The Ultimate Prep to the FBI Special Agent Test (Phase 1+2)
Arbel Yellin

Arbel, Special Agent Expert at JobTestPrep.

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What to Expect on the FBI Special Agent Test?

Aspiring special agents in the FBI are required to pass two challenging assessments as part of their hiring process. The first is the Phase I Test, also named the FBI Special Agent Exam. It is a three-hour written test with cognitive and behavioral questions.  The top 30% who pass this test will move on to the FBI phase 2 exam.


Prepare for the FBI Special Agent Phase 1 Exam



*Taken from JobTestPrep's FBI Preparation Pack 


  • Logic-Based Reasoning Questions

This section of the FBI exam contains 11 questions, each presents a set of facts within a paragraph based on which you must determine the correct conclusion out of 5 options. 


For example, this question is taken from our complete FBI phase 1 preparation: 

Logic-Based Reasoning Sample Question

Most burglars that break into homes are out for cash, jewellery, and electronics. Many are driven by addiction, looking for a quick buck. A few, however, break-in with the intention of hurting the residing families. Although most burglars would be deterred by signs that people are at home - such as noises, music being played or the lights left on - some might assume no one is home and break in anyway, even if they are wrong. Others just don't care.

From the information given above, it can be validly concluded that:

A. Most people who are out for cash, jewellery and electronics are burglars.
B. A lot of people who break into houses have the intention to hurt the residents of the house.
C. Some burglars don't actually break into homes, yet are still interested in jewellery.
D. Not playing music or not leaving the lights on could attract unwanted attention from burglars.
E. A few people driven by addiction and looking for quick money are actually burglars.
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The answer is (E).

According to the passage, many burglars are driven by addiction, looking for a quick buck [in the logical formulation: (burglars + addiction + quick buck)*many]. Thus, it can be inferred from the amount specified that there are some burglars who are driven by this. Also, there is no logical fallacy in the transposing of both sentence parts, i.e., a few people driven by addiction and looking for quick money are actually burglars [in the logical formulation: (addiction + quick buck + burglars)*many].

Answer (A): According to the passage, most burglars that break into homes are out for cash, jewellery, and electronics [in the logical formulation: (burglars + out for cash, jewellery and electronics)*most]. When an amount is specified, the transposed statement cannot be inferred, as in answer (A), which states that most people who are out for cash, jewellery and electronics are burglars (out for cash, jewellery, and electronics + burglars)*most. Thus, answer (A) is incorrect.

Answer (B): According to the passage, a few burglars break into homes with the intention of hurting the residing families [in the logical format: (burglars + hurt)*a few]. Thus, answer (B) cannot be inferred, as it states that a lot of people break into homes with the intention of hurting the residing families [in the logical format: (people + hurt)*a lot]. The amount specified in answer (B) does not fit the premise (only the opposite conclusion can be inferred - see logical principle "many-some").

Answer (C): According to answer (C), some burglars do not actually break into homes, yet are still interested in jewellery [in the logical format: (burglars + not breaking in + jewellery)*some]. While this could be true, this information is not supported in the text, as information is only given about burglars who do break into homes.

Answer (D): Although the passage states noises and lights deter most burglars from breaking in (in the logical format: noises and lights ➞ deter burglars), no information is given of what happens when the lights are out and music is not being played. Thus, the opposite notion presented in answer (D) is not supported (in the logical formulation: no noises and no lights ➞ no deterring of burglars).

Logical principles:

Many ➞ some: According to logic principles, if it is known that there are many (a lot, most etc.), then it can be concluded that there must be some (a few). This principle cannot be reversed for inference from amount type premises: if it is stated that there are some, it cannot be deduced that there are many.

Transposed negative: As demonstrated in answer (D), a generalizing statement is not equivalent to the negative form of the same statement (all A ➞ are B is not logically equivalent to all, not A ➞ are not B). However, a transposed negative form is equivalent: all not B ➞ are not A! E.g., if all police officers on duty wear uniforms, it can be inferred that if one is not wearing a uniform, one is not a police officer on duty.


Such questions can get very confusing under time pressure. To be able to solve these quickly and accurately, it is highly useful to be rely on general rules, such as: 

  • The fact that "all A are B", does not mean that "all B are A" (let's say all birds are blue, it does not mean that all blue things are birds). This means that if you are given a B (blue thing), it is not necessarily an A (bird).
  • However, "Some B are A" is derived from the first statement and must be true. 


