TSA CBT Test: Overview

The Transportation Security Authority Computer Based Test, better known as the TSA CBT Test, is part of the Airport Assessment required to work at the TSA as a TSO (as well as other positions). Out of all the numerous steps involved in the recruitment process, the CBT is one of the most important. On the following page you will find all the information you need to know about the exam, including free examples and many tips and tricks to help you pass the CBT successfully.

This page is a part of a serie about the TSA CBT Test.

Summary Table

Full nameTSA Computer Based Test
Skills examinedMastery of the English language and ability to interpret X-ray images
DurationUp to 2:30 hours
Type of questionsMultiple Choice Questions
Number of questionsRoughly 60 English comprehension questions and roughly 100 X-ray image interpretation questions
LanguageEnglish only
LocationTSA Test Center
PracticeStart Practicing Now


The TSA Computer Based Test (TSA CBT Test) is a test divided into two sections: English language proficiency and X-ray image interpretation skills. The maximum duration of the test is 2.5 hours, but many candidates finish well before this time limit. The test takes place at a TSA testing center and is administered on a computer. It consists of approximately 160 questions in total and is given only in English.

Who Is the TSA CBT Test Intended For?

Candidates wishing to be accepted as a TSO, Inspector, Director or Air Marshall must take the TSA CBT Test during their Airport Assessment.

Which Skills Are Assessed?

As mentioned above, the TSA CBT Test is composed of two different categories. The first is an English language test that assesses the candidate's ability to speak, write and understand the English language fluently. The level required is that of a native speaker and the English questions are generally at a high school level. The second category consists of an X-ray image interpretation test. The purpose of this test is to assess the candidates' primary abilities in visualizing dangerous and everyday objects, and to evaluate their speed of thinking and ability to differentiate between colors and give them meaning, based on the data received.

Should I Prepare for the TSA CBT?

Whether you are a native English speaker or not, it is important to prepare in advance in order to pass the CBT. Indeed, only 30% of the candidates manage to pass the CBT on the first try. It is therefore preferable to practice beforehand to increase your chances of success.

Check out our complete CBT exam preparation pack and maximize your chance to be part of the mere 30% who pass the crucial CBT on their first try!

The first section (Writing Skills Assessment) generally requires candidates to prepare more like a review, as the questions are not ones you think about every day. Depending on how you feel, you may want to focus on the different topics for a shorter or longer time.

The second section, object recognition on X-ray images, is more complicated and requires some preparation, especially if you have never done this kind of task before. The best way to practice is to do a complete preparation that allows you to get used to the different colors, images, objects, and traps that appear in the test.


Results are calculated based solely on the number of correct answers. Candidates usually receive the results of the TSA CBT Test by email within minutes of taking it!

What Are the TSA CBT Question Topics?

The questions are separated into two categories:

  1. TSA Writing Skills Assessment / English test
  2. Part 1: Introduction to X-ray/ORT
  3. Part 2: X-Ray Threat Categories and Free Sample Tests

Did the preparation we have offered here assist you in passing the tests and interviews required in order to become a TSO? We would be extremely happy to receive your feedback as well as any additional information or personal insights that could potentially help other candidates pass these tests too.

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