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My US Immigration Test

I like tests. Mainly because that was one constant throughout my education – having to take a test to get through to the next level of a course, and then having to pass a big exam to finish the equivalent of the end of level boss. Of course, it took me until I had finished the bulk of my studies to realize that I like tests.

Tests were always fraught with worry and panic, and a fear that not enough had been learned in time. They were aided by candy (I prefer Refreshers and Polos for the test itself), and they were sometimes accompanied by silly garb, and ended by friends meeting me with a pig’s head on a stick. But that’s a story for another time.

And on reflection I realize that I don’t like all tests. As my education elongated, the tests became harder, and less enjoyable. But after that, they became easier. It turns out that you don’t need a Masters in traffic to pass a US driving test, and the latest test I took wasn’t all that taxing. In fact, it was interesting. And easy.

It was my US Immigration Test – the interview for my naturalization and the Kafkaesque transmogrification into a US Citizen. I had to learn how many voting members there are in the House of Representatives and so forth, which meant I started to read wikipedia’s articles on the US system of government. And I started to read about the history of the US too. Which was more interesting than I remember history tests at school which seemed to involve memorizing long lists of monarchs.

I was a little disappointed with just how easy the first question was – What is the name of the national anthem? A little too easy – I was ready to expound on the topic of the 1800s and the length and breadth of the Louisiana Territory at great length, but got to answer with things like “The Pacific Ocean” (is the ocean to the West of the US).

I didn’t get any bonus credits for all of my tangential study around the 100 questions I was going to be asked. Still, the saving grace was that my immigration official wore a stars and stripes tie to the interview. So it wasn’t all bad.


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