How to prepare for the Australian Citizenship Test

The focus of the test will be on Australia’s values, history, traditional and national symbols. Information people will need to know to answer the test questions will be included in a resource book which is being developed to help people prepare for citizenship.

The test will:

  • be computer based
  • consist of around 20 multiple choice questions drawn randomly from a large pool of confidential questions
  • include three mandatory questions on the responsibilities and privileges of Australian citizenship
  • be in English

The pass mark will be 60 per cent including answering the three mandatory questions correctly. People will need to sit and pass the test before lodging their citizenship application.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship will oversee the development of the test questions. He is looking to use experts to develop questions designed to demonstrate knowledge of the information contained in the citizenship resource book.

What to study

The questions you will be asked in the Australian Citizenship Test are all taken from Australian Citizenship: Our Common Bond, published by the Australian Government.

All of the questions you will face in the test are based on parts 1-3 of Australian Citizenship: Our Common Bond. This book has extra sections of material in parts 4 and 5 that are not tested. These sections include interesting information about Australian history, culture, sport and notable Australians.

Our Common Bond is available from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website. You can order a free printed copy to be posted to you address in Australia. If you need more than one copy for any reason then you should contact the Citizenship Information Line by calling 131 880.

The study materials have been translated into 37 languages and a DVD element is planned for people with low literacy levels or visual disabilities.

Please note that you cannot order printed copies of the study materials if you are currently overseas. If you would like to order a printed copy from overseas then you should contact an Australian mission local to you for assistance.

Top tips from previous students


1. The practice tests are more difficult than the actual test

A lot of people who have already passed the test say that the practice questions were more difficult than the questions they have encountered in the actual test.

The practice questions are designed to help candidates become well-equipped in answering the actual exam questions.

Since the practice test’s degree of difficulty is higher than that of the actual test, if you do well in the practice test your performance in the actual test will also be good. It is therefore wise to answer the practice questions seriously prior to taking the actual exam.

Getting good scores in the practice tests will greatly boost your confidence because you know that you will sit the exam fully prepared.


2. Take time in answering the questions

Since the questions in the exam are phrased differently from the study guide and the practice questions, the answers may not be immediately clear to you.

Remember that whenever you encounter difficult questions, all potential topics have been covered in the study guide and the practice tests. If you have studied the material properly you only need to take your time in analysing the question to make sure you know what it is asking, so you can give the correct answer.

Read the questions carefully before selecting an answer. After all, you will be given 45 minutes to finish only 20 questions. Do not rush your way through the exam and make the most out of the time you are given.


3. Each candidate has a unique set of questions

Your exam will include questions drawn from a database containing hundreds of questions. The computer assigned to you randomly selects 20 questions that will form your test.

With such a large number of questions stored in the computer, the odds of you and the person next you being given the same questions are very slim. This is one way of preventing cheating and protecting the integrity of the exam.


4. You don’t need to get all the questions right to pass the exam

It would be wonderful to get all the answers in the exam correct, but you don’t have to get a perfect score to pass the exam.

The pass rate for the exam is 75%. This means that you need to get at least 16 correct answers out of 20 questions. Committing 5 or more mistakes in the exam would automatically result to a failing mark. If there are a couple of questions that you aren’t sure about, but you are confident of you answers for the rest, then do not panic! You do not need to get 100% to pass.


5. Check your English vocabulary

There may be some questions which require a deeper knowledge of the English vocabulary so make sure you read and research some words that may seem unfamiliar to you.

You have to be aware of the fact that you will be taking an English exam, therefore it is important that you brush up your English skills and understand the vocabulary used in the study guide before your test date. The test is in part designed to check that you have a basic level of English language. If you are having trouble with studying in English you may need to consider taking language classes.


6. The study guide and the practice tests work hand in hand to help you pass

The study guide and the practice tests are two essential tools to help you pass the exam. However, using only one of the two tools will not equip you to take the test with confidence.

The DIAC study guide contains the official study materials and must be read in its entirety as it covers all the topics that may come up in the exam. The exam will be based on chapters 1, 2 and 3.

Once you have read and understood the study materials, the practice tests give you a feel of what the actual test will be like and help you build on your knowledge of the material.

Before deciding on your test date, make sure that you have read and understood all the topics in the study guide. You may be tested on specific facts or dates, so it is important that you learn the information, instead of just being aware that it is there. Try to do as many practice tests provided for you in the books and online as you can to ensure your success in the actual exam.