HSI Test For Special Agents: Free Guide and Practice [2024]

Here you’ll find free HSI Test example questions along with detailed explanations about the content, score, hiring process, and job requirements.

What Is the HSI Test for Special Agents?

HSI special agent tests are multi-phase assessments for criminal investigator candidates. Phase I includes two non-proctored tests (AWA & SJT). Phase II includes three tests (WST, LRA, & CER) under supervision. The tests evaluate writing, critical thinking, and decision-making abilities, among others.

Take a look at the following HSI sample questions and see if you can answer them.

Free HSI Exam Questions


Logical Reasoning Sample Question

1. Unemployment insurance can be collected by unemployed people but only under certain conditions. Some conditions are universally applicable regardless of state.

For example, an unemployed person cannot collect unemployment if he or she quit his or her previous job. Some conditions vary from state to state while other conditions are only applicable in certain states.

For example, in NJ an unemployed person must have been employed at his or her most recent job for a minimum of 15 weeks in order to collect unemployment.

In NY, that number is 18 weeks. In TX, an unemployed person must show that he or she is actively looking for work in order to collect unemployment. Suppose Aaron K. is unemployed and is collecting unemployment insurance.

Which of the following can be inferred about Aaron K. ?

A. Aaron K. does not need to actively look for work because he worked in TX.

B. If Aaron K. worked in NJ then Aaron K. must have been employed at his previous job for at least 18 months.

C. If Aaron K. did not work in NY, then he could have worked at his previous job for 16 weeks until he quit.

D. If Aaron K. only worked at his previous job for 17 weeks, then Aaron K. did not work in NY.

E. Aaron K. worked at his previous job no more than 3 months.


The correct answer is (D).

The passage states that NY requires a minimum of 18 weeks of work at the previous job.

Answer (A) is incorrect because the second-to-last sentence states the very opposite.

Answer (B) is incorrect because the passage states that NJ requires only 15 weeks of employment.

Answer (C) is incorrect because the second and third sentences mention that no states allow the unemployed to collect unemployment if they quit their previous job.

Answer (E) is incorrect because the passage provides no information about whether or not there are states that allow collection of unemployment with a job length of no more than 3 months (i.e. 13 weeks).




The Logic Based reasoning test measures your ability to utilize effectively critical thinking, judgment, problem-solving, and decision-making. The test will assess your ability to comprehend information successfully within the time limit and draw correct conclusions from the given facts.



Writing Skills Sample Question - Restatments

2. Each of the following sentences has four answers, each restating the original sentence in different words.

Find the answer which best matches the meaning of the original sentence.

Note: Even though tennis is known as "the white sport", some players elect to play while wearing different colors.

A. There are tennis players who choose to wear colors other than white while playing, despite tennis being referred to as the white sport.

B. Not all tennis players wear white while they play, in accordance with the common concept of tennis being "a white sport".

C. Despite being called "the white sport", some tennis players refuse to wear white clothing while playing.

D. Tennis is often called "the white sport", mainly due to the fact that most players wear white while playing the game.

The correct answer is A.

Answer B says wearing different colors is in accordance with the common concept of the sport, instead of despite it, as stated in the original statement.

Answer C uses the word 'refuses', however the original sentence does not mention players refusing to wear white, rather they chose not to.

Answer D does not mention anything about the player's choice of clothing as in the original sentence. It solely refers to the reason that tennis is called "the white sport", which is not stated in the original sentence.



This test is designed to assess your ability to take the information provided in notes and choose the statement that best reflects the information in the notes.


HSI Test Results

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Pass the HSI Criminal Investigator Entrance Exam

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Each HSI practice test is thoroughly researched and frequently updated to ensure that you get the most comprehensive and accurate practice available.

HSI Special Agent Hiring Process

The first step of the DHS hiring process involves filling out an online application, available at USAJOB on the Office of Personnel Management's website. This application will be reviewed to see if you meet the minimal HSI requirements

The next step is filling out an occupational questionnaire. This questionnaire will rate your experience, education, and training and you will receive a score between 70 and 100.

Upon meeting the minimum qualifications and minimum score thresholds, you will be invited to take the Special Agent Test Battery and Writing Sample Assessment which is to build in 2 phases.

After which you will be scheduled for a structured pass/fail interview. In order to progress in the DHS hiring process, candidates must receive a "pass" in all areas.

You will then be interviewed by two senior-level officials from HSI. The personal interview assesses your background and employment history. 

Finally, you’ll undergo a drug test, medical requirements, and a background/security investigation.

HSI Assessments for Special Agents PHASE 1 

Two non-proctored HSI entrance exams are required as part of the criminal investigator application process.

The initial criminal investigator entrance exam is the Automated Writing Assessment (AWA), a crucial component of the criminal investigator's role. 

As part of the AWA, applicants must write a short essay of at least 100 words in response to a non-job-related writing prompt and are evaluated on their:

  • Presentation/written flow.
  • Grammar.
  • How well they cover the topic.

