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Citizenship exam: not so easy

By An-nam Tran, Dove Science Academy Published: May 11, 2009
Being born a U.S citizen is easy enough, but the process for an immigrant to become one is not simple. Legions of immigrants take the citizenship exam every year, but the lengthy and sometimes stressful process could be difficult even for a natural-born American.

The exam has four parts: speaking, writing, reading and civics. The civics portion consists of 10 randomly chosen questions out of a hundred on the study guide, and would-be citizens must answer at least six correctly.

Hot Ink quizzed a sampling of both aspiring and natural-born citizens on the 100-question guide, and some local residents were surprised they were unable to answer many of them.

John Moore, 45, an Oklahoma City businessman, knew how American citizens can participate in their democracy, but stumbled when asked to name Oklahoma’s U.S. senators.

“Andrew Rice?” he asked, mentioning a recent Senate candidate but neither Tom Coburn nor Jim Inhofe, Oklahoma’s representatives in the upper chamber of Congress.

About 40 percent of respondents to Hot Ink’s unscientific survey would have failed to answer six out of 10 questions correctly, but aspiring citizens close to their upcoming test date excelled.

Maria Sanchez, a Hispanic immigrant and local resident preparing to take the test, said she wants to become a citizen to improve educational opportunities for her children.

“I need a better life for my three kids,” Sanchez said, “My daughter is graduating (high school) soon and cannot apply for international scholarships.

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