What citizens should know

To qualify for citizenship, immigrants will have to answer civics and history questions drawn from a new list of 100.

Just as with the current test, applicants will have to correctly answer six of 10 questions asked orally and pass the English proficiency portion of the exam.

About 42 civics questions were dropped or revised to reach the final 100. Among those that were dropped was, “Who said ‘give me liberty or give me death?’ ” The answer is Patrick Henry.

. . . One question that survived the cut is “What did Martin Luther King Jr. do?” Among the possible answers are: Fought for civil rights and worked for equality for all Americans.

Susan B. Anthony also makes the list; Francis Scott Key is history, so to speak.

The revised list of questions is supposed to ask for less trivia (applicants no longer will be asked to name the colors of the flag) and more understanding of democratic values. The current list is here and the new list, which will be used starting Oct. 1, 2008, is here.

However, the test seems to be somewhat easier. Ninety-two percent of applicants who volunteered to take the pilot exam passed, compared to an 84 percent passing rate for applicants taking the current test for the first time.

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  1. I’m sure Patrick Henry was a great guy, but knowing that quote really isn’t that critical to being an American. I’m also glad to see that the irrelevant Paul Revere got left out.

    On the other hand, one question asks “What is Benjamin Franklin famous for?”, but their list of answers omits all his scientific achievements, not to mention his career as a publisher. If you answer “He invented the lightning rod,” would they count it as a wrong answer? By contrast, “oldest member of the Constitutional Convention” (one of their suggested answers) strikes me as trivia.

    It does say in the fine print “USCIS is aware that the 100 items sometimes have answers that are not listed here.”