The Corner

Citizenship Test

Nice piece by Myrna Blyth on her husband’s

citizenship test.

For mine, I bought a book that coaches you on all the possible questions. I

kept it for a long time, and occasionally used it for reference. It’s

actually quite a handy short guide to American basics. Then I gave it away

to a friend who was applying for naturalization, and now I can’t remember

the title. I just pulled it off the shelf of a big-chain bookstore, though,

so it’s not hard to find.

I found that a week or so of desultory study was enough to master all the

factoids you might be asked about in the test. Some basic memorization

tricks help. For the thirteen colonies, for example, you just remember:

South 3, Tidewater 3, Atlantic 3, New England 4.

I am mildly surprised, although I suppose I shouldn’t be at this point, that

my kids don’t learn any of this stuff at school. They know all about

Harriet Tubman and Sacagaweha, though, so I guess they are well prepared for


John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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