Before an immigrant can becoming a naturalized citizen, they first must pass a civics exam. The test is not only meant to test applicants' knowledge of U.S. history and government, but also to prepare them for a life of engaged citizenship. So just how hard are the 100 questions aspiring citizens must be prepared to answer? If a recent survey is any indication, they're definitely not easy.
According to a poll shared by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, only one in three Americans would pass today's citizenship test. Respondents had a harder time with some questions than others, with 60 percent not knowing which countries the U.S. fought in World War II, 57 percent not being able to say how many justices sit on the Supreme Court, and only 28 percent correctly identifying the 13 original colonies.
Even when given multiple choice answers, many participants still struggled. Twelve percent of people thought that Dwight Eisenhower (a World War II hero) was a general in the Civil War, and six percent thought he was involved in the war in Vietnam. And even though most people knew the real cause of the Cold War, two percent of people said it was climate change.
People taking the citizenship exam are asked 10 out of 100 possible civics questions, and if they answer at least six correctly they move onto the next stage. Unlike this recent survey, the real test isn't multiple choice, which means applicants need to know the answers to questions like "What year was the Constitution ratified?" and "How many members of the House of Representatives are there?"
The survey results don't contain much to be optimistic about, with respondents 65 years and older scoring the best (74 percent passed) and those under 45 scoring the worst (81 percent failed). Some parts of the country are taking action to ensure this knowledge is just as important to U.S.-born citizens as it is to naturalized ones: Last year, Texas passed a bill requiring all high school students to pass the civics portion of the citizenship test to graduate.
Curious to see how you'd fare against the test? You can take it here.