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The FBI Intelligence Analyst Test

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As part of the FBI’s overall drive to protect the US through the use of intelligence, an FBI intelligence analyst’s role is to gather information, analyze that information and make recommendations based on their findings.

There are three career paths for an FBI intelligence analyst:

  • Tactical – Acting as part of an investigative team, operating in the field or working from an FBI headquarters to support active investigations

  • Collection/reporting – Analyzing information, improving and maintaining FBI collection capabilities, and reporting information as required

  • Strategic – Combining a wide variety of information to gain a bigger picture perspective on threats to the US

The application process for an FBI intelligence analyst is thorough and extensive. Should you proceed to the testing stage, preparation will be key to your success.

What Is the FBI Looking for in an Intelligence Analyst?

The entry requirements for an FBI intelligence analyst are lengthy. Check that you meet all of them before you apply.

Qualifications and Basic Requirements

The minimum qualification you need to be recruited as an FBI intelligence analyst is an undergraduate degree to start at GS-7 level or a graduate degree to start at GS-9 level.

You must be a US citizen and pass the background investigation that is carried out as part of the FBI intelligence analyst application process.

Further to the background investigation, you must also qualify for Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information Clearance. This clearance will be an ongoing requirement during your time as an FBI employee.

Backgrounds of Interest

Candidates who possess certain areas of experience and knowledge are of particular interest to the FBI. Although these backgrounds of interest may vary over time, the following are generally desirable:

  • Area studies (for instance, the Middle East)
  • Counter-terrorism
  • Criminal justice
  • Cultural expertise (for instance, China)
  • Cybersecurity
  • Engineering
  • English
  • Finance
  • Foreign languages (such as Urdu or Korean)
  • Forensic accounting
  • Geography
  • History
  • Intelligence
  • International law
  • International studies
  • Sciences
  • Telecommunications
  • Terrorism

This list is not exclusive and other backgrounds may become of interest as needed.

Skills and Abilities

The FBI intelligence analyst role, with its analysis of information and reporting function, requires the following skills and abilities:

  • Communication – Spoken, non-verbal (for instance, body language) and written

  • Professionalism – Maintaining a calm, honest and trustworthy demeanor at all times as a front-line representative of the FBI, even when faced with challenging circumstances

  • Critical thinking and analysis – Collection and analysis of a wide variety of information to reach pertinent and intelligence-supported conclusions

  • Adaptable and proactive – Adapting to new information and changing circumstances, and confidently planning ahead

  • Forecasting – Combining information from a wide range of perspectives, sources and concepts to draw up effective forecasts of how situations will develop

  • Problem-solving – Detecting, assessing and resolving problems

  • Plan workload – Setting and planning your workload, including short and long-term goals

  • Interpersonal skills and working well with others – Using tact and diplomacy to build trust, and adapting your behavior as needed

  • Eye for detail – Having a good eye for detail and a conscientious approach to work

  • Self-motivating – Being able to work unsupervised and to show initiative

  • Humility – Working hard in the service of others and showing humility

  • Dependable and self-assured – Others being able to depend on your skills and hard work

  • Integrous and fair – Adhering to expected levels of conduct, exhibiting integrity and fairness at all times

  • Curiosity – Having genuine curiosity when analyzing information and an enthusiasm to learn new things

  • Collaboration – Effectively collaborating with others

  • Cultural adaptability – Ability to adapt to new cultures and integrate into groups within those cultures

Disqualifying Factors

You will be ineligible to work as an FBI intelligence analyst if any of the following apply:

  • You are not a US citizen
  • You have been convicted of a crime
  • You have violated the FBI employment drug policy
  • You have defaulted on a student loan insured by the US Government
  • You fail a urinalysis drug test
  • You fail to register with the Selective Service System (SSS)

What Is the Application Process for an FBI Intelligence Analyst?

The application process for an FBI intelligence analyst assesses the candidate’s suitability at each stage.

Application and Preliminary Screening

Applications are made through the FBI online system. The information you supply will be screened for eligibility.

Should your application be successful at this stage, you will be contacted to progress to the testing and interview stages.

Phase 1 – Computer-Based Test

This first test features multiple-choice questions. It is timed and should take around 110 minutes to complete.

You must pass the computer-based test to progress onto the next stage.

There are four sections:

Working Style and Preferences – Part 1

There are 74 questions in this section, separated into questions that ask how you prefer to work or your likely behavior in a work setting, and questions that ask for information on how you interact with others.

All of the questions in this section are designed to assess how well you would perform in the intelligence analyst role and whether your personality traits are a good fit.

Two examples of the first type of question:

A. When encountering a new work environment, I find it best to take time to reassess my strategy.

a) Very untrue of me
b) Untrue
c) Somewhat untrue
d) Neutral
e) Somewhat true
f) True
g) Very true of me

B. I am at my most productive when concentrating on a single project.

a) Very untrue of me
b) Untrue
c) Somewhat untrue
d) Neutral
e) Somewhat true
f) True
g) Very true of me

Two examples of the second type of question:

A. You regularly clash with a colleague whose projects overlap those that you work on. You are aware that their project goals do not appear to be compatible with your own. How do you handle this?

a) Assess what goals you share with them and base your future interactions with them around those goals.
b) Put your own goals first, to the detriment of theirs.
c) Put their goals first, to the detriment of yours.
d) Discuss any conflicts with them regularly so that you can continue to work alongside them more effectively.

B. You become aware that a colleague has taken classified information home with them. What do you do?

a) Contact your supervisor and report the incident.
b) Speak to a trusted colleague and ask them how to proceed.
c) Contