CBP Exam

How to Prepare for CBP Exam?

If your ambition is to join the CBP, then you must anticipate the moment when you take your place in the training camp and prepare to join the forces protecting national borders.

But first of all, the CBP exam has to be taken. It will play a vital part in helping you realize your ambition, so it is one you will have to prepare for.

What Is The CBP Exam?

The CBP exam is actually a two-part exam. The first exam is done online when you apply for the job. The second exam is taken at a test center and takes 4 hours to complete.

The first test, the online exam, is called the “Experience Record” and asks for details of your past work experiences and achievements. Even though this may seem like a pretty easy assessment, it is part of the screening process and is your first opportunity to impress the hiring body.

Read the CBP job description and read through your cv before completing the assessment. You will be asked for specific details. Make sure you include all relevant experiences you have had.

What Format Do The Exams Follow?

There are three different sections to the assessment:

  1. Logical Reasoning – 81 minutes
  2. Arithmetic Reasoning – 87 minutes
  3. Writing – 47 minutes

Questions are multiple-choice, and you can expect to be under time pressure.

You will be provided with a calculator and note paper for the examination. To pass the test, you have to score a minimum of 70. If you fail the test, you can retake it. But you will have to wait for a further six months before doing that.

Logical Reasoning

The logical reasoning test assesses your ability to read written material and draw logical conclusions from it. The test is a means of assessing if you have the ability to arrive at correct conclusions.

You will be given passages of information followed by a conclusion. Your task will be to decide if the conclusion follows logically from the information given.

For many applicants, this will be a test they have never done before. It may take some time to adjust to the style of questioning.

Deciding if the conclusion is a natural outcome will take some time at first, and time may not be at your disposal in the exam. But there are strategies you can try to work on more quickly.

For example, try reading the conclusion first and ask yourself if that point is really made in the passage.

Or you may be more comfortable doing the question in the traditional way by studying the passage first and then attempting to find the conclusion in the passage.

Or perhaps words in the passage will lead you to the answer.

Try your hand at the following sample question and find which method works best for you.

Example Question:

Read and decide if the conclusion necessarily follows from the premise or not.

Within the category of non-disposable appliances, you’d find all personal computers (PCs).

Only PCs are used to store information.
Only non-disposable appliances are personal computers.


  • Conclusion follows
  • Conclusion does not follow

Arithmetic Reasoning

This section tests your arithmetic abilities with questions on:

  • Math word problems
  • Arithmetic calculations
  • Working with decimals, averages, and percentages.

To ace this section, review previous arithmetic studies you have done. Be careful not to fall into the trap of assuming that you remember it.

Regular practice on sample papers will refresh the skills you have picked up along the way and also train you to do your calculations more quickly, something you are going to need in the real exam.

Test your ability with the following question.

Example Question:

Which of the numbers below is closest to the correct answer?

How much is 140% of 630?

  • 740
  • 910
  • 1230
  • 74


A lot of a CBP officer’s work involves writing up reports. For the work process to flow smoothly, it is important that the reports submitted are clear and to the point.

The writing test assesses your knowledge of spelling, punctuation, grammar, and syntax, as well as your ability to organize paragraphs.

You can get passages asking you to recognize grammatical errors, for example, in the following sample question.

Example Question:

In this sentence, there may be a problem with English grammar.

If a problem does exist, select the letter that indicates the most effective change. If no problem exists, select choice D.

“Doctor appointments need to be made in the morning to assure that the rest of the day will be efficient.”

A. appointments to appointment
B. need to needs
C. assure to ensure
D. No changes

You can also get questions asking you to recognize spelling mistakes or to reorder the layout of a paragraph.

As with the arithmetic reasoning test, some of this material you may well have studied in school. But in preparation for the exam, you once again need to do your revision and practice on sample papers.

How Can I Prepare For The CBP Exam?

Young Boy using laptop

To prepare for any test, you need to know the format of the test and practice on tests similar to the real assessments.

For all pre-employment assessments, it is advisable to use a job test preparation company.

For this, we recommend using Job Test Prep, a company that has thirty years of experience in preparing applicants for pre-employment testing.

Using their services, you will get resources specifically geared to the CBP exams.

They will give you a test prep pack containing:

  • All the information you need about the assessments
  • Sample practice papers modeled on the real tests
  • A means of checking your scores as you work through the papers
  • Detailed information about questions and answers

To get an idea of the type of tests they give you, check out the following free sample inductive reasoning test question.

Is The CBP Exam Hard?

After submitting the “Experience Record,” you will be asked to do an exam at a test center.

This is where the recruitment process becomes challenging. The exam assesses your suitability for a demanding training process and for what can be a very demanding job.

The difficulty level of the assessment reflects the challenges you will face when doing the work.

You will be in competition with other applicants. The people who perform best in the assessment are the ones who will get the job. You need to put in the preparation to ensure you fall into that category.

Tests are timed. What can seem like an easy question when done in the comfort of your own home can be very challenging when done under time pressure.

Study Tips

Man Reading

Begin preparing for the examination as soon as you possibly can. You will need to work to a timetable to ensure you have everything prepared on time.

Use your sample papers as the foundation of your work. We learn better by doing questions. Applying your information to questions is an essential part of exam preparation.

Doing the sample papers will also ensure:

  • You are becoming familiar with the exam’s style of questioning
  • You learn to work within the time restrictions of the papers
  • You can monitor your progress
  • You hone your answering skills as you work
  • You identify areas you are having difficulty with.

By working like this, you will approach the exam with confidence and be able to give it your best shot.

If a job with the CBP is on your wishlist, you will find all the resources to help you ace the pre-employment exams here.

Written by Elizabeth O Mahony

With 25+ years’ experience as a teacher and state examinations corrector, Elizabeth now writes for the education and careers industry. Her experience preparing students for examinations and running an academy for supplementary education give her invaluable insights into what it takes for job seekers and graduates to succeed in assessments.