To learn more similar thumb rules that help increase accuracy and speed in this test, our FBI Phase I testing Preparation includes 2 study guides and 6 Logic-Based Reasoning practice tests (66  Questions) , as well as 7 additional extra practice tests.


For more logic-based reasoning assessing exams, check out our Secret Service (SAEE) Tests Preparation.


  • Situational Judgment Questions

There are 19 questions in this section of the FBI exam. Each question contains a description of a work scenario, followed by a list of possible responses. The challenge here is correctly rate the effectiveness of each response (from most effective to ineffective), so it aligns with the core values and capabilities expected of special agents.

For example, this question is taken from our complete FBI phase 1 preparation: 

Sample Question - SJT

You are doing a performance evaluation for Janet, one of your team supervisors. Which of the following should you avoid doing during the review?

A. Examining her ability to manage time and resources
B. Keeping your negative feedback as general as possible
C. Asking her about her own career goals
D. Talking about how she responds to your authority as a manager
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer


The answer is B.

  • Core competency: encouraging employees’ development
  • Secondary competencies: supervising performance, effective communication

This is a question about employees’ training and development, as well as your need to supervise their performance. More specifically, the question discusses appropriate and effective ways to provide feedback. The question asks what you should avoid.

Employees’ ability to manage time and resources (response A) is relevant to their work effectiveness. Hence, it is relevant and beneficial to address this aspect of their work in their review.

Providing feedback and suggesting strategies could help them improve their work and become more efficient.

Response B implies that since receiving negative feedback could feel uncomfortable, it’s better to keep it general and thus avoid hurting the employee. However, general feedback is less effective – it’s vague, might be less coherent, and can be misunderstood easily.

Moreover, the more general the feedback is, the more room for the employee to guess what you really mean or feel your discomfort in providing this feedback. Your avoidance could make a big deal out of something that could be simpler. In short, providing clear and specific feedback is more effective.

This response is the one that should be avoided. That being said, providing negative feedback should indeed be done with sensitivity, focusing on improvements rather than pointing out errors.

This response lacks effective communication skills and could also make you seem to lack confidence.

Responses C and D could seem very personal – addressing your employee’s personal goals or discussing her relationship with you. However, before you cross out one of these options based on a hunch, try to approach each one calmly and consider it analytically. Are there any situations in which these topics could be relevant?

An employee’s career goals (response C) are a relevant topic for discussion. One of your goals as a manager is to help employees develop professionally, for both the benefit of the organization and the employee. Discussing your supervisor’s goals enables you to both establish shared goals and direct your supervisor’s development (tasks she would be assigned to, professional courses she may take, etc.) accordingly.

Your supervisor’s acceptance of authority (response D) is relevant to your ability to work together. Employees’ acceptance of authority is essential for their ability to work under management. While differences of opinion and disagreements will happen and – if discussed appropriately – could contribute additional views and ideas; however, when your supervisor refuses authority, or the relationship is rocky, work can be much more difficult.

This question measures abilities related to effective relationships with other co-workers. Other questions examine the ability to adapt to changing environments, organize and prioritize, and evaluate information in order to make decisions. 


To rate the responses according to the expected values, the Phase I PrepPack contains 43 SJT questions mirroring those on the test, with fully detailed explanations of what is being assessed and expected of candidates. 


  • Figural Reasoning Questions

This section assesses your ability to identify shape or image patterns and complete them accordingly. There will be 9 questions, each containing a sequence of shapes or symbols with one missing shape.

Figural Reasoning Sample Question

Identify the missing symbol following the logical sequence of the matrix.
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer


The answer is 4.

Across the rows, each frame is the mirror image of the frame preceding it.

In order to find the answer choice, find the mirror image of the bottom-middle frame.

Alternatively, as you move across the rows and down the columns, the frames switch colors. Blue square change to white squares and vice versa.

Answer choice 4 is, therefore, the correct answer.


To practice different types of patterns and sharpen the ability to notice them, our practice pack contains a variety of questions with thorough explanations and solving tips, just like you've seen above. These will help you learn the most efficient solving techniques for each and every question.


  • Personality Assessment

The personality assessment measures aspects of your personality to identify those that possess traits necessary to be a successful FBI special agent. There will be 100 statements in this section.

For each question, you will be shown a pair of statements with a scale of 4 options between them: Agree with A/Slightly Agree with A/Slightly Agree with B/Agree with B.

