Last Updated on October 1, 2022 by Allard John Keeley
The citizenship exam is one of the last and most important steps on the way to a Canadian citizenship, that every eligible applicant of age between 18 and 54(at the time of applying) must take. It is in place to ensure IRCC that you have sufficient knowledge of Canada and of the rights and responsibilities of citizens in Canada.
How to prepare for a Canadian citizenship exam
The citizenship exam is probably the most important step on the way to your Canadian citizenship. You must make sure you are well aware of everything concerning this key part of the process, and here we will help you do that.
- Before the exam
- What is the citizenship exam
- What is the format of the exam
- What kind of questions will there be on the exam
- What is the sufficient proficiency in either English or French
- How do I prepare for the exam?
- Can I complete a sample test somewhere?
- What happens after the exam
Before the exam
Once your application is being processed you may receive a certain Notice to prepare for your citizenship exam. After that, if you meet the requirements, you will receive another notice, and this one tells you the time and place of your scheduled citizenship exam. Information on whether you can reschedule it and what happens if you miss it you can find here. When going to the exam you need to bring your original documents, copies of which you sent with your application, and any passport and travel documents you used in the four years before the application.
What is the exam?
The citizenship exam is one of the last and most important steps on the way to a Canadian citizenship, that every eligible applicant of age between 18 and 54 (at the time of applying) must take. It is in place to ensure that you have sufficient knowledge of Canada and of the rights and responsibilities of citizens in Canada.
What is the format of the exam?
The exam is in the form of either a written test, in most of the cases, or an oral interview with a citizenship judge. The exam or interview will asses your proficiency in either English or French, in addition to your knowledge of Canada. The written test lasts about 30 minutes and consists of about 20 questions on Canada and the nature of citizenship. The oral interview lasts about 30 to 90 minutes, with the judge asking you about 20 questions. Do note that the whole procedure will take more time than that of the exam itself, so be prepared to spend 3-4 hours there, or more.
What kind of question will there be on the exam?
The questions you will be asked on the exam are about Canada and its history, geography, culture, symbols, government and elections, as well as questions about the rights and duties of citizens in Canada. Here is the study guide.
What is sufficient proficiency in either English or French?
First off, if you’re are between 18 and 54 when submitting your application for citizenship, you must present a document as proof of your language skills in either English or French, or your application will not be accepted if you don’t. The required minimum level in speaking and listening is that of Canadian Language Benchmark/ NCLC 4, which means that you can comprehend and respond to simple, familiar questions and casual small talk; you can give and follow basic instructions and directions; you can use basic grammar and tenses, both in everyday life and in the workplace. Also IRCC only accepts a certain variety of documents as proof: results of a IRCC-approved third-party tests; proof of completion of secondary or post-secondary education in either French or English; or proof of achieving CLB/NCLC level 4 or higher through certain government-funded programs. Besides that proof, which you present at the time of applying, your language skills will be assessed during the exam – either talking to staff and following its instructions, or during the interview with a judge. At that time you will need to demonstrate skills similar to those required for CLB/NCLC 4.
How do I prepare for the exam?
Since the exam will test your knowledge of Canada and of its citizenship, you must gather information on precisely that. IRCC recommends that you study from the Discover Canada guide, as all the information needed to pass the exam can be found there. You should cover the guide thoroughly and you will have to memorise some facts and dates. As far as language skills are concerned, if you cover the CLB/NCLC level 4 requirements you should be fine. If you don’t feel comfortable with your language skills you should probably enrol in any of the government-funded programs.
Can I complete a sample test somewhere?
Yes. Our team has developed a sample test for you to try as many times as you wish. It can be found here. IRCC also provides some sample questions, which can be found here. Various sample tests are available online, just search for Canadian citizenship exam questions.
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After the exam?
If you have attended an oral interview the judge’s decision of whether or not to grant you citizenship will be mailed to you. If you attended the written test you will be made aware of your result immediately after completing the test. If you failed you will be scheduled for either a second written test or for an oral interview with a judge. If you failed a second written test you will be scheduled for an interview with a judge. In any case the judge’s decision is final, but it can be appealed to the Federal Court of Canada within 60 days of the decision letter being mailed to you. If you pass the written exam, and meet all other requirements, you may receive the date for a ceremony, or the date will be mailed to you. The ceremony will be scheduled for usually no more than 6 months after the exam, and at it you will take your Oath of Citizenship and be awarded your certificate.
Riley Haas has been a leading expert since 2011 on immigration matters, with hundreds of publications online. Published author of three books about political philosophy, the Beatles and the Toronto Maple Leafs, respectively. BA from Bishop’s University, MA from McMaster University. You follow Riley on Substack https://rileyhaas.substack.com.