freedom of religion?’ and ‘What did Susan B. Anthony do?’
Lopez thinks that the new test will affect the older people. "For me, I think it will be really easy just because I know the language, and I know the history; but for my parents, I think they will have a hard, tough time," Lopez said. "I am afraid for my parents and the older people who have a harder time than others."
The new naturalization test will not be offered until Oct. 1, 2008. This gives citizen applicants a year to prepare for the new test.
The naturalization test is part of the civics exam in becoming a citizen. In the oral examination, the applicant is asked 10 questions from the list of 100 and has to correctly answer six in order to pass.
A full list of the new questions can be viewed at http://www.uscis.gov/newtest