I like helping others. | Agree | Slightly Agree | Slightly Agree | Agree | I am a very organized person.


Note that this personality test is adaptive, which means your responses affect the questions that will be shown to you during the test.

To make educated choices and show relevant personal strengths, our FBI exam Prep includes a full guide on the expected personality profile of promising special agents, with a personality practice test and detailed feedback.


 To try more questions, go to our free FBI Phase I Practice Test or visit our Special Agent Practice for additional information.

The FBI Phase 2 Preparation

The FBI Phase 1 Test evaluates your cognitive abilities, professional judgment, and personality, while the Phase 2 Test focuses on your ability to communicate effectively. It includes a writing assessment that lasts 150 minutes and a structured interview that lasts 1 hour. If you purchase the FBI Phase 1 Test, you can also opt for Phase 2 Test preparation by checking the box on the right.

Click here to learn more about the FBI Phase II Test Preparation

The FBI Exam Pass Rate

The FBI Entrance Exam has a 30% passing rate. If you fail to pass the test for the first time, you'll have a second chance to retest 90 days after your final test session. If you fail it for the second time, your application for the FBI Special Agent position will be permanently deactivated.

FBI Special Agent Hiring Process

The hiring process and testing for FBI Special Agent roles are lengthy and may take anywhere between several months to more than a year. Here's a breakdown of the process:

  • Application

The first step in the hiring process for FBI special agents is submitting your online application. When filling out the form, be prepared to answer questions about specialized skills, professional experiences, and your willingness to commit to the FBI and its mission. Additionally, you must complete a physical fitness evaluation, in accordance with the FBI's physical fitness requirements, as part of the initial application. 

  • FBI Phase 1 Test

Those who meet initial pre-screening and eligibility requirements are asked to take the Phase I Test. The FBI Phase 1 testing is a three-hour exam consisting of cognitive, behavioral, and logical reasoning tests. If you pass, you will be invited to a "Meet and Greet" interview. During the meeting, you will learn more about the Special Agent Selection System and be evaluated by a recruitment team.

  • Internal Review 

After passing Phase I testing and completing the "Meet and Greet," you will be reviewed by an internal FBI hiring board regarding your ability to meet the current needs of the FBI.

  • Phase 2 Test & Interview 

After passing this review, you will be contacted to complete Phase II, which consists of two parts—a writing task and a structured interview. Phase II Writing is a 90-minute written exam meant to test your ability to analyze data and prepare a comprehensive report. At the beginning of the exercise, you will be given a set of background materials to use. The Phase II Structured Interview is a one-hour, structured oral panel interview. This interview is designed to measure critical skills and abilities.

  • Conditional Job Offer and Physical Fitness Test

Once you pass the FBI Phase II testing, you are extended a conditional job offer (CJO). Upon accepting the CJO, you will be scheduled to take the official physical fitness Test (PFT)—a rigorous physical examination administered in accordance with strict FBI protocol. CJOs are contingent upon successfully passing the PFT, physical, and background investigation. 


What Do Those Who Score High on the FBI Test Receive?

Receiving a high score on the FBI entrance exam may increase your chances of gaining employment with the FBI. That's because your phase 1 test score will be kept in your candidate file, and will likely carry weight on the final hiring decision.

Once you get hired, the starting salary for an FBI special agent is $47,630. The FBI provides its employees with health benefits, a thrifts savings plan, life insurance, and time off for vacation and sick leave, with an additional 10 days off for federal holidays.

How Do I Prepare for the FBI Exam?

The best way to prepare for the FBI exam is by practicing solving the same question types that are found on the real test. Moreover, it's crucial to prepare using the actual time constraints.

In our complete FBI Test Prep, you can find hundreds of practice questions similar to the ones you'll face on the real FBI Phase 1 Test. These questions are equipped with full explanations and tips, to provide you with the best preparation process.

How Many Times Can You Take the FBI Exam?

If you don't pass the FBI Phase 1 Test on your first try, you'll be eligible to retake after 90 days. Note that not all candidates will be invited for a retest. If you fail the test twice, your application will be terminated and you'll be ineligible for future consideration for the Special Agent position.


How Many Candidates Fail Phase 1 FBI Test

It's estimated that around 70% of the FBI Phase 1 test-takers fail the exam every year. Some get a second chance to retake it in 90 days, but there are candidates who are ineligible for a retest and their application terminates once they fail the exam.

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 questions 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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