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U.S. Citizenship Test Will Become Much Harder

Posted July. 16, 2004 22:13,   


Immigrants are likely to face a more rigorous U.S. citizenship test in the future.

The U.S. government has recently announced that it will revise the U.S. citizenship test, which includes English language, U.S. history, and civics, by late 2006.

“We want a test that is more meaningful, reliable, and fair, focusing on concepts. We will establish new test method that can ensure applicants’ ability to function as new citizens,” said Gerri Ratliff, project director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within the Department of Homeland Security.

The USCIS will run a pilot test in several cities next year before implementing the new test nationwide by the end of 2006.

“We are trying to see if there’s a way to revise the English test, not to make it harder, but to make it more of a defensible test of a person’s comprehension skills,” the director said. “For history, the idea is to make the applicants gain a deeper appreciation of the most important political principles underlying the United States as well as knowledge of key events such as the founding of the state, the Civil War, and the civil rights movement.”

The new English examination will see whether applicants can engage in conversation, give directions, express needs and preferences, respond to warnings, read and comprehend simple material, describe a person, object, place, or situation, and fill out various application forms such as a job applicant or a driver’s license.

In the current citizenship test, which was introduced in 1950, applicants can easily pass the test by writing one or two sentences in English, and answering a few questions selected from the list of 100 related to U.S. politics.

Kwon-Heui Hong konihong@donga.com