Free TSA CBT Practice Test [X-ray & English] With Full Answers

The TSA CBT test is divided into two parts: an X-ray object recognition test and an English Skills test. 

Let's start with the section that most candidates are nervous about - the TSA X-ray test (also used by GardaWorld).

Free TSA X-Ray Practice Test

In the TSA X-Ray test section, you'll need to quickly decide whether you identify a given object or not, based on the question's instructions.

These objects may include forbidden items such as knives and other weapons, as well as everyday items, like toys, kitchenware, electronics, etc. Note that you'll have 15 seconds per question on the real test.


Let’s kick off with a few basic questions. Note that they do not represent the difficulty level of the test but are meant to introduce you to the question style of the TSA test.


Can you identify a Wrench in the X-ray image?



Yes, there's a Wrench in this X-ray scan.



Note that the Wrench is in blue color – which indicates an item that is made of metal.


 How to analyze X-rays by color density?

X-Ray machines present images that are colored based on the density of the scanned items. The denser the material, the darker it will appear.

  • Blue represents dense materials, such as metal, hard (dense) plastics, and different parts of weaponry.
  • Green represents less dense materials such as plastics and alloys (less dense metals).
  • Orange represents the least dense material, which is mostly biological material.

💡 Note that although most guns, knives, and grenades are made of metal, they might come in different densities, thus appearing in the TSA exam as green or even orange. 


Can you identify a Kitchen Tool in the X-ray image?



Yes, there's a Kitchen Tool in this X-ray scan.


Note that the Kitchen tool is partially blue and partially orange – indicating that it is made of metal and wood.



Now that you have an idea of what the TSA questions look like, keep going to try different questions involving varied and unique items, which can be more tricky to find. We have divided the questions according to the different objects required to identify, starting with Toys, Pens, Keys, and Shoes. 


Toys, Pens, Keys, and Shoes

Can you identify a toy in the X-ray image?



Yes, there's a toy in this X-ray scan.


A toy is a general term. In this bag, there is a toy truck.

The truck is entirely organic; thus, it appears orange, making it very hard to identify. There are no specific ways of identifying this item other than knowing it in advance.

If you are asked to identify a unique item, like the toy truck in this question, focus on its outlines to learn what it looks like.


💡 Avoid memorizing the item's colors as they may change from one question to the next depending on the item's specific materials and densities – as can be seen in the following questions.  


Can you identify a pen in the X-ray image?



There's a pen in the scan. It appears green as it's made of plastic.



Can you identify a key in the X-ray image? 



There’s no key in this scan.


How can you be certain of your observation?

If there was a key in the image, it would probably appear in blue (since it is made of metal). Like the TSA CBT exam, our practice test contains images with no concealed items. You must be able to memorize the different traits and structures you are looking for to quickly rule out the presence of items in the images.

A variety of items and comprehensive guidance on characteristics you should look for can be found in our full TSA Test Prep.


Some images may be more challenging, with items that are more difficult to identify. See if you can spot the requested item in the following question: 

Can you identify a shoe in the X-ray image?



A shoe appears in the x-ray:


The sole appears bright green as it is made of dense rubber and the top part appears light green as it is made out of leather.



Tips for practicing luggage scanning

Search the items using a method to make sure you don't miss anything. Try scanning the bags in snake-like movements or dividing the suitcase into four parts and searching each one separately. Don’t forget to examine the outlines of the luggage for items that might be hidden there.


Now try to solve this next set of questions, with different items to identify:


Water Bottles, Kitchen, and Working Tools

Can you identify a water bottle in the X-ray image?



There’s no water bottle in this X-ray scan.


Can you identify a kitchen tool in the X-ray image?



A spatula appears in the X-ray scan. The spatula appears orange as it is made of wood, which is an organic material. 



Can you identify a working tool in the X-ray?



There's no working tool in this x-ray scan.


Some items such as water bottles are more distinct, and as seen in the examples above, their absence is clear. In the second example, common knowledge (spatula being made of wood) can be utilized to answer the question successfully. However, the term working tool represents a variety of items and therefore may be more challenging to identify.

In our TSA Preparation Pack, you will find a variety of items and guidelines to help you learn about the features of different tools, so you are able to recognize any described item during the X-ray test.


Now try this next set of questions, with new and varying items:

Watches, Electronics, and Flashlights

Can you identify a watch in the X-ray image?



There's a watch in this scan:



Remember – watches are usually made of metal, and therefore scanning the blue parts of the image will enhance your chances to quickly spot the watch or eliminate the chances of an item appearing in the image. 



Can you identify an electronic device in the X-ray image?



There's no electronic item in this X-ray scan.


💡 Note – here you can spot a distinctive metal water bottle. However, since the question requires finding an electronic device, you should ignore the water bottle and any item that is not an electronic device. Make sure to always read and follow the instructions before each question. 


