How to Pass the TSA CBT Test and Get Hired?

What Is the TSA CBT Test?

The TSA CBT is a pre-employment screening exam used in the recruitment of TSA staff, primarily TSOs. The Computer-Based Test (CBT) is into two phases, each of which evaluates different skills relevant to the position.

The first part of the test refers to the X-Ray Test, but focuses more on Image Interpretation. This involves baggage scanning, where you examine x-ray pictures to determine whether any forbidden or harmful objects are present in the passenger’s luggage.

The second part is an English test, which assesses your fundamental skills of the English language; its spelling, grammar, and comprehension.

To advance in the hiring process, a candidate must score well on both components of the test.

Why Is It Necessary to Plan For This Test?

Despite the fact that the TSA CBT is not extremely difficult, only about 30% of candidates pass. This is mostly due to the fact that many individuals have never performed an image recognition assignment before and lack information about the technology. This makes it difficult to give the correct solution during the test.

The Results of the TSA CBT

There are no consequences for incorrect answers during the test, therefore it is a good idea to try to answer every question. If you pass, you will be assigned to one of three groups:

  • Best Qualified
  • Highly Qualified
  • Qualified

Those who enter the “Best Qualified” category will most likely get their preferred job and location. Therefore, performing well in this CBT will help your future career.

How to Get Ready for the TSA CBT

1.   The X-Ray Practice Exams

Because you are unlikely to have seen this previously, your practice should concentrate on detecting shapes in baggage x-ray pictures. With a 30% pass rate, consider this the most difficult part of the exam but with practice on prepterminal.com, you will gain confidence and get a higher score.

There are picture recognition practice tests available online that will simulate what you will face in the test, and these simulations are likely the most helpful approach to prepare yourself for the best possible outcome. You can also practice the test questions at prepterminal.com; this will allow you to be more conversant with the questions before you write the main exam.

2.   Revise the Banned Items List

The TSA maintains a thorough list of what may and cannot be brought on a flight, with differences made between carry-ons and checked bags. This is available on the TSA website in a simple searchable format.

You do not need to memorize them for the CBT; the shapes you need to know will be present in each set of photographs but it is important to remember the list of objects that cannot be brought on a trip.

3.   Take your time reading the instructions.

Even if you have done practice tests before beginning each level of the TSA CBT, be sure to read the instructions completely. This will not only assist in ensuring that you understand what you’re doing in that part, but it will also allow you some time to calm down any tension and anxieties so that you don’t make mistakes.

This may be more relevant in the English skills section of the assessment, when you will be given a variety of activities to complete in order to answer the question. You will also be told in the instructions if there is a “no-adjustments needed” option in the multiple-choice responses; this might assist you make the proper selection if you cannot detect a mistake that needs to be corrected.

4.   Allow Plenty of Time

This test is timed, and the picture recognition segment in particular is under severe time constraints, with only 15 seconds to decide. Rather than rushing to decide, take the time to be certain before making a choice.

With five or six sets of 18 questions, you’ll have to get through up to 108 photographs in 30 minutes, so keep that in mind. If you are unable to make a selection, you have nothing to lose by making an informed estimate — any response is preferable to none at all.

5.   Keep the TSA Principles in Mind

Understand what sort of person the TSA is looking for and apply that information while dealing with each level of the application — this is valuable throughout the whole recruiting process, not just the CBT.

The TSA is looking for the following qualities in their TSOs:

  • A person who enjoys socializing
  • Reliable and adaptable
  • Excellent physical condition
  • Observant and attention to detail
  • Quick learner
  • Calm and focused
  • In close quarters with people, you’ll feel at ease.

Throughout the process, use every opportunity to exhibit these attributes in yourself so that you are more likely to be chosen as the Best Qualified and hired.


Because of the harsh scenarios that the TSA may confront, the pre-employment screening exams are meant to be demanding in order to choose the very finest applicants. The entire procedure may appear lengthy and complex, but you will be kept up to date on your progress and future actions at all times. If you are unsuccessful in your application, you have six months to reapply.

To succeed, familiarity with the exam and the manner in which it will be administered will help you feel more confident, which should lead to a higher score and greater career opportunities in the future!

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