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TSA CBT Practice Tests – Ace Your Exam in 2024

Jan 16, 2024

Anyone applying for Transportation Security Officer (TSO) roles and other positions for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will be expected to pass the TSA CBT at an early stage of the hiring process.

There are two versions of the TSA Computer Based Test (CBT); the original version and the new version. 

This article includes a comprehensive overview of both test types and information on how to stand the best chance of passing the TSA CBT in 2024. 


Prepare for the TSA CBT Test with JobTestPrep


TSA CBT Practice Test: The Original Version

The original version of the TSA CBT is made up of the following two sections:


X-Ray Test / Image Interpretation / Baggage Scanner Training / Object Recognition Test (ORT)

Many people consider this the most difficult part of the TSA CBT original test. The pass rate is only 30%. Even if you pass the test on your first attempt, you may be asked to retake it. This ensures you have the required visual and cognitive skills to succeed in a job role with the TSA.

The X-ray test must be taken at a dedicated test center. You must arrive at least 30 minutes before your allocated test start time. This is to ensure you have sufficient time to complete the associated paperwork. 

You will be allowed up to two and a half hours to complete the test. Usually, you will be asked to answer two CBT test practice questions before commencing the actual test. 

For the first CBT test practice question, you must remember the shapes of up to six target items in 30 seconds. For the second CBT test practice online question, you must identify these target items within 15 seconds. 

After moving on to the actual test, you will only have a few seconds to review each image. Each image shows a piece of baggage and you will need to check whether it contains any prohibited or target items. 

Target items are forbidden objects, including drugs, electronics, bottles and weapons. You can view a full list of the banned items here

For each image, you must choose “hold”, “alarm” or “pass”. 

  • Choosing “pass” means you have not seen any target items. 
  • Choosing “alarm” means you have seen a prohibited item and you need to request further intervention from the police. 
  • Choosing “hold” means you have seen a prohibited item that needs intervention from a TSO and additional screening. 


Some images will only contain non-dangerous items; others will contain a combination of dangerous and non-dangerous objects. 

Some of the images will be more complex than others. For example, in some images, the objects will overlap, making it more difficult to spot prohibited items. 

For each image, you will need to identify the luggage that contains prohibited items such as guns, knives, bombs and IEDs. 

To stand the best chance of passing this part of the test, it is important to learn about the different colors that appear on security X-rays.

Here is an overview:

  • Organic materials – Typically represented in shades of orange. This category includes most common items like clothing, paper and food items. 
  • Inorganic materials – Generally represented in shades of blue. This category includes materials like metals, plastics, ceramics and other non-organic substances. When organic and inorganic objects overlap, they will appear as green on the screen.
  • High-density materials – Represented in shades of green or sometimes red. These materials have higher atomic densities, such as thick metal objects or dense alloys.
  • Low-density materials – Represented in shades of black. These materials have lower atomic densities, such as empty spaces or low-density plastics. 


TSA Practice Test (Original Version) – TSA X Ray Practice Test

Question One

Study the following image:

Would you:

a) Hold
b) Alarm
c) Pass

The correct answer is: c) Pass 

The big object is a water bottle and their appears to be no suspicious items.

Question Two 

Is there a knife in the following X-ray image?

Would you:

a) Hold
b) Alarm
c) Pass

The correct answer is: b) Alarm

The knife appears in blue as it is made of metal. You can see it at the top of the image, slightly to the right.

Question Three

Would you:

a) Hold
b) Alarm
c) Pass

The correct answer is: c) Pass

Question Four

Can you identify a knife in the following image?

a) Yes
b) No

The correct answer is: a) Yes, there is a knife in this scan. 


TSA CBT Practice Test – English Test (Written Skills Assessment)

This Written Skills Assessment is a multiple-choice assessment designed to assess understanding of basic principles of the English language, including:

  • Vocabulary
  • Word usage
  • Sentences
  • Paragraphs
  • Grammar
  • Syntax


You must answer every question in this test. If you are unsure, it is best to make an educated guess, as there is no penalty for giving an incorrect answer.

Looking for TSA computer based test practice free questions? Here are some sample questions that can be used in your TSA CBT practice and preparation. 


Question One (TSA CBT English Practice Test)

Which of the following sentences is capitalized correctly?

a) Are you bringing Wine or other Spirits from Abroad? The Custom and Border Protection team is in charge of the rules for bringing alcohol into the country.
b) Before you arrive at passport control, ensure you have your ID and Boarding Pass ready.
c) first of all, you need to take everything out of your pockets and put it in your hand luggage bag.
d) Elizabeth Allen is the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs in the United States. 

The correct answer is: d) Elizabeth Allen is the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs in the United States.