What traits should you look for to find electronic items?

A plug: pay attention to the different kinds of plugs (EU, US, AU, UK)

Colors: Many electronic items have a plastic wrap and inside of it are metal parts. The density of the metal parts shows as green or blue, so you can notice the chips, batteries, wires, and other metallic components inside the electronic object.


Can you identify a flashlight in the X-ray image?



There's no flashlight in this X-ray scan.


Can you identify a knife in the X-ray image?



Yes, there's a utility knife in this X-ray scan.


Utility knives may appear open or closed. In this question, the knife is closed. The is visible inside of it. Remember, if a shape has different colors, trying to understand them separately may help you identify the knife inside. 


💡 An important note about knives:

On the actual TSA Computer-Based Test, you'll need to identify different kinds of knives, from large knives to utility knives, sharp nail filers, and even scissors. All these examples and more can be found in the wide variety of questions in our  


Can you identify a gun in the X-ray image?



There's no gun in this X-ray scan.


Tips for identifying guns in an X-ray image interpretation test

Guns come in different sizes, types, and colors. Most of the types share the same distinctive features which can allow you to identify them on an X-Ray scan: 

  1. Slide: It is usually the densest part of the gun, and therefore it usually has the darkest color.
  2. Trigger: It may be hidden in some angles, while in other X-Ray scans, it may become a distinctive feature crucial to identify the gun.
  3. Grip: This is the part used to hold the gun. It includes a space designated for a magazine.


Can you identify a grenade in the X-ray?



Yes, there's a grenade in this X-ray scan.



When identifying an object that may be a grenade, look for the prominent features a grenade has – the lever and safety pin. The grenade in this question is masked using different metal items.

The grenade appears black because of the increased density of the grenade and the items together. Don't rely solely on the grenade's color. 

Don't rely solely on the grenade's color

Usually, the body of the grenade appears in green or blue. However, it is better to learn to identify its parts rather than relying on the colors, as they may look different in other X-Ray machines. Since the grenade may vary in shape, it is best to learn the different structures of different grenades and be prepared to identify them in any variation in the real test. 


    Additional Tips for X-Ray Questions


  • What should you do when running out of time?
    Under tight time constraints, it is common to mistake ordinary objects for targeted objects. Therefore, If the required item is not found and time is about to end, assume that the item does not appear in the image. You should only mark 'Yes' if you actually see the targeted object.

  • What about X-ray images in different colors?
    Some States may use X-Ray images with different colors or black and white colors. The principles of X-Ray image scanning, however, stay the same: scan the bag as you practiced and search for the distinctive features of the items you are looking for. In black-and-white images, denser materials (metal) will appear in darker colors, while organic (less dense) material will appear brighter.

  • What if you encounter an unfamiliar object?
    On the TSA CBT exam, you may encounter everyday items that you haven't seen before in your practice sessions. This should not alarm you. Scanning an X-Ray image is a skill, and practice is the way to master it. Every item given in the exam will be shown in a preview before the questions. Learn the item’s traits and use them to locate it in each question, as you practiced.

    Although the question preview is helpful, it is only an example, and the question itself will likely contain an item from the same category (shoes, for instance), but from a different kind or a different angle. Therefore, do not look for the exact item as it was shown during the preview.


Congratulations! You have now completed the free preparation for the X-Ray section of your TSA CBT exam. However, for most applicants, the test is yet to finish. We are now inviting you to prepare for the English section, which is crucial for your success in the TSA exam and for airport employees: 


Free TSA CBT English Test Practice

The TSA screener English test (also known as the TSA Writing Skills Assessment) is a multiple-choice test that usually includes three topics: Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary, and Written Communication. Notice that your test may include some, and not all, of those topics, but we recommend practicing for all of those parts, in order to ensure you are fully prepared. 


Reading Comprehension

Read the passage below and answer the questions that follow.

A growing body of research suggests that the regular, high-level use of more than one language may actually improve early brain development. According to several different studies, a command of two or more languages aggrandizes the ability to focus in the face of distraction, decide between competing alternatives, and disregard irrelevant information. These essential skills are grouped together, known in brain terms as ‘executive function’ and research suggests they develop ahead of time in bilingual children. While no one has yet identified the exact mechanism by which bilingualism boosts brain development, the advantage likely stems from the bilingual’s need to continually select the right language for a given situation.

#1 The research suggests that ‘executive function’ increases with the number of languages mastered.

  1. True on the basis of the passage.
  2. False on the basis of the passage.
  3. Not possible to say if the statement is true or false on the basis of the passage.


The correct answer is (3).

The passage mentions differences expected in the ‘executive functions’ of the brain between children who have command of a single language and children who have mastered more than one.

However, it cannot be inferred that this effect continues as the number of languages continues to grow. For instance, it is not clear whether the difference in executive functions is also present between children who have command of two languages and children who have command of more than two languages.

