How to become a citizen: Keep the right answers to yourself

After 12 years in the U.S., ProPublica reporter Dafna Linzer became a citizen last month. All it took, she says, was steep filing fees, mounds of paperwork, and a willingness to provide the wrong answers if necessary to questions on the citizenship test.

The 100 questions and answers that make up the test–applicants must get six of 10 correct–include a number of incomplete, misleading or just plain wrong answers, Linzer says. Take No. 96: Why does the flag have 13 stripes? The official answer is, “Because there were 13 original colonies.” In fact, the stripes represent the 13 original states.

Then there’s No. 16: Who makes federal laws? Acceptable answers are “Congress”, “Senate and House (of representatives)” and “(U.S. or national) legislature.” But doesn’t the president have something to do with it?

Linzer aced the test and was sworn in Jan. 28. Her advice to other would-be citizens: “Just give the official answer and you’ll do fine.”