TSA CBT English Test: Free Practice Guide & Sample Questions
Arbel TSA CBT Test Expert

Arbel, TSA CBT expert at JobTestPrep.

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What Is on the TSA Writing Skills Assessment?

The TSA Writing Skills Assessment is part of the TSA Computer Based Test (CBT) and consists of 50-60 multiple-choice questions with a strict time limit.

It assesses your skill level in English by looking at three categories: Vocabulary, Reading Comprehension, and Written Communication.

To learn more about the other section of the TSA exam, visit our TSA X-Ray test page. It includes X-Ray screening sample questions and practice tips.


TSA Reading Comprehension Test

A Reading Comprehension test is used to determine what level of comprehension you possess.

In the Reading Comprehension section, you will be tested on your speed-reading abilities, your ability to identify and pay attention to small details, as well as your overall knowledge of the English language.

There is a short paragraph at the beginning of each question accompanied by a list of multiple choice questions.

The main challenge is to understand what you read fast enough to complete each question within 90 seconds.

 


TSA Reading Comprehension Sample Questions

Sample Question 1

To survive and thrive in an era of the digital onslaught of e-books, bookstores of the future should celebrate the book in all its forms: rare, second-hand, digital, self-printed, and so on.

Digital and hybrid readers should have the option of buying e-books in-store, and novice authors should have access to self-printing book machines. The latter idea has been slower to take off in Britain, but in America, bookstores are finding it to be an important source of revenue.

In response to the growing number of self-published authors seeking shelf space, US bookstores have established programs enabling them to sell their books.

The programs clearly define their requirements and streamline the consignment process. Profitable programs range from a no-questions-asked spot in a store’s consignment section to an elaborate, tiered event option, including signings, readings, and publicity.

On the basis of the two passages, which one of the following statements is not accurate?

A. Passage B suggest a practical way of fighting the battle against e-books.
B. Passage A elaborates on the recommended ways bookstores should be dealing with ebook competition.
C. Passage B elaborates on the way bookstores should be dealing with e-book competition.
D. Passage A recommends celebrating the book in all its forms.
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

Looking at the distractors, we may realize that we are required to understand the main points of each passage as well as the differences or similarities between them.

The focus of the first passage is recommended methods of surviving the competition with e-books - distracter B is therefore correct. Distracter D also appears in the first passage and so it is also a correct distracter.

The second passage deals with the successful way in which the US is dealing with the growing number of self-published authors (note that the focus of the second passage is not fighting the battle against e-books) - distracter C is also correct and so we are left with distracter A.


Sample Question 2

A New law ensures that trafficked people are treated as victims of crime, not as illegal immigrants.

They must be properly assessed and provided with safe accommodation, benefits, and healthcare. There are also requirements about breathing space for recovery and, if appropriate, witness protection in criminal proceedings.

It is better to use public money for investment in victim support than for payment of compensation for official incompetence and mistreatment. This law also strengthens police cooperation to align offenses and penalties so as to enhance the prospects of putting behind bars the criminals who run the modern-day slave trade.

Which of the following is provided to trafficking victims under the new law?

A. Protection in case of a threat.
B. Money donation.
C. Reduced payment for accommodation costs.
D. Payment of compensation.
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The passage states that trafficking victims are entitled, under the new law, "if appropriate, [to] witness protection in criminal proceedings." So being under a witness protection program means they will be safe from threats.

Answers (B), (C), and (D) are not mentioned in the passage at all.


Sample Question 3

Eighteen months after the application is first filed, the Patent Office publishes the invention. A further payment, for an examination stage, must be made within 6 months of the publication if the inventor wants to continue, having considered the Examiner's search report.

The Examiner will then consider all the details of the application and decide whether to grant a patent or not. If the patent is granted, there will be no more to pay until annual renewal fees are required from the end of the fourth year after the date of filing.

When would the examiner consider the application?