#2 Which one of the following provides the best summary of the main point of the passage?

  1. It’s recommended to know more than one language.
  2. Bilingualism has significant advantages.
  3. Bilinguals have difficulties selecting the right language
  4. Bilingualism contributes to the development of ‘executive functions’.


The correct answer is (4).

The passage introduces two main themes: bilingualism and ‘executive functions’, emphasizing how the two are connected. The only distracter that offers insight into this connection is D.

All three remaining distracters focus either on bilingualism or ‘executive functions’, failing to acknowledge the essence of the passage.


Tips for Reading Comprehension questions

  • Read the questions before the passage. This will help you understand what you should be looking for in the text.
  • Choose the easiest questions first. For example, a question asking what a word means in the given context or a question asking how two statements are related.
  • Don’t try to assume anything outside of the text. Everything you need to answer each question can be found within the passages themselves. Disregard any answer that is not supported by the text.
  • For 'True/False/Cannot Say' questions, if you are having trouble answering any question, the most likely answer will be 'cannot say'.



Written Communication (Fault Finding)

Identify which type of error appears in the sentence below:

Mrs. Qualitrix's meeting has been postponed, due to a doctor's appointment.

  1. Grammar
  2. Spelling
  3. Punctuation and capitalization
  4. No error


The correct answer is (3) - punctuation and capitalization.

According to the English language's punctuation and capitalization rules, a comma should never separate the subject and the verb. The correct way to write the sentence -is "Mrs. Qualitrix's meeting has been postponed due to a doctor's appointment" without any commas.


Identify which type of error appears in the sentence below:

The heat of the desert affected the traveler greatly, and he regretted not leaving with the professor whom had offered him a ride to the city.

  1. Grammar
  2. Spelling
  3. Punctuation and capitalization
  4. No error


The correct answer is (1).

According to the English language's grammar rules, 'whom' should be applied when the noun refers to objects rather than the sentence's subject.

If you can replace the word with "she" or "he," use "who." if you can replace it with "her" or "him," use "whom." In this part of the sentence – "the professor… had offered him a ride" – the professor is the subject, and the traveler is the object.


Common grammar mistakes you should be familiar with:

  • No commas or unnecessary commas: adding a comma where it's inappropriate or forgetting to add a comma where needed.
  • Pronoun disagreement: for example - "Every TSA agent must wear their own badge."
  • Mistakes in apostrophe usage
  • Sentence fragments- sentences without a subject and a verb.
  • No clear antecedent. For example - "The TSO found the passenger's Swiss knife, and he was surprised."
  • Mixing up spellings, such as you're/your, to/too, there/their, etc.
  • Capitalization mistakes.



Pecuniary most nearly means

  1. Affection
  2. Scant
  3. Unique
  4. Monetary


The correct answer is (4).

Pecuniary is related to money or banking, and means financial or monetary, as suggested by option 4.


IMPERIOUS is the opposite of...

  1. Arrogant
  2. Moody
  3. Subservient
  4. Quiet
  5. Stormy


The correct answer is (3).

Imperious means "domineering in a haughty manner; dictatorial; overbearing," so the antonym is subservient. Arrogant is a similar word but not a synonym. Quiet and stormy are not related.

Therefore, the correct answer is subservient.


Tips for Synonym and Antonyms Questions:

  • Eliminate at least two answer choices that are synonyms or close to each other. If they have close meaning, it means that they're not the correct answer.
  • Watch for the suffix and prefix of words to help you understand the meaning of a word. For example, the prefix "de" means "reverse" or "change" (declassify, demotivate, etc.), and the prefixes il/im/in/ir mean "not" (illegal, insecure, etc.).
  • In Antonym questions, eliminate words based on their positive or negative meanings. If the given word is positive, you can quickly eliminate all the answers that have a positive connotation and vice versa.



The English section, as can be seen, is very different from the first part of the test. It requires a completely different set of skills: the ability to assess and make assumptions, as well as vocabulary and grammar skills. Additional texts, practice questions, and tests, alongside guides and tips for succeeding in this section can be found in our full TSA Test Prep.


Continue Practicing With the Complete TSA Preparation Pack

The practice tests on our online TSA Test Prep are designed to improve your score with:

  • 14 item-specific X-ray practice tests, simulating the TSA CBT test format. 
  • More tips and guidance for item characteristics and signs you should look for to quickly identify items. 
  • 47 drills to improve your vocabulary, writing, and grammar skills


Find Out What to Expect in the Rest of the TSA Hiring Process

Below you'll find valuable resources for the other steps you need to pass during the Transportation Security Administration hiring process.

Airport Assessment

Medical Evaluation

Drug Test

Background Check

Ready Pool



If you are looking for a different test, or are not sure which test is relevant for your position, check out our Civil Service practice  or contact us, and we'll do our best to ensure you get the most accurate preparation for your upcoming exam.


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