The applicant has 25 minutes to complete the AWA.

The second assessment is the Situational Judgment Test (SJT), which tests the applicant's ability to make rapid and effective decisions and adapt behavior accordingly. 

During the SJT, the applicant is presented with 14 realistic, job-related scenarios, each with a potential course of action.

Each suggested course of action must be evaluated in 75 minutes, and the applicant must indicate its effectiveness.

HSI Assessments for Special Agents - Phase 2

If you passed the Phase I assessments of the ICE Special Agent Test, you'll get an invitation to complete the Phase II assessments.

The Phase II assessments are taken together with a test proctor at an ICE-designated testing center in most U.S. cities.

You'll need to schedule your own appointment for the proctored assessments.

The Phase II assessments include the

  • Writing Skills Test (WST).
  • Logical Reasoning Assessment (LRA).
  • Candidate Experience Record (CER).

To move on to Phase III, you'll need to pass all the Phase II assessments within a specific timeframe.

The entire proctored assessment process will take you around 3 to 3.5 hours.

Writing Skills Test (WST):

  • Writing skills are essential to your success as a criminal investigator.
  • The HSI Written test WST measures your understanding of the common rules of written English, such as proper sentence structure and word usage.
  • There will be 40 questions to answer in 60 minutes.

Logical Reasoning Assessment (LRA):

  • Developing sound reasoning skills is often necessary for criminal investigators to understand laws and regulations.
  • As part of the LRA, you will be assessed on your ability to interpret information and apply critical thinking techniques.
  • You'll have 90 minutes to answer 40 questions.

Candidate Experience Record (CER):

  • HSI evaluates applicants as a whole, taking into account past experience, preferences, and perceived abilities.
  • You are asked about your previous work attendance, your educational preferences, and your perceived skill level.
  • You'll have 25 minutes to answer 36 questions.

Homeland Security Investigator Requirements and Benefits

The following are the basic requirement for entering the homeland security hiring process.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens under 37 years of age.

Depending on the grade level, minimum qualifications may include:

  • Experience in criminal investigations or law enforcement.
  • A bachelor's degree.
  • A combination of experience and formal education will be required.

Other HSI Agent Requirements and Conditions of Employment

  • Thorough background check.
  • Paid enforcement training for 22 weeks.
  • Firearms qualification.
  • Having regular physical examinations.
  • A random drug test will be conducted.
  • Initial duty station assignment will be based on agency needs. To be eligible for a location change, you must have served for a minimum of three years.

Benefits for HSI Special Agents

  • An attractive base salary.
  • Paid annual and sick leave.
  • Federal law enforcement retirement benefits.
  • Generous health care and life insurance.

HSI Scores

There are three sections to the HSI special agent test(Phase 2): the Logical Reasoning Test, the Arithmetic Reasoning Test, and the Writing Skills Test. Passing the test requires an overall score of 70%. 

To move forward in the hiring process, you must do well on the exam.


What Is the HSI Physical Fitness Test?

Pre-employment Physical Fitness Test (PFT-P) consists of four timed events, The exercises should be performed correctly, in the order listed below, and should be separated by no more than five minutes.

For each, a minimum score is required:

1. 32 sit-ups within one minute.
2. 220-yard sprint within 47.73 seconds.
3. 22 push-ups within one minute.
4. 1.5-mile run in less than 14 minutes and 25 seconds.

What Is the HSI Special Agent Training (HSISAT) Program?

The HSI Academy is responsible for providing HSI Special Agents with comprehensive training in the most effective and current methods for conducting transnational criminal investigations. 

The basic training is provided through the HSI Special Agent Training (HSISAT) program, which includes legal principles and investigative techniques, and is mandatory for all HSI Special Agents. 

The advanced training curriculum offered by the HSI Academy enables HSI Special Agents to continually hone their skills through specialized courses across a wide range of programmatic areas.

What Does an Average Day Look Like for An HSI Special Agent?

A special agent officer never knows what to expect from one day to the next. Their morning may start with "Early morning trash pulls" before moving on to tasks such as "Surveillance" and "Signing up confidential informants." 

In addition, they attend "Meetings and case presentations at the U.S. Attorney’s Office," draft "Affidavits for search or seizure warrants," and interview "Victims, witnesses, and targets." 

The officer is also involved in "Analyzing database results, bank records," and documenting their findings in "Reports of investigations." 

When a trial is about to begin, the agent is "Preparing to testify" and engaged in "Trial preparation." 

As part of their enforcement duties, they are responsible for "Conducting enforcement actions including executing search warrants, making arrests, indictments, and convictions," and are always with an eye on "Preparing for media attention."

What is HSI SRT?

The HSI SRT is a Special Response Team (SRT) within Homeland Security Investigations. It’s main duty is Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

What Is the Homeland Security Investigator's Salary?

According to Indeed a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Criminal Investigator earns approximately $131,628 a year.

Other Federal Special Agent Positions Preps


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