Question 1. The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words? Answer 1. It might’ve been a few years or decades since you covered this in history class, but the answer is “We the People.” The U.S. Constitution declares that its people chose to create their own government and will elect people to represent their interests. Question 2. If both the president and the vice president can no longer serve, who becomes president? (John F. Kennedy Library/TNS) Answer 2. Many people know the vice president is the second in line to the presidency, but who’s third? That would be the speaker of the House. Another potential question on the test is, “What is the name of the speaker of the House of Representatives now?” That would be Republican Paul Ryan. The test could also ask you to name your state’s governor, your senator or your representative. Could you name them all? Question 3. What is the last day you can send out federal income tax forms? Answer3. Many people know April is tax month, but what is the actual deadline? That would be April 15, unless that day falls on a weekend or holiday. Question 4. The House of Representatives has how many voting members? Answer 4. It’s much easier to remember the number of U.S. senators since there are two for every state, making for 100 total. But what about representatives? That would be 435. Other potential questions are: “We elect a U.S. senator for how many years?” (6), “We elect a U.S. representative for how many years?” (2) and “How many justices are on the Supreme Court?” (9). Question 5. When was the Constitution written? Answer 5. While many American-born citizens know that the Declaration of Independence was approved on July 4, 1776. But it was until 1787 that the Constitution was written and signed at the Constitutional Convention. Question 6. Who vetoes bills? Answer 6. This question has the same answer as two other test questions about the way the U.S. government is organized: “Who is the commander in chief of the military?” and “Who signs bills to become laws?” That would be the president. There have been 2,574 presidential vetoes since 1789 but President Donald Trump has yet to use this executive power. Question 7. What are two Cabinet-level positions? Answer 7. The president’s Cabinet is comprised of experts meant to advise the president on the affairs of the 15 executive departments. Aside from the vice president, the other members of the Cabinet are: Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Education, Secretary of Energy, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Secretary of Homeland Security, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Labor, Secretary of State, Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Attorney General. Question 8. The citizenship test will also cover the basics of modern American history. One of the test’s questions is, “Who did the United States fight in World War II?” Answer 8. The answer is Germany, Italy and Japan, together known as the “Axis powers.” The United States and the Allied forces won the war in 1945. Question 9. 1800s history is one of the sections of the citizenship test, and it could include the question: “Name one war fought by the United States in the 1800s.” Answer 9. Acceptable answers are the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. Question 10. When must all men register for the Selective Service? Answer 10. Although the U.S. doesn’t currently have a draft and military service is optional, all men must register for the Selective Service between the ages of 18 and 26. The last time Selective Service was used was the Vietnam War. Question 11. The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Name one of the writers. Answer 11. This one might be easier for fans of the smash hit Broadway show “Hamilton,” as its subject, Alexander Hamilton, was one of the authors of the Federalist Papers, along with James Madison and John Jay. These three men penned the papers to rouse public support of the new system of government proposed in the Constitution. Question 12. American citizens are expected to know about key historical figures, including Abraham Lincoln and Susan B. Anthony. You could get questions about either of them or the question, “What is one thing Benjamin Franklin is famous for?” (National Portrait Gallery/TNS) Answer 12. A man of many accomplishments, Franklin is famous for being an inventor, diplomat, the first postmaster general of the United States, the founder of the first free libraries and the oldest member of the Constitutional Convention. Question 13. U.S. geography is also a category on the test. Besides being able to name the biggest rivers and bordering oceans of the U.S., one of the questions is “Name one U.S. territory.” Answer 13. The five American territories are: Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands and Guam. Question 14 The citizenship test doesn’t ignore some less savory aspects of America’s past, such as slavery as well as the displacement of Native Americans. Future citizens are expected to know a little about the country’s original population via the question “Name one American Indian tribe in the United States.” Answer 14. There are currently 573 federally recognized tribes, and all are permissible answers, but four of the largest are the Cherokee, the Navajo, the Sioux and the Chippewa. Question 15. Understanding American symbols is also part of the test, so two questions are “Why does the flag have 13 stripes?” and “Why does the flag have 50 stars?” Answer 15. The stripes represent the 13 original colonies, while the stars represent the 50 individual states. Question 16 The division of power between the federal and state governments is a key aspect of the United States’ government. So two questions on the test are: “What is one power of the federal government?” and “What is one power of the states?” (Dreamstime/TNS) Answer 16. The federal government has the power to: print money, declare war, create an army and make treaties. State governments have the power to: provide schooling and education, provide protection through police, provide safety services, issue driver’s licenses and approve zoning and land use. Question 17. How many amendments does the Constitution have? Answer 17. The question is another piece of trivia that you might have forgotten since your school days. There are 27 amendments. Another potential test question is, “What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?” Acceptable answers are speech, religion, assembly, press and the right to petition the government. Question 18. What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful? Answer 18. This answer might not come to mind quickly, but the phrases that are both acceptable answers are the foundation of our system of government: “checks and balances,” also known as “separation of powers.” Question 19 Other important amendments for future Americans to understand are the ones pertaining to voting. “There are four amendments to the Constitution about who can vote. Describe one of them.” Answer 19. The 26th Amendment allows citizens 18 and older to vote. The 19th allows both men and women to vote. The 15th allows a citizen of any race or color to vote. And the 24th prevents the government from charging a poll tax, meaning you don’t have to pay anything to vote. Question 20 While applicants don’t need to know how each state joined the union, America’s acquisition of one area in particular was a big enough deal to inspire a question on the test. “What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803?” Answer The answer is the Louisiana Territory, which was acquired in the Louisiana purchase. The territory included portions of 14 different states.
Could you pass a U.S. citizenship test?
To pass the U.S. citizenship test, applicants must score at least 60 percent on a test about U.S. history and civics. There are 100 potential questions, but only up to 10 questions will be asked in English during the interview.