Everything You Need to Know

The XRAY Test is one of the most challenging and competitive tests within the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). You will need to pass this test if you want to be employed as a Transportation Security Officer (TSO) at an airport. The TSA Computer Based Test consists of two sections.

  • The first section tests basic English skills, such as choosing the correct option for the meaning of bolded words in sentences, reading a passage and choosing the right answers to the given questions, and highlighting punctuation and spelling errors in given sentences.
  • Object Recognition Test (ORT) or XRAY Test is the second section of TSA Test – you need to identify objects like a hammer, gun…etc., that are blended with several other items in XRAY images.

To be qualified for a pre-boarding screening officer position, you are required to pass this TSA test – it is an important pre-employment assessment to test your visual abilities. You will be presented with x-ray images of different varieties and complexities, and your job is to identify a particular item as per given instructions. Although you might need to identify threatening objects such as knives or guns at times, you might also need to identify regular harmless objects such as bottles, phones, chargers, shoes and so on.

You will get a score for every right answer, and a reduction in the score for every wrong answer.

The main idea is to identify objects on the basis of their color, shape, alignment, and angle of the position at which they might be hiding behind several other items. The challenge of the Object Recognition Test is that it needs to be done in 15 seconds. Since the TSA ORT is used to guarantee the security of travelers, it is extremely important for recruiters to ensure that you truly possess excellent visual abilities to identify the items from the images. Therefore, you might be asked to take the test again even if you have passed it just to make sure you weren’t “just lucky” the first time around.

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Test Features

Fast operation

The XRAY test is timed – you only receive 15 seconds per slide. Within that time period, you need to determine if the passengers are harmless enough to enter the aircraft after scanning x-rayed images of their luggage.

Variety of images

In an XRAY Practice Test, you will encounter a display of both offensive and inoffensive XRAY images of goods. Be prepared to find threatening images like guns, knives, grenades and so on. But also be prepared to find innocuous objects as well.

Complexity of images

The images you encounter can be complex depending on how the items are mixed or overlapped with other items in a bag. Some bags can be less or more complex than other bags. They might require one to rotate them mentally in order to find their outline or form.

Importance of quality

The Object Recognition Test insists on high-quality performance because of its nature and requirement for checking threatening objects. Due to its challenging nature, only 30% of test takers pass it. Even if you did pass the test, you might be asked to take it again just to ensure that you actually made it out of your visual and cognitive abilities, rather than sheer good luck.

Technical Facts

The Object Recognition Test (ORT) is the more challenging test among the two tests of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA/TSO) – the other one is the Writing Skills Test which is much easier.

In this TSA Test, you will be given XRAY images of luggage packed with a different variety of items and you will need to identify a particular item, as per instructions provided, within 15 seconds. Usually, you will be given two practice sessions before starting the actual test. At first, you have to memorize the shapes of six given items in 30 seconds, which will help you identify the image on the next screen.

Generally, there are around 15 XRAY sample questions in an XRAY practice test. All TSA exams require you to be at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen, and in possession of excellent visual and cognitive abilities.

Results Scale and Interpretations

After completing the TSA XRAY test, your results will be available within three minutes. The scoring process is simple: if you find the item in the image, you press 1 which stands for ‘yes,’ and if you don’t find the item, you press 9 which stands for ‘no.’ Since there are only two possible answers for each question, your correct answers will give you points and the incorrect ones will deduct them.


The XRAY test for pre-board screening officer is administered online via a safe web platform. It can be taken individually or by a large group of candidates. Your reports are generated instantly upon completion of the test. This test is proctored and given only in TSA testing sites near your house. You cannot take it at home.

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Test Provider

The XRAY Test was produced by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which was formed after the terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia on September 11, 2001. The main aim of the organization is to prevent such fatal attacks in the future and save lives. Inspired by such a noble cause – to serve the nation – thousands of people joined TSA and helped in the free movement of people and commerce by building up a strong and secure transportation system.

Transportation Security Administration’s Computer-Based Tests have two parts: TSA Writing Skills Test and TSA XRAY Test. They are used as pre-employment tests for pre-boarding screening officer positions. Other TSA tests are used for different positions such as an inspector, manager, air marshal, security officer, etc. If you want to increase your chances of getting hired for the screening position, you must pass the Transportation Security Administration Tests. In addition, you must be a U.S. citizen, 18 years old and have a high school diploma in order to take any of the TSA tests including the XRAY test.

Disclaimer – All the information and prep materials on iPrep are genuine and were created for tutoring purposes. iPrep is not affiliated with the Transportation Security Administration, which is the owner of the XRAY and ORT Tests.

Sample Questions

As mentioned above, you will be presented with images of luggage after passing them through XRAY.

Click this link for the kind of images you see in an XRAY Test

Tips for Passing

It might be challenging to pass the Object Recognition Test (ORT) if you are not well-prepared. Here are some tips to help you:

  1. The first thing you must do is to stay calm and relaxed so you can focus clearly on the test. You can calm yourself by taking a few deep breaths.
  2. Recognizing an object (e.g. knife) from an XRAY image of luggage might be difficult at first. But it sure gets better with practice with the help of XRAY sample questions.
  3. Remember, you have 15 seconds to identify an object. So make sure you sharpen your visual awareness skills before taking the test.
  4. To identify an object from an image of luggage full of mixed items, study in advance the look of mechanical objects, their shapes, what different colors on an XRAY image mean and how the item looks like at “inconvenient” angles.
  5. Pay attention to the image from different angles to find out the outline of the item you need to identify.
  6. You will receive a point for every right answer. If you answer incorrectly, you will lose a point.
  7. The key to remember here is to get used to the style and format of questions by practicing Free XRAY Sample Tests.
  8. Keep your attitude positive no matter what people say about the test.

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