Applying for naturalization can be difficult and confusing, and for some the most intimidating part is the naturalization test. There is no need to worry, but it is essential to prepare.

The exam consists of four parts; here is what to expect.

Speaking

Unless you qualify for exemption, you must be able to understand and speak English. No one is likely to expect complete fluency or flawless pronunciation, but you should be able to demonstrate a working knowledge of the language and the ability to function as part of an English-speaking society. The examining officer will be giving directions and asking questions in English; you must understand the instructions and give answers in English.

Reading

A testing officer will give you a few sentences to read out loud. The subject matter will be history or civics. To pass this section of the test, you need only read one sentence correctly. Before taking the test it may be helpful to keep current with news events, know the names of American holidays and review this vocabulary list.

Writing

This part of the test is the logical corollary to the reading portion. This time, the testing officer will read sentences to you and you must write them. The topics will be similar to those in the last section, and again you will only need to get one out of three correct. To prepare, study this vocabulary list. There are similarities between the lists, which should help you as you review.

Civics

This section of the test will be multiple choice. While the test bank has 100 questions, the examiner will only ask you up to 10. Of those 10, you must answer six correctly. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has provided a study guide so applicants will know which areas to focus on as they prepare. It is lengthy but do not let that alarm you. Remember you only need to get six questions right, and if you fail a portion of the test you can take it again in 60 to 90 days.