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The United States has a long history of welcoming people from other countries and cultures. But before they can be welcomed officially in the form of citizenship, newcomers must pass the test.
Proctored by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the U.S. Citizenship test include a civics section with 100 potential questions. Hopefuls are asked only 10, of which they must answer 6 questions correctly to pass. A 10-question test where you get to see the questions beforehand sounds simple, right? Take a look through the study materials provided by USCIS and you will know that’s not the case.
The civics portion of test covers a wide breadth of material that American-born students learn over many years of schooling, from the basics of the Constitution to colonial history to U.S. geography. Test takers must make sense of, memorize, and be comfortable speaking about all of those topics. For non-native English speakers, this is in many ways an advanced English exam that also tests their civic knowledge.
That’s why we’re stepping in to help hopeful future citizens prepare.
Created with the input of ESL professionals and public librarians, our American Citizenship Test prep course is designed with the goal of preparing test takers to comfortably answer all 100 civics questions. More than that, the course is intended to truly teach learners about the American government, history, and culture, including key vocabulary words.
The course is divided into six topical lessons, covering all the core subjects presented in the American Citizenship Test:
Each unit is further broken down into short, easily digestible lessons, supported by a suite of vocabulary and comprehension activities. The course leverages repetition to aid in memorization—throughout each lesson, learners encounter the same vocabulary and test questions in various written and spoken formats:
Lesson Text: Short texts (with accompanying audio) introduce and explain the topic, providing much-needed context to the test questions. Learners must correctly answer a series of comprehension questions at the end of the text before moving on.
Preview It, Recognize & Say It, and Produce & Say It: These three flashcard-style activities drill core vocabulary learners will need to understand and answer questions about the topic.
Matching: As the activity name suggests, learners match vocab and other key phrases with the blanks in corresponding sentences about the lesson topic.
Conversation Practice: To simulate the test experience, learners will hear actual test questions related to the lesson topic. They will also see and hear the answer and can practice recording themselves saying it. The hope is learners will practice their pronunciation and become comfortable speaking the answers out loud.
What Would You Say?: The final activity is one last comprehension check. Learners will once again see actual test questions and must choose the correct answer.
Libraries subscribed to Transparent Language Online already have access to the course in the “English for All” section. Test takers can search their zip code to find a participating library nearby. (No library nearby? You can also preview the course in the free trial.)
Libraries interested in offering this course to their patrons can learn more about Transparent Language Online for Libraries—including our other ESL materials—and contact us for a demo.