Day Zero – Civics Test Questions – System of Government

Daily blog: It’s November 29th, and time to look at questions in the System of Government section of The United States of America’s naturalization test, some of which I have commented on in red.

The civics test is an oral test, and the USCIS officer will ask 20 out of the 128 civics test questions. You must answer at least 12 questions correctly to pass the 2020 version of the civics test.

B: System of Government

16. Name the three branches of government.

  • Legislative, Executive, and Judicial
  • Congress, President, and The Courts

Why the second choice” Is it that hard to remember Legislative, Executive, and Judicial? And the President is not a branch.

17. The President of the United States is in charge of which branch of government?

  • Executive branch

18. What part of the federal government writes laws?

  • (U.S.) Congress
  • (U.S. or national) legislature
  • Legislative branch

Giving three different ways to answer seems confusing to me.

19. What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress?

  • Senate and House (of Representatives)

20. Name one power of the U.S. Congress.

  • Writes laws
  • Declares war
  • Makes the federal budget

21. How many U.S. senators are there?

  • One hundred (100)

22. How long is a term for a U.S. senator?

  • Six (6) years 

We need to put term limits on senators.

23. Who is one of your state’s U.S. senators now?

  • Answers will vary. [District of Columbia residents and residents of U.S. territories should answer that D.C. (or the territory where the applicant lives) has no U.S. senators.]

A lot of people can not answer this one, and that needs to change.

24. How many voting members are in the House of Representatives?

  • Four hundred thirty-five (435)

25. How long is a term for a member of the House of Representatives?

  • Two (2) years 

26. Why do U.S. representatives serve shorter terms than U.S. senators?

  • To more closely follow public opinion.

I am beginning to think they don’t care about our opinions anymore.

27. How many senators does each state have?

  • Two (2)

28. Why does each state have two senators?

  • Equal representation (for small states)
  • The Great Compromise (Connecticut Compromise)

29. Name your U.S. representative. 

  • Answers will vary. [Residents of territories with nonvoting Delegates or Resident Commissioners may provide the name of that Delegate or Commissioner. Also acceptable is any statement that the territory has no (voting) representatives in Congress.

A lot of people can not answer this one, and that needs to change.

30. What is the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives now?* 

31. Who does a U.S. senator represent?

  • Citizens of their state

Our senators need to be reminded of this because all too often, they only represent their party.

32. Who elects U.S. senators?

  • Citizens from their state

33. Who does a member of the House of Representatives represent?

  • Citizens in their (congressional) district
  • Citizens in their district

Our representatives need to be reminded of this because all too often, they only represent their party, leaving their districts in shambles.

34. Who elects members of the House of Representatives? 

  • Citizens from their (congressional) district

35. Some states have more representatives than other states. Why?

  • (Because of) the state’s population
  • (Because) they have more people
  • (Because) some states have more people

I hate these three different ways you can answer questions. Just pick one and go with it, test makers.

36. The President of the United States is elected for how many years?* 

  • Four (4) years

37. The President of the United States can serve only two terms. Why?

  • (Because of) the 22nd Amendment
  • To keep the President from becoming too powerful

38. What is the name of the President of the United States now?*

39. What is the name of the Vice President of the United States now?* 

40. If the President can no longer serve, who becomes President? 

  • The Vice President (of the United States)

41. Name one power of the President. 

  • Signs bills into law                        
  • Vetoes bills                             
  • Enforces laws
  • Commander in Chief (of the military)
  • Chief diplomat

42. Who is Commander in Chief of the U.S. military?

  • The President (of the United States)

43. Who signs bills to become laws?

  • The President (of the United States)

44. Who vetoes bills?*

  • The President (of the United States)

45. Who appoints federal judges? 

  • The President (of the United States)

46. The executive branch has many parts. Name one.

  • President (of the United States)
  • Cabinet
  • Federal departments and agencies

47. What does the President’s Cabinet do?

  • Advises the President (of the United States)

48. What are two Cabinet-level positions?

  • Attorney General
  • Secretary of Agriculture
  • Secretary of Commerce
  • Secretary of Defense
  • Secretary of Education            
  • Secretary of Energy                               
  • Secretary of Health and Human Services
  • Secretary of Homeland Security
  • Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
  • Secretary of the Interior
  • Secretary of Labor
  • Secretary of State 
  • Secretary of Transportation
  • Secretary of the Treasury
  • Secretary of Veterans Affairs
  • Vice President (of the United States)

49. Why is the Electoral College important?

  • It decides who is elected President.
  • It provides a compromise between the popular election of the President and congressional selection.

50. What is one part of the judicial branch?

  • Supreme Court
  • Federal Courts

51. What does the judicial branch do? 

  • Reviews laws
  • Explains laws
  • Resolves disputes (disagreements) about the law
  • Decides if a law goes against the (U.S.) Constitution 

52. What is the highest court in the United States? 

  • Supreme Court

53. How many seats are on the Supreme Court?

  • Nine (9) 

54. How many Supreme Court justices are usually needed to decide a case?

  • Five (5)

55. How long do Supreme Court justices serve?

  • (For) life
  • Lifetime appointment
  • (Until) retirement

56. Supreme Court justices serve for life. Why?

  • To be independent (of politics)
  • To limit outside (political) influence

57. Who is the Chief Justice of the United States now? 

58. Name one power that is only for the federal government.

  • Print paper money
  • Mint coins 
  • Declare war
  • Create an army
  • Make treaties
  • Set foreign policy

59. Name one power that is only for the states.

  • Provide schooling and education
  • Provide protection (police)
  • Provide safety (fire departments)
  • Give a driver’s license
  • Approve zoning and land use

60. What is the purpose of the 10th Amendment?

  • (It states that the) powers not given to the federal government belong to the states or to the people.

61. Who is the governor of your state now?* 

  • Answers will vary. [District of Columbia residents should answer that D.C. does not have a governor.]

62. What is the capital of your state?

  • Answers will vary. [District of Columbia residents should answer that D.C. is not a state and does not have a capital. Residents of U.S. territories should name the capital of the territory.]

Tomorrow we will go over questions 63 through 72 in section C: Rights and Responsibilities.


Day Zero represents the time between November 3rd, 2020, and the United States of America’s election results. Day One will begin on decision day.




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