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Citizenship test proves a breeze for naturalised foreigners

The Local · 31 Aug 2010, 09:13

Published: 31 Aug 2010 09:13 GMT+02:00

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The test, introduced two years ago, poses 33 questions on politics, history and civic affairs to foreigners who want to become naturalised as Germans.

“We are seeing a positive result,” the parliamentary liaison at the Interior Ministry, Ole Schröder told daily Die Welt. But he added: “The rate shows that they questions are not too hard.”

The test, which aspiring citizens have had to take since September 1, 2008, was meant “to ensure that new citizens have to be engaged with civic questions,” Schröder said.

But the applicants have a considerable advantage in the fact that the pool of about 300 questions – of which examinees must answer 33 randomly chosen – is published on the internet.

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By June this year, about 120,000 people had taken the test, Schröder said. Some 2,700 people had been forced to repeat the test, of whom about 92 percent passed on the second go.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:38 August 31, 2010 by Legal E
Hang on this is good, this proves that the people want to become citizens. They do their homework, study and take the exam. I would put a positive spin on this as a clear indication of Germany being a place to work and live that peaple choose to adopt as their own.
10:16 August 31, 2010 by Celeon
Im not sure if it is too easy.

I did it on some website a while back ,out of curiosity.

Passed with only one mistake which was ironically a question about the founding date of the GDR, the land i was born in.

The rest was relatively easy for someone who was born here and heard of all that in school, books , tv over the years.

But its certainly not that easy for an immigrant.

Of course its just a matter of learning the correct answers to all the questions which can be accomplished by anyone who invests a little time and effort into doing so. Just like with theoretical part of a driver's license.

But thats the whole idea of the test isnt it? Learning by preparing to answer all of the questions.

This way immigrants learn something about their new home country before they are allowed to become a citizen of it.

You cannot make the questions harder. You could only add more questions to the pool.
10:31 August 31, 2010 by Simon_Kellett
Now let's see how many German-born people pass the test :-)
11:08 August 31, 2010 by pepsionice
I took the one-hundred question practice test when they were originally discussing this. I have zero interest in integration and hadn't studied for this. I will admit that I have a background in history and had ten years in Germany at the time. I think I got around 75 of the questions right.

From my perception, if you had the list of the questions and practiced them for six weeks...unless you were an idiot, you'd probably get 75 as a minimum and likely more.
13:00 August 31, 2010 by William Thirteen
let's see if Sarrazin can pass the test....
13:22 August 31, 2010 by siastar75
I tried the test. First, I answered some questions on the Spiegel English version site and then I went to the link posted by Small Town Boy. There, I answered the first 33 questions in German. I passed with 17/33 and my German is at a basic level, perhaps advanced basic, but still. For someone who speaks very little German, it surprised me that I did so well.

I dont watch much German Television, personally.

My first thought when I took the English version is that yes, the questions were too easy. That was confirmed when I passed the German version IMO.
13:32 August 31, 2010 by Dr. Cooper
Hmm...maybe the immigrants who are afraid they won't pass the test, don't take it????
15:11 August 31, 2010 by loz_adele
Well I just had a go at the first 10 and IMHO it's not the questions that are hard it's the possible answers, e.g. what is forbidden according to the Constiution?

a. emploment

b. place of residence

c. forced labour

d. military service

- it's obviously not going to be a, b or d is it? I think they're mostly common sense. But I do agree that the point isn't really to set questions so difficult that nobody knows the answers.
21:19 August 31, 2010 by clarseach83
Several people have said that you just need to study and you'll pass. My husband took this a while back. His German is terrible so I translated the questions. He memorized elements of the questions and the correct answers and, seeing as most of them are restated versions of the same question over and over again, he was able to pass the test having understood virtually nothing. There are two problems with it.

1. The questions should not be published, just the topics that will be covered.

2. The language is too difficult. You need very high level German to really understand these questions. If they were slightly easier to read, they wouldn't need to be published in advance. A foreigner would have a fighting chance of both understanding the question and drawing on real knowledge (instead of rote memorization) and getting it right.
01:26 September 1, 2010 by jlmcnamara
That test is easy. So what, most are. So long as they don't dumb down the driving exam everything will be fine.
12:42 September 1, 2010 by beeker
I tried 20 questions on the test with my over 30 years disused german and passed with 80percent. I don't think that the test should be made more difficult, since the object is to test for understanding of government and life in Germany for the average German and not for a degree in Political Science
16:35 September 2, 2010 by nevskj

19:20 September 3, 2010 by recherche
The only question is: do you want immigrants? Do you want services that you cannot supply yourself? A well organised intelligent community would make use of their own school children -their own youth - to fill the personel requirements in the different sectors of the economy.

Do the donor countries have a surfeit of skilled citizens that they can afford to export?
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