Federal Air Marshal Written Test & Study Guide

Federal Air Marshal Written Test

There are two assessment components involved in landing a position as a Federal Air Marshal; a written test, and a physical test. The point of these exams is for the TSA to ensure that you have what it takes to excel at the job. It is also a good way for the TSA to compare candidates in a standardized fashion. The assessments will give applicants a good picture of what to expect from the job. It is extremely important to do well on these exams! Landing a job as a FAM is extremely competitive. You want to ensure that you do everything in your power to prepare for these exams. We are here to walk you through what to expect on each assessment and give you free samples and guidance.

What Is the Federal Air Marshal Assessment Battery (FAB)?

The Federal Air Marshal Assessment Battery (FAB) is a three part aptitude test comprised of a: Logic-Based Reasoning Test, a Writing Test, and a Situational Judgement Test.

What Is on the Logic-Based Reasoning Test?

This test in the battery evaluates a candidate’s ability to read and understand complex written information which requires you to derive conclusions or take actions. The test will require you to make logical conclusions based on a set of facts presented. These question types are often considered to be "logic games." Common question types will require you to sequence or group items. Some of the material on the test will relate to FAMS or governmental work. There are two question types on the Logic exam: T/F or "Cannot be Determined" or multiple choice. You are not being tested on your knowledge of facts, rather how you answer reasoning questions based on those facts. Base all of your answers only on the information provided in the passages, DO NOT use previous knowledge. 

Start practicing today with this full-length Federal Air Marshal practice test with answers and detailed explanations.

What Is on the Written Test?

The written test is a multiple choice test which evaluates an applicants grammar, syntax, word usage, punctuation, spelling, and capitalization skills. Be prepared to answer questions which will ask you to select the answer that is an appropriate alternative to a word or phrase in a given sentence, or revises an underlined word or sentence. This section will also ask you to correctly sequence paragraphs or sentences. 

For a complete list of concepts and terms you need for the written test, check out this FREE FAM practice test with written test questions and answers.

What Is on the Situational Judgement Test (SJT)?

The Situational Judgement Test (SJT) is a computer based test. Applicants will be shown short videos and asked to provide the best answer to the questions. The SJT exam requires candidates to use their sound judgement and respond to various on the job scenarios that might pop up as an FAM.

The test has two basic question types: 

  1. Judgement Assessment
  2. Observation skills

The judgement assessment questions require applicants to evaluate the effectiveness of a specific course of action. The observation skills questions involve recall of visual details from a presented video. It is important to note that you need to finish every question to move on to the next section and there is no going back to answered questions. Get a free SJT sample here.

What Is the Format of the Federal Air Marshal Assessment Battery?

The Federal Air Marshal Assessment Battery is a timed multiple choice test. You are not penalized for incorrect answers, therefore you should take educated guesses and answer every question. You can go back and check your answers for the logic and written exam (not the SJT). A large portion of the exam is based on job-related information. Certain key skills such as English grammar and usage, problem-solving, memory, and decision-making skills are extremely important for excelling on the Federal Air Marshal exam.

How Can I Prepare for the Federal Marshal Assessments?

  • Review practice questions for the Federal Marshal Assessment Battery.
  • Use free TSA assessment test study guides to understand what is on the test.
  • Prepare physically by training at the gym for the physical training assessment.
  • Do your research and understand what's expected from a Federal Air Marshal.
  • Take Federal Air Marshal Assessment Battery practice tests which mimic the actual TSA assessment.

Included on this page is a free Federal Air Marshal Screener. Get a picture of the some of the hardest question types you will encounter on the test. Including sample Logic-Based Reasoning Questions and Writing Skills sample Questions. For more writing skills sample questions take a look at our TSA CBT Sample Screener.

Federal Air Marshal Logic-Based Reasoning Sample Question

Logic-Based Reasoning Test Instructions:
Make sure to read the entire passage before answering the questions. Answer each question based only on the facts given, and assume all the facts to be true.


Starting a new family tradition, the Smith family has rented a summer house for four weeks. The Smith family includes Bob, Hannah, Paul, Carly, Ashley, Howard, Sarah, and Andrew. Each of the family members needs to visit the summer house, but they don’t need to stay the whole four weeks. But, when they visit, each person needs to stay for one week. There needs to be at least two family members at the beach house every week, but there can’t be more than five family members at one time. Bob and Hannah will stay at the summer house the first and fourth week.

Carly and Sarah need to be at the summer house at the same time.
Ashley, Howard, and Sarah are free to stay at the house any time after the first week.

Paul and Andrew will alternate their visits at the beach house beginning at week one. One of them will stay at the beach house each week.

