ICE Exam

How to Study And Pass Immigration and Customer Enforcement (ICE) Exam?

Last Updated on October 11, 2022

Immigration and Customer Enforcement (ICE) is one of the most significant federal agencies that ensure that United States citizens are protected from domestic or foreign security threats.

As part of their employment process, ICE administers the ICE exam. It’s a one-of-a-kind test that aims to check candidates’ abilities, behaviors, knowledge, and strengths.

If you are going to take the ICE exam soon, we advise you to learn everything you can about the ICE exam and its sections. Only after you are familiar with the examination will you be able to thoroughly prepare yourself for the ICE exam and, hopefully, soon land a job as an HSI Special Agent.

ICE Employment Process

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) organization has an extensive hiring process. Due to the nature and complexity of the organization, they only employ highly competent and experienced individuals.

The ICE Employment process has numerous steps that each candidate should go through and successfully finish:

  • Online application through usajobs.gov
  • Qualification review by federal representatives
  • Assessments
  • Interviews and Selection process
  • Tentative Job Offer
  • Pre-employment medical clearance and drug test
  • Pre-employment physical fitness test
  • Final job offer
  • Entrance on Duty (EoD) date

Basic Requirements for Joining ICE

  • Must be a United States citizen
  • Must have lived in the U.S for at least 3 of the last 5 years
  • Must be at least 21 or a maximum of 37 years of age – there are exceptions for veterans and current occupants of Law enforcement positions
  • Must possess a valid state-issued driver’s license
  • Must be able and trained to carry and use a firearm and maintain firearm proficiency
  • Cannot have any felony convictions
  • Must attend 22 weeks of paid training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC)
  • Must be able to undergo and pass regular physical examinations and maintain a level of physical fitness throughout their service
  • Must be willing to work at any location needed
  • Must be able to go on periodic or extended professional travels
  • Must have physical strength, stamina, and the ability to work in potentially dangerous and stressful situations, like physical attacks or the use of lethal weapons
  • Must have Selective Service Registration (applicable only for males)

Who Takes the ICE Exam?

Who Takes The ICE Exam

Two major U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement sectors use the ICE exam as part of their employment process – Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI.)

ERO is a sector that enforces immigration laws by identifying, detaining, arresting, and deporting aliens. ERO’s most common job positions are Deportation Officers, Detention and Deportation Officers, and ICE Health Service Corps.

HSI is a sector that investigates domestic and international activities when the illegal movement of people and goods happens to and from the United States.

Most typical job positions within HSI include Criminal Analysts, Criminal Investigators (Special Agents), Management and Program Analysts, Mission Support Specialists, and Technical Enforcement Officers. The ICE exams are primarily used to find adequate job candidates for the investigation positions.

HSI Criminal Investigators, also called Special Agents, are employed to conduct investigations connected to national security, drug smuggling, child exploitation, human trafficking, terrorism, illegal goods export or import, financial crimes, and frauds of different kinds.

Aside from the ICE exam, applicants also need to successfully pass a Physical Fitness test, Medical and Drug background check, Security background investigation, and a Polygraph examination.

The following section will explain the ICE exam used to pinpoint the most promising future HSI special agents.

The ICE Exam

As part of the ICE HSI employment process, the ICE test consists of several parts. It starts with an occupational questionnaire, followed by two parts of assessments. If these assessments are successfully finished, there is a structured interview.

Occupational Questionnaire

The Occupational questionnaire covers topics like previous experience, education, academic background, training, and anything else connected to the candidate’s past.

The responses are used to shortlist candidates with the adequate background and training needed for fulfilling the job requirements as special agents.

The Occupational questionnaire can receive a score between 70 and 100. If the candidate has a minimum score of 70, he or she may continue the process.

Assessments

If a candidate passes the first step, i.e., the Occupational Questionnaire, they will receive a confirmation email with access to the next phase of the hiring process.

The next stage is the ICE Assessments, which are divided into two parts.

Part I Assessments

This part of the assessment can be finished online without a presence of a test proctor. The email introducing candidates to the first test will also contain a time window for completing these assessments.

These are the two segments of the Part I exams:

  • Automated Writing Assessment or AWA

This exam segment tests the candidates’ ability to communicate and express ideas through writing. In the Automated Writing test, candidates must write a short essay for a given prompt.

The score on the AWA will be a sum of points received for correct grammar, good writing flow, good logical presentation of arguments, and completeness in response.

  • Situational Judgement Test or SJT

The SJT is a personality test that measures the natural behavior tendencies of candidates, as well as their thinking and other personality skills that might be assets in their work as special agents.

