Many Permanent Residents within Canada experience some level of anxiety when they begin to consider applying for citizenship. Declaring one’s fealty to a government is a pretty big deal after all, but the promise of the benefits of citizenship should outweigh any anxiety.
Could a little anxiety come from the citizenship test? Sure, test anxiety is something that affects all different kinds of people and it can be particularly difficult if there is something riding on the test.
The good news is that you can pass the citizenship test. And in the unlikely event that you don’t, it isn’t like Citizenship and Immigration Canada is going to deport you, rather, you can simply try again. However, trying a second time would waste your time and money, and why bother when you can pass it the first time?
The citizenship test for Canada is composed of two parts. The first of which is the language proficiency test. The second is the test that examines your knowledge of Canadian history, culture and government.
Previously, in the early 2000s the test was quite easy, then there was a movement to make it more difficult in the Canadian government. However, administrators quickly came to realize that they had made it too hard. Even natural born Canadians couldn’t pass the exam! So they have eased the requirements back a touch to better reflect what an appropriate knowledge of Canada is.
The language test is generally administered by a third party and further analyzed by the immigration officer who will be interviewing you. All citizens of Canada must be able to speak, read and write either English or French, the two official languages of Canada.
The government requires this because of its serious commitment towards ensuring that immigrants are able to assimilate into Canadian society as smoothly as possible. It should be noted that assimilation does not exactly mean that immigrants are expected to abandon their own individual cultures when they become citizens, but rather be able to manage a sort of bi-culturalism.
What this means is that people are allowed to maintain their own cultural identity as well as a Canadian identity. This is even relevant to the other half of the test because it will surely contain questions about the policy of multiculturalism that Canada enacted in the 1960s.
The second test involved in getting citizenship will examine your knowledge of Canada and could be a written or oral test. The test will ask you things about how Canadian government works, some historical facts about the country and your responsibility as a citizen among many other potential questions. You can study for the test using the CIC’s citizenship study guide. A passing grade on this test is 15 correct answers out of 20, or 75%.
You have plenty of time to pass this test, especially if you engage in Canadian culture. It is a great likelihood that you will learn many of the answers to these questions through a kind of social osmosis. By participating in the daily life and concerns of Canadians, you will come to find that you already know the answers because you have been transformed into a Canadian.