Question Two

Which of the following words is a synonym for “ardent”?

a) Enthusiastic
b) Hungry
c) Demure
d) Apathetic

The correct answer is: a) Enthusiastic

Question Three 

Which type of error appears in the following sentence?

“Mr Matrix’s exam, has been canceled due to a delay in the public transport system.”

a) Spelling
b) Punctuation and capitalization
c) Grammar
d) There are no errors in the sentence

The correct answer is: b) Punctuation and capitalization

According to the punctuation and capitalization rules, a comma shouldn’t separate the subject and the verb. The correct way to write this sentence is “Mr. Matrix’s exam has been canceled due to a delay in the public transport system.”


TSA Practice Test for the New Version

In addition to the original TSA CBT test, a new version of the test has recently been introduced.

The new version of the test is split into three sections:

  • Shape folding
  • Matching shapes
  • Connecting the dots


The test is designed to assess attention to detail, spatial reasoning and processing speed. 

The new or alternative version of the test takes 20 to 45 minutes to complete. It is only available at some airport test centers, so it is important to check which test you will be taking. 

Here are some TSA CBT practice test free examples of the type of questions you might be faced with in the new version of the test. 


Shape Folding

In this section, you will be shown a flat 2D shape (usually with labels or markings on different parts) and asked to visualize what the shape would look like once folded into a 3D object.

After visualizing the 3D object, you will need to answer related questions. 




Which net corrosponds to the 3D shape above?

The correct answer is: c). 


Matching Shapes

In this section, you will be shown a target shape and asked to identify the same shape from a series of other shapes. In some cases, the matching shape might be scaled or rotated. 

1. Which of the following figures is the same as the one shown below? You must identify the matching shape as quickly as possible. 

The correct answer is: d)

When answering this type of question, you must work quickly to identify the matching shape. Some key things to check are the number of sides, color and orientation of a shape.

2. Which of the following images matches the first image?


The correct answer is: b).

When answering this type of question, you must work quickly to identify the matching image. Look at things like the colors and patterns.


Connecting the Dots

1. Study the following image, then connect the letters in the following pattern: 


Which of the following shows the letters connected in the correct sequence?

The correct answer is:

2. Study the following image:

Connect the dots using the following pattern:


The correct answer is:

For this part of the test, you must work quickly and accurately to identify the correct answer. Make sure that you read the question carefully before you start so that you know exactly what you are looking for. 


Which TSA CBT Exam to Prepare For?

The new version of the TSA CBT exam is only used in certain airports. Check any documentation that has been sent to you, but if you have not been told which version of the test you will be sitting, it is best to prepare for both versions with TSA CBT exam practice tests.

You can find preparation resources for aptitude tests like the TSA CBT test on the website.  


Frequently Asked Questions


Is the new CBT test for TSA hard?

The difficulty depends on candidates’ skills, experience and preparation. If unsure which test version you’re taking, prepare for both. You’ll find resources for aptitude tests like the TSA CBT on If seeking TSA CBT practice tests, search online for “TSA CBT practice test free.”


What is the new TSA CBT test 2024?

The new TSA CBT test 2024 is split into shape folding, shape recognition and connecting the dots. It doesn’t include X-ray or English language questions like the original version. The new TSA CBT test 2024 is only available at certain airports, so check which version you’re taking before starting preparation. 


What is the pass rate for the TSA CBT exam?

According to JobTestPrep and Psychometric Success, the TSA CBT exam has a pass rate of around 30%. 


How many questions are on the TSA CBT?

It depends on which TSA CBT you take. The original TSA CBT has 160 questions (100 X-ray image interpretation and 60 English language questions). The number of questions on the new version depends on how quickly you work through them. The faster you work, the more questions you’re presented with. 


How many times can you take the TSA CBT test?

If you fail the TSA CBT test, you must wait at least six months before you can reapply for a job and resit the test. If you fail the second time, you cannot sit the test again. 


Final Thoughts

Both versions of the TSA CBT exam are complex and designed to challenge candidates. If you want to work for the TSA, you should aim to pass the TSA CBT on your first attempt. If you do not pass the first time, you must wait six months before you can resit the test. You are only allowed to sit the test twice; after that, you will not be permitted to resit the test. 

As with any job assessment, it is important to spend sufficient time preparing for the test. This is particularly important for the TSA CBT, as you only have two opportunities to pass. Try to use TSA CBT exam practice tests as part of your preparation.

Learning what to expect from the TSA CBT is vital. If possible, determine which version of the test you will be taking. This will help you tailor your preparation to the specific skills and aptitudes you will be tested on.

If you cannot establish which test version you will be taking, it is best to spend time preparing for both to cover all bases.

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