A. After the patent is granted.
B. After the invention is published.
C. When renewal fees are required to be paid again.
D. Following the examination stage payment.
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

According to the passage, "The Examiner will then consider all the details of the application and decide whether to grant a patent or not." That stage comes after: "A further payment, for an examination stage, must be made within 6 months of the publication" – so the application will be considered only after the examination is paid for.


Tips for the Reading Comprehension Section

Here are some Reading Comprehension tips that will help you solve the test quickly and successfully.

  • It’s not a general knowledge question: Answer the questions based solely on the information presented to you.
  • Speed things up: Make it a habit to read the information presented to you at a speed that is 50% faster than your current reading speed without hindering your comprehension of the information.
  • 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.
  • Read the questions before reading the passage: This can help save time going back and forth to the passage each time you need to answer a question, and will allow you to spend more time reading the passage slowly and carefully.

TSA Vocabulary Test

The Vocabulary test examines your knowledge of the English language. These questions include synonyms, Antonyms, and Spelling questions.

If you want to succeed in this section, familiarize yourself with common Synonyms, Antonyms, Homophones, and incorrectly spelled words.


TSA Vocabulary Sample Questions

Sample Question 1

Which of the following is spelled correctly?

A. Anxious.
B. Ankshous.
C. Anxeous.
D. Anxous.
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

"Anxious" is derived from the Latin word "anxius" which has the same meaning.


Sample Question 2

Which of the following is spelled correctly?

A. Praiority.
B. Priarity.
C. Priority.
D. Prioritee.
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

Sample Question 3

Lisa was so ebullient when she found out she had been accepted into nursing school that she called all of her friends to tell them the good news.

Which of the following is the meaning of "ebullient" as used in the sentence above?

A. Despondent.
B. Shy.
C. Overjoyed.
Tired.
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

Even if you did not know the definition of "ebullient," you could figure out what it means from the sentence. "Ebullient" must mean something that would cause Lisa to call her friends to tell them good news. "Despondent," "shy," and "tired" are illogical in this context.


Sample Question 4

Roger remained obstinate in his decision, and we couldn't change his mind.

Which of the following words is a synonym for "obstinate" as used in the sentence above?

A. Relaxed.
B. Flexible.
C. Unyielding.
D. Friendly.
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

Obstinate means "not yielding to argument, persuasion, or entreaty."

Even if you did not know the definition of "obstinate" you could figure out what it means from the sentence. "Obstinate" must mean stubborn since it is impossible to change Roger’s mind. "Relaxed," "flexible," and "friendly" are illogical in this contex


Tips for the Vocabulary Part

Here are a few tips to improve your level of English and add new words to your existing vocabulary:

  • Read more: The more you read the more knowledgeable you’ll be in the English language.
  • Identify the context of every new word: Finding the context of a new word is the most effective way to memorize it.
  • Get to know synonyms and antonyms: Knowing a word's synonyms and antonyms can make it easier to remember.
  • Organize words by classifying them: For example, the classification may be based on the degree, such as large, tremendous, massive, etc.
  • Picturing can also be used to learn difficult words by associating them with an image in your mind.
  • Learn the most common words: These could be words related to your profession and words that are most commonly used in the English language.

TSA Written Communication Test (Fault Finding)

The written communication test is part of the overall TSA screener English test and is intended to determine how well you can spot errors in sentences and phrases.

You will be given a sentence or phrase on each question, and you will have to determine whether the sentence contains any errors.

The types of errors are:

A. Grammar

B. Spelling

C. Punctuation and capitalization

D. No error


TSA Written Communication Sample Questions

Sample Question 1

Please identify which type of error appears in the sentence below, if any.

The drunk driver made a report that he was driving within the speed limit but he forgot to mention that he did not have a valid driver's license.

A. Grammar.
B. Spelling.
C. Punctuation and Capitalization.
D. No mistake.
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

A comma should be used before the word "but" to connect the two independent clauses.


Sample Question 2

Please identify which type of error appears in the sentence below, if any.

The police officer in charge of the Kampar district told my friend Jody, who is from California, and I that driving after 2 AM is prohibited, even if no alcohol was consumed.