True/ False/ Cannot be Determined Sample Question

1) If Sarah chooses to go to the beach house week four, then Ashley and Howard won’t be able to go that week.

  • True
  • False
  • Cannot be Determined
Answer + Explanation

The answer is True.

The conclusion: "If Sarah chooses to go to the beach house week four, then Ashley and Howard won’t be able to go that week" is logically be true based on the facts provided. Several relevant facts contribute to this conclusion:

  1. Only five people can stay at the summer home in a given week.
  2. Bob and Hannah will both be at the house week four.
  3. Paul and Andrew will alternate their stay at the beach house from week one. One of them will stay at the house each week.
  4. Carly and Courtney must stay at the beach house together at the same time.

So we know that there will be 3 people staying in the house week four (Bob and Hannah, and either Paul or Andrew), leaving room for only 2 other people. So if Courtney is also in the house week four, that brings the total to 5, because Carly and Courtney need to be at the house together. That leaves no extra room for Ashley and Howard.

Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4
BH P or A
No A,H,S,C
P or AS or GBH
S or G

Multiple Choice Sample Question

During which week is it NOT possible for the vacation home to be filled to max capacity?

  1. Week 1
  2. Week 2
  3. Week 3
  4. Week 5


Answer + Explanation

Answer: Week 1

There are a few key facts needed to determine that the vacation home can’t be filled to max capacity during the first week:

The maximum number of people at the vacation home is five people at once.

Ashley, Howard, and Sarah are available to go to the house any time after the first week.

Paul and George are going to alternate their visits at the summer house starting the first week.

Meaning at least one of them will be at the beach house each of the weeks.

Carly and Sarah need to be at the summer house at the same time.

This means that the following people CANNOT be at the house the first week: Ashley, Howard, Sarah, and Carly (who needs to be at the house at the same time as Sarah). That leaves only Bob, Hannah, and either Paul or George (who alternate visiting the summer home)—a total of three individuals, below the maximum capacity of five:

Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4
BH P or A
No A, H, S, C
P or AS or GBH
S or G

Federal Air Marshal Writing Skills Sample Question

Writing Skills Test Instructions:
Select the correct paragraph order to create a passage that is well-organized, clear, and coherent. If no correction is necessary, choose (D).

(1) The Transportation Security Administration also recognizes that transportation assets, such as airplanes and tunnels, are part of larger systems, such as the national aviation system or a mass transit system. Taken together, all the individual transportation systems form the national transportation system (i.e., a "system of systems"). The behavior of transportation systems cannot be fully explained by confining observations to individual cars, vessels, and aircraft or fixed infrastructure. An attack on a specific asset must be analyzed for how it will impact the larger transportation system within which it resides. Impacts to a specific transportation system may then have ripple-effects on other transportation systems that could result in cascading failures.

(2) In December 2005, we made a risk-based choice to change our operations to better meet this threat. Before the change, our screening workforce was spending a lot of time searching for items that no longer posed a significant risk - items that would no longer be useful to terrorists intent on taking control of an aircraft. Based on analysis of threats, vulnerabilities and consequences, we removed the most innocuous of these from our list of items that are prohibited beyond the checkpoint. The time and labor we used to spend detecting them has been shifted to finding explosives instead.

(3) The nature of the current threat has changed since September 11, 2001. The deployment of measures like hardened cockpit doors, the Federal Flight Deck Officer Program, a vastly expanded Transportation Security Inspector Program, and others have greatly reduced the risk of an attack similar to those of September 11. Today, explosives pose the greatest risk to our transportation systems.

(4) Delivering the best security we can means using risk to guide our decisions - maximizing our resources by directing them where they are most needed. Working with our network of federal and industry partners, we identify the areas of greatest risk throughout transportation systems and act to prevent attacks and mitigate their potential consequences. To meet future threats, we are ensuring that we maintain surge capacity to respond when and where they emerge.

  1. 4 - 3 - 2 - 1
  2. 3 - 4 - 1 - 2
  3. 2 - 3 - 4 - 1
  4. No correction is necessary
Answer + Explanation

Answer: A) 4 - 3 - 2 - 1

The most logical order of the passages is 4, 3, 2, 1. It is not logical to begin the passages with paragraphs 2 or 3, as indicated in Responses B and C, because they appear to complete information that has been presented earlier and, therefore, depend on information in the other two paragraphs in order to be understood. This also eliminates Response D. This leaves Response A, which begins with paragraph 4. The paragraphs presented in this order form a well-organized, coherent passage.

This is just a taste of the Federal Air Marshal Exam. To get the full picture take a look at this Federal Air Practice Marshal exam. Access a practice exam which mimics the format you can expect on the actual exam. The prep pack includes study guides, questions, detailed explanations and much more.

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