What To Do if You Fail the Naturalization Test

You’ve spent many months preparing for your naturalization test, also known as a citizenship exam. You’ve taken the exam and are now awaiting your results; your excitement is building in the hope that you’ll soon be a legal U.S. citizen. 

Suddenly, your dreams of becoming an American citizen seem like they may be going down the drain – your exam score is too low for a passing grade. However, don’t panic! There’s still hope for you. To help you out, here is some essential advice on navigating the next steps after failing naturalization tests.

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Your Second Time Taking the US Naturalization Test

Okay, so you failed the U.S. citizenship test the first time around. Take a deep breath and set up an appointment with your USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) agent. Thankfully, you’ve gone through the first part of the process – you’ve received the appropriate visa, had your biometrics taken, and gone through the interview with the USCIS agent.

Your naturalization test consists of two parts: English and Civics. If you’re 50 years of age or older and a US resident for at least 20 years, you get to skip the English part. You can also skip the English section if you are 55 and older, regardless of how long you’ve lived in the country. For some foreign nationals, the English part of the exam is the most difficult to pass.

When it comes to the Civics part of the exam, you must answer at least 12 questions correctly. The exam consists of 128 civics questions, and the testing agent will choose 20 questions from the exam. If you answer 12 or more correctly, you’ve earned a passing grade. However, what happens if you fail the civics test the second time around?

What Happens If You Fail the Civics Test for the Second Time

Failing the USCIS interview and civics test for the second time is stressful. For some foreign nationals, it can also be frightening, especially if they are fleeing a repressive government or gang violence.

However, failing to pass the naturalization test for the second time doesn’t mean automatic deportation. You still have an opportunity to become a U.S. citizen. Actually, you have two options to gain citizenship.

The first course of action is to appeal the test decision, and you formally have thirty days to file a N-336 form. You may be wondering: what is the N-336 form? Well, the form is a request for a hearing on the USCIS agent’s decision to issue a failing score on the naturalization test and is basically requesting a hearing before an immigration official to discuss the reasons why your application for naturalization is being denied.

While you don’t want to get your hopes up too high, there’s a chance the original denial can be reversed, meaning you’re one step closer to becoming a citizen of the United States.

Your other course of action is to file a new N-400 form with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. There’s no deadline to file a form; just make sure your visa is not close to its expiration date. The downside of refiling a N-400 form is you’re going back to the beginning. 

Not only will you retake the naturalization test, but you’ll also have to go through another interview with a USCIS agent. This process can be time-consuming, but it does give you another chance to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Tips on Passing the Naturalization Test

Chances are you’d prefer to pass the U.S. naturalization test the first time around. No one wants to keep retaking an exam, especially when it’s as important as the citizenship test. 

Your grade, whether passing or failing, can affect the rest of your life. So, to help ensure you receive a passing grade, here are a few helpful tips.

Use Study Materials

Your USCIS agent can provide some helpful guidance, along with any teachers you may encounter as you prepare for your naturalization test. 

You can also find study guides online that cover both the English and Civics sections. You can even find the Oath of Allegiance online to help make memorizing the pledge a little easier.

Take Lots of Practice Tests

Clicking on the government’s naturalization study test link is a great way to start preparing for the exam. You can familiarize yourself with the questions and brush up on the information.

Something to remember is the practice tests are multiple-choice. Don’t get too comfortable with this format. You won’t be able to choose from multiple answers when it’s time to take the test. You will have to supply the answer you believe is correct.

Study by Topic

Instead of trying to cram different subjects at random into your brain, take some time to divide the information into separate topics, as this will make it easier to study and retain the information.

The Civics test has five topics: history, government, geography, symbols, and holidays. Studying each section separately can eliminate a lot of the confusion people experience when they’re trying to learn and remember their American civics lessons.

Continuously Review the Material

If it helps, think of studying for your naturalization exam as a second job. Instead of streaming the latest episodes of a favorite show, grab your study guide. Keep studying and practicing the answers right up to test time. The more you prepare, the better your chances of getting a passing score.

Practice the Test in English

You may be exempt from the English portion of the civics exam, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn at least some of the language basics. Remember, your civics exam will be given in English, and this means having a basic understanding of the language.

Try to speak English at home whenever possible. Another great idea is to watch American broadcasting. Your command of the English language may be more informal, but it gives you an advantage when it’s time to take the naturalization test.

Take Your Naturalization Test with Confidence

Even if this is your second or even third time taking the naturalization test, go into the USCIS facility with confidence. After all, you’ve studied and practiced, and now, you’re ready to ace the exam!

Don’t let any setbacks ruin your outlook; there’s still plenty of hope out there for you to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.

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