If you’re thinking that the TSA computer-based exam is just something that you can pass like your run-of-the-mill pre-employment test made by some company around the corner, you are horribly mistaken.
There is a reason why the Transport Security Administration is good at keeping the safety of American passengers: it doesn’t cut corners with their selection process, meaning only the best of the best and those who take the TSA Assessment seriously will be allowed to become a Transportation Security Officer.
This means you have to prepare well and give your 100% throughout the entire hiring process because anything less can cost you your one chance at success.
The TSA Exam Contents
Before anything else, let’s take a look at how the entire TSA looks like so that you can be more familiar with the hiring process.
This will also give you the chance to ready and prepare other documents for your application.
The TSA Computer-based Exam
Compared to other companies, the TSA puts their pre-employment test as the first hurdle in the hiring process so that it can save time, resources, and manpower so that it can focus on building up the potential and skills of prime candidates.
Should you decide to take the TSA test, you will discover that it has two sections: the TSA CBT X-Ray Test, which is also called the TSA Object Recognition Test (ORT), and the TSA Writing Skills Test.
The exam follows a multiple-choice format and has a time limit of two and a half hours.
- The Writing Skills Test
Every applicant is made to take the writing skills test first so that the TSA can confirm that they at least have the ability to read, write, and understand whatever written material the administration requires of them.
From hand-written notes to corporate announcements and bulletins, the TSA needs to be sure that the person that they are hiring for the security officer position, mashal, inspector, or manager, can understand such material in order to preserve the safety of the passengers and the operations of the airport.
To ensure that the candidate has this skill, they will have to answer a test that revolves around proving their proficiency in the English language, meaning they can expect questions that will test their grammar, reading comprehension, word ordering skills, and even word usage.
While this may seem easy enough on its own, remember that not getting a perfect score in this part of the TSA assessment can affect your chances of being hired negatively.
- The TSA Object Recognition Test (ORT)
This test is considered as the actual TSA test because this is where your capabilities as a TSO will be examined and this may affect how well or how bad your interview process will go.
In this part of the TSA assessment, you will be made to look through a set of images that are x-ray scans of various luggages or passenger bags like the one below:
From here, it is obvious what this part of the TSA assessments is meant to do: to see if you have the ability to prevent illegal, dangerous, or prohibited items from going through airport security at the very entrance or as early as possible.
For some, this may look like an easy task since it only requires them to look out for weapons and the like.
However, this is far from the truth as many images won’t be as obvious as the example above with some images being deliberately convoluted with so many items and confusing shapes put in so that the test-taker will waste time.
Most test-takers begin to panic by this point, leading to them being unable to see the prohibited item as they are in a hurry or run out of time because they spent too much examining a couple of images that don’t have them but wanted to make sure that they aren’t missing anything.
Even if you only managed to miss one item, this will be used against you in your interview and you better have a good reason as to why this singular incident shouldn’t be used as a proof not to hire you.
What are the other parts of the TSA Assessments?
After passing the TSA computer-based exam, you will also have to pass an extensive background check.
The background investigation process is where a lot of competent, even deserving, applicants suddenly get disqualified due to a technicality or discrepancy in their record.
This means that prior to your application in the TSA, you need to make sure that you have all of your documentation and other personal details arranged.
The TSA will take a look into your employment history, and trying to manipulate it in a way to make yourself look good during the application process can cause more problems down the line compared to being honest from the start.
While it may not have as much weight as your TSA exam results as well as your medical and drug screening results, you should also be careful with any credit-related issues.
This means that if you have some debt, be sure that you are in good terms with your bank among other things. This is because if you are bad with your finances, the TSA might see you as a liability.
Remember, you will be in charge of making sure that no contraband can get through the security checkpoint. If you are worried about your debts and are desperate for cash, who’s to say that you won’t accept a bribe to allow something illegal to pass through?
How Should I prepare for the TSA Exam?
A good way to prepare for the TSA exam is to study as much as you can so that your reading comprehension skills will be refined to the point that you can get a perfect score in the TSA Writing Ability Test.
For the TSA CBT Test, however, the best thing to do is to search for an online TSA Practice Test.
This is so that you can become more familiar with the shape, look, and x-ray coloration of dangerous and prohibited items from various positions or angles.
In the TSA selection test, even a one-point advantage can secure your application.
Why? Because like every other job out there, you and other candidates, sometimes in the dozens, are competing for a single vacancy in the TSA.
This means that if you really want to land the job, you shouldn’t pull your punches and do your best to try and get a perfect score if you can.
Chris Mcdonald has been the lead news writer at complete connection. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides. Chris is also an author of tech blog Area19delegate. He likes spending his time with family, studying martial arts and plucking fat bass guitar strings.