11/02/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

New U.S. Citizenship Test: The Version You Didn't See


This month, a new U.S. citizenship test goes into effect that includes 100 new questions covering American government, American civics, and American history. (Given the general level of civic education in the U.S., it's surprising the project hasn't been outsourced to India.)

When the new questions were unveiled last year, they were extensively covered by the media. But receiving no attention was a surprising earlier version of the test that was proposed not only to keep up with modern times, but also to root out potential terrorists.

Now, for the first time, a partial look at the U.S. Citizenship Exam, Version 1.5


1) Which of the following is an official language of the United States?

a. English
b. Spanish
c. Spanglish
d. Ebonics
e. Pilates
f. Teleprompter

2) How unlikely is it that you are not a terrorist?

a. Highly not unlikely
b. Pretty unlikely
c. Somewhat not likely
d. Likely unlikely

3) What is a mortgage-backed security?

a. A bank guard
b. An asset-backed security whose cash flows are backed by the principal and interest payments of a set of mortgage loans
c. A football position
d. No clue.
d. B and D

4) When in a bathroom stall, if you block the door, tap your foot, and touch your shoe to the shoe of the person in the next stall, which of the following are you asking for?

a. More toilet paper
b. Sex
c. Votes

5) Identify and briefly describe the contributions of at least three of the following four influential Americans:

a. SpongeBob Squarepants
b. Tony Soprano
c. Ronald McDonald
d. Paula Abdul

6) To the best of your knowledge, please list the average purchase price of each of the following domestic items

a. One quart of lactose-free milk
b. One loaf of whole wheat bread
c. One pound of enriched, weapons-grade uranium

7) An American is only allowed to vote when which of the following conditions are met?

a. He or she is over 25
b. He or she has a driver's license
c. All the contestants have finished singing

8) Complete the sentence: Trans fat is...

a. Good for you
b. Bad for you
c. An airline for obese people

9) In which of the following moments is it appropriate to make a racist, homophobic, or anti-Semitic remark?

a. On the radio
b. As you're being arrested
c. During a push poll
d. As you're accepting an Emmy Award
e. In front of your kids

10) Which of the following notable Americans has had his or her own reality show?

a. Tori Spelling
b. Scott Baio
d. Dina Lohan
e. George W. Bush
f. All of the above

11) Who are Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae?

a. Popular television morning show hosts
b. Paris Hilton's dogs
c. Beloved characters from "The Beverly Hillbillies"
d. Disgraced home loan mortgage companies


1) Hey, ummm, are you a terrorist?

2) What's the maximum number of items allowed in a supermarket "express line"?

3) Please define "Mission Accomplished." Now define it another way.

4) Name four television channels that come included in a basic, but not premium, cable package.

5) What's the practical purpose of an "appetizer?"

6) What's the difference between TiVo and a DVR?

7) Would you consider running for Vice President of the United States if asked?

8) No, really, are you a terrorist?

9) Name 12 things a cell phone should do besides send and receive phone calls

10) Paper or plastic?

11) Is it kind or unkind to rewind?

12) In 50 words or less, please fix our health care system.

Joel Schwartzberg is an award-winning freelance "humoirist" whose work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New York Post, The New York Daily News, New Jersey Monthly, Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Star Ledger, and elsewhere.