The SJT test will present applicants with real-life scenarios that are likely to happen on the job. There will be 4 or 5 courses of action proposed as possible reactions to the initial scenario. The candidates must answer with what they think is the best way to handle the potential situation.

This part of the assessment will look into teamwork, leadership, flexibility, endurance, assertiveness, and similar personality traits desired from Criminal investigators.

If candidates pass this part of the assessment, they will be notified by email and detailed about the second part.

Part II Assessments

The Work Style Assessment

The second part of the assessments is proctored and completed within testing facilities around the U.S. Applicants can schedule the testing for the time and location that suits them.

This part of the ICE exam is more thorough and contains 3 aspects.

  • Writing Skills Test or WST

The WST will measure the applicant’s ability to understand and adequately use English. The WST will test knowledge of grammar, spelling, and sentence construction rules. Unlike the Writing assessment, these abilities will be tested through straightforward questions about applying a particular rule.

  • Logical Reasoning Assessment or LRA

This aspect of the ICE exam collects details about the logical reasoning abilities of Special Agent candidates.

In this section, applicants need to show their logical thinking, ability to read, understand and interpret information, and ability to make a critical decision based on given information. Furthermore, this test part might also contain arithmetic and math problems to assess numerical and calculating skills.

  • Candidate Experience Record or CER

The Experience record segment of the ICE assessment evaluates applicants’ understanding of their past experiences, employment or education, and their perception of themselves.

As opposed to the SJT aspect, which objectively measures applicants’ personality traits, the CER looks into their perception of their abilities. Comparing these two sub-tests can give ICE hiring representatives a good evaluation of whether candidates overestimate, underestimate, or have a relatively realistic self-image.

Structured Interview (Part III)

The structured interview is the last part of the employment process (before going through medical and background checks.)

The interview might be done in person, through a phone, or online, through a video call.

The Structured interview will again go through some of the candidate’s experiences and history, crosschecking their responses with the conducted assessments.

Candidates that successfully pass the Structured Interview are placed into a pool of other successful candidates for further review and consideration. Once again, they will be notified about any additional steps through the email they provided as a contact.

How to Pass the ICE Exam?

To be considered for the HSI position, you must score at least 70% on every assignment. Furthermore, only passing is not enough since ICE representatives are looking for the best. The higher you rank on the candidates’ list, the bigger your chances of becoming a Special Agent.

The best way to pass the ICE exam is to prepare thoroughly before taking the actual assessments.

Job Test Prep is the best online library for practice materials and study guides, so you can really use their help when preparing for the ICE exam.

What Does Job Test Prep Offer?

The Job Test Prep HSI Special Agent ICE test practice is available with 1 week, 1 month, or 3 months subscription. The bundle offers practice tests and study guides for all of the ICE exam parts.

  • Full-length Personality practice test
  • 12 Written Communication practice tests
  • 6 Logical Reasoning practice tests
  • 15 Arithmetic Reasoning practice tests
  • 5 Study Guides

About ICE

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

The ICE abbreviation stands for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a federal agency, part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It is the biggest investigation agency with over 20,000 employees so far, and a mission to increase that number soon.

U.S. ICE enforces U.S. immigration and customs laws, protecting America from cross-border illegal immigration that might threaten security and safety.

Their everyday mission revolves around investigating, monitoring, and shutting down illicit activities like smuggling narcotics, human trafficking, money laundering, intellectual property theft, or customs fraud.

The two biggest sectors of ICE are:

  • Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO)
  • Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)

HSI is an investigative part that conducts criminal investigations and protects the country from any illegal border activities, while ERO is the enforcement that ensures that immigration laws are executed.

If you want to learn more about ICE, their employment process, and the assessments, you can head over to Job Test Prep and their ICE test preparation article. Job Test Prep is the most extensive library for practice materials and study guides for experts in all fields, Immigration and Customs Enforcement included.

Conclusion

The ICE exam is a thorough assessment with multiple parts used by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to pinpoint the most suitable candidates for HSI.

This article explained all steps of the ICE employment process and detailed the ICE exam and its occupational questionnaire, two-part assessments, and the structured interview. We also recommended Job Test Prep as the best place to find ICE exam practice materials.

​Written by Victoria Todorovska

Victoria (or Viki) is a Freelance Writer, Psychologist, and Gestalt Therapy Consultant. With years of experience in higher education as well as counselling others, she is well-placed to offer expert advice on guiding others up the career ladder.

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