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You Shall Not Pass: A Collegiette’s Experience Taking the Not-So-Easy Citizenship Test

A brief preview of how my practice US citizenship test went:

Question 1: How many stripes on the US Flag?
13- Hell yes, I got this!
Question 2: Who is the head of the executive branch?
The president: my God I’m so smart!
Question 3: Name your House of Representative:
……..my what?
And so went the cycle of the practice citizenship test- painfully easy to “Wait, we have that?”

As a student who went through elementary, middle, high school and now college in the United States, I was certain that this test would be a walk in the park.

It’s not.

In fact, many of you would not pass. Which is absurd if you think about it. If college students cannot pass their own countries citizenship test, how are immigrants, such as my parents who never attended an American school supposed to pass?

Regardless, the online tools that we used to help really did. I learned things that I never knew and my mom learned things such as when the Declaration of Independence was signed.

The application itself to apply for citizenship was impossible. First of all, they make it very clear that if everything isn’t tip top perfection, you would lose your $680 dollars and your application would be deferred until later. After knowing that tidbit of information, I took my sweet old time filling it out. (Did I mention I also did two more for my parents?)

The beginnings of the application were simple: name, address, citizenship etc. Not too difficult, just tedious. Pages upon pages of rules, questions, more rules, questions. And with the lingering threat of losing $680 dollars (times three for each of my family members) I wanted to make sure that there was no issue.

Until there was one.

The citizenship application asked us something along these lines, “Since becoming permanent resident’s of the Untied States (1997 for me) list all of the vacations outside of the country you have taken, for how long you were there and list what you did in those countries.”

This was my face:

Not only did I have to remember every trip for myself, but also for my mom and dad, all the while my dad was not being very cooperative.

“Dis iz stoopid. Vhat you mean vhat do I do der? I relax. I am not doing dis.” To which prompted my mom shouting that we had to do this right the first, which prompted me to start shouting that they should be grateful that I’m doing this for them at all, which prompted my sister to shout for us all the shut-up that she’s trying to watch SpongeBob.

Regardless, I attempted to document all of our trips: Honduras, Jamaica, Czech countless times, Slovakia, Poland, Japan- you name it, I attempted to remember it. And hopefully, hopefully, I got it all.
We finished the applications, or rather I finished the applications, and then we had to go and get two passport photos done.

Dear Christ.

I got mine done four times. This picture needed to be perfect. For my green-card photo, my hair is so big and bushy that my face is practically lost. I wasn’t allowed to smile, so I’m flaring my nostrils in a really disgusting way, causing my blue wire-rimmed glasses to be slightly askew. And my Czech passport photo? I look like an assassin. I also wasn’t allowed to smile, my hair had to be pulled back, the photo is in black and white, I had heavy eyeliner on and this I-know-where-you-live smirk on my face.
This picture needed to be perfect. So I took it four times. My mom took it three times, and my dad took it once and didn’t even look at it after it was done.

Finally, finally, it was out of our hands. Now our impending citizenship is in the hands of the government.
We have to wait until they notify us that we’ve been cleared. Then we have to take the godforsaken test, and if we pass we have to take an oath and hereby renounce citizenships to all other countries.
All that stands in the way is that test. And here are my thoughts on it.

Some of the questions are ridiculously easy. Some of them are not. As I stated before, I went to school in America and even I didn’t know some of the answers. How should my parents? Many people argue that if people want to be citizens of this country they should learn about the history of it and should be able to pass the test. But how is this statistic for you, 1 in 3 Americans would not pass the test. In retrospect, 97% of all immigrants do pass the test.

In other words, in my opinion, I do not think that the test should be a deciding factor in citizenship status or not. My parents worked for the US, legally, I attended school here, we are all contributing members to society- that is what US citizenship should be based on. Not by scores on an exam.

Regardless of the stress that this caused my family, it’s a huge step that we are proud of. We love America, and can’t wait to become complete citizens of the United States of America.

So how would you fend on the citizenship test? Find out!


Photo: http://knowyourmeme.com/photos/185051-you-shall-not-pass


Just your average 6'2'' czech girl with nine toes =)
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