A. Grammar.
B. Spelling.
C. Punctuation and Capitalization.
D. No mistake.
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

"I" can only be used as a subject pronoun. In this case, the police officer is the subject of the sentence, which makes the rest of the pronouns in the sentence objects, rather than subjects.


Sample Question 3

Please identify which type of error appears in the sentence below, if any.

The Salvation Army is accepting used clothes, just put them in the basket outside the door.

A. Grammar.
B. Spelling.
C. Punctuation and Capitalization.
D. No mistake.
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

Two independent clauses should be separated by a semicolon after clothes, not a comma.


Sample Question 4

Please identify which type of error appears in the sentence below, if any.

Ruben offered him a cup of coffee but he was too nervous to drink it.

A. Grammar.
B. Spelling.
C. Punctuation and Capitalization.
D. No mistake.
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

Comma should be used before a conjunction such as "but".


Sample Question 5

Please identify which type of error appears in the sentence below, if any.

The purple butterfly flew across the bridge, happily enjoying the quiet breeze.

A. Grammar.
B. Spelling.
C. Punctuation and Capitalization.
D. No mistake.
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

Incorrect because the comma following the phrase "happily enjoying" is redundant.


Sample Question 6

Please identify which type of error appears in the sentence below, if any.

This new policy on sexual harassment will ensure that everyone, regardless of race, gender, education or other factors will feel safe in the workplace.

A. Grammar.
B. Spelling.
C. Punctuation and Capitalization.
D. No mistake.
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

“Harassment” and “educattion” are misspelled, the correct spellings are “harassment” and “education”.


Sample Question 7

Please identify which type of error appears in the sentence below, if any.

The investigator is averse to conforming to the rules imposed upon him by the law but admits that he has no plan on breaking said rules.

A. Grammar.
B. Spelling.
C. Punctuation and Capitalization.
D. No mistake.
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

"Plan" should be followed by the preposition "to," not "on"- "plan to" discusses the actions, the intention to do something, while "plan on" discusses assumptions or predictions.


Sample Question 8

Please identify which type of error appears in the sentence below, if any.

The works of Tolkien, Asimov, and Martin, all very famous authors known for creating entire universes in his books, became an irreplaceable part in the composition of modern-day culture.

A. Grammar.
B. Spelling.
C. Punctuation and Capitalization.
D. No mistake.
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The sentence mentions several authors, not just one.


JobTestPrep’s TSA CBT English practice materials include 19 English Skills practice tests that cover the same topics as the actual test: Reading Comprehension, Fault finding, Vocabulary, Synonyms & Antonyms, etc.

To try additional sample questions, visit our free TSA CBT practice test page.


Tips for The Written Communication Section

If you want to become good at spotting grammatical errors, you should be familiar with the various grammatical terms in the English language.

Here are a few examples of important grammatical terms:

Clause – A construction consisting of a subject and a verb forming part of a sentence or a whole sentence. A sentence may include multiple clauses several clauses.

Examples:

One clause: John bought a scooter.
Two Clauses: (1) John bought a scooter (2) because his car broke down.

Conjunction – one word or more used to connect two words, phrases, or
clauses which are grammatically equal. In the last case, it is used with a
comma before it.

Examples:
My foot and hand hurt.
My foot hurts, and my head aches.

Gerund – an unconjugated verb form. Created by adding “-ing” to the base
form of the verb. A gerund can be used as a noun replacement or as a verb.


Examples:
Noun replacement: Walking is a very good form of exercise. My favorite exercise is walking.
Verb: She is walking to the park right now.


Continue Practicing for the TSA Writing Skills Assessment

JobTestPrep’s TSA exam practice course includes 19 English Skills practice tests that cover the same topics as the actual test: Reading Comprehension, Fault finding, Vocabulary, Synonyms & Antonyms, etc. 


Your Next Steps on the TSA Screening Process

After passing the TSA test, you’ll be invited for the TSA Airport Assessment as well as for other evaluations. Learn more about what’s coming next and how to get ready in our complete TSA Hiring Process guide.

 

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