Saturday, August 15, 2009

Do You Have What It Takes to Become a Citizen?

American citizen, that is.

Do you think you could pass the US citizenship test? Did you even know such a test existed? I was stumbling around the Internet trying to find more about "Obama Care" so that I could really understand what it's all about. I found nothing but extremely biased articles (pick a side, they are both liars). Instead I happened upon this article/quiz that has taken a sampling of questions from the INS test. I took the test and passed, but I knew I would.

You see, I know first hand about this test (it's actually an oral exam and not multiple choice), as do my parents and brother. We were all born in Canada and after living in the States for many, many years, we decided to become naturalized citizens of the United States. You may find it hard to believe, but it's not an easy task. Stop laughing, I know it seems like the US just lets anyone in. And they do, as long as you can survive the application process (which is far more like fraternity hazing that you might imagine). If nothing else, it's a lesson in patience and persistence.

I once wrote a paper for a satire class on my whole immigration/naturalization experience. It was probably one of the better papers I've ever written. It's true what my teachers always said, "write what you know." And trust me, it's something I know about. My mother started the whole process for us (the Cloutier family) when I was about 8. I think I was 18 before I became a citizen.

I won't bore you with all the details (I could spend hours talking about the uber-fat finger print guy) but I will share one part with you. My mother studied hard for her citizenship exam. She purchased the recommended study guide, she highlighted important parts in the book, she studied for at least a month. My father, on the other hand, opened up my mother's study guide the night before his test and only read the parts my mother had highlighted. My brother, an English & History major (ugh, kill me now!), did nothing. Of course they all passed on the first try, as did I.

What irritated me the most was that my brother and I had to take that test despite the fact that we spent our entire school aged years in the US, attending US public schools. Shouldn't we be exempt? Then again, if you polled a bunch of random Americans-by-birth, they would fail the test.

I will share one more thing with you...I was given my Certificate of Naturalization prior to the swearing in ceremony. I didn't stick around for the actual swearing in. Shh...don't tell the INS.

What about you? Do you have what it takes? Take the test (click here) and then come back and leave a comment with your score.


Ben Gale said...

I got 19/20. Stupid Patrick Henry.

Andy said...

19/20. Is the name of an INS form really a citizenship requirement? Wouldn't you have already filled this out if you were taking the test?