Special Report

The Hardest Questions on the US Citizenship Test

It’s no secret that the United States is a country of immigrants. Despite recent political moods, the nation has a long history of welcoming foreigners from all over the world. Up to 780,000 people become American citizens every year. 

They need to meet several requirements, one of which is knowledge of U.S. history and government. This is done by taking a citizenship test. But there are no surprises. A United States Citizenship and Immigration Services officer randomly selects 10 questions from a list of 100, and reads them in English to the would-be citizen, who must answer at least six correctly.

Some questions are easy — who is the president of the United States or what are the two main political parties. Others, however, can make even citizens think twice. 

In fact, just 36% of Americans would pass a multiple choice test with questions from the civics test, according to a 2018 national survey conducted by Lincoln Park Strategies, an analytic research firm. Would even fewer answer correctly if they took the test the same way an applicant did —  orally with no multiple choice option? 

In any case, if you want to be unofficially ratified as an expert in American history, geography, and government, see if you can answer what are considered the hardest questions on the test. 

The good news is that, even though some questions have multiple correct answers, a person only has to know one. No one will have to, for example, memorize all 56 people who signed the Declaration of Independence. 

Click here to learn about the hardest questions on the US citizenship test

To compile a list of the 21 hardest civics questions in the naturalization test, 24/7 Tempo reviewed several sources, including a 2011 study by Paula Winke, a professor at Michigan State University who studies language and language testing, a 2018 national survey conducted by Lincoln Park Strategies, an analytic research firm, and two online guides for the U.S. citizenship test. The questions on the following list are in no particular order, but all of them were considered the most difficult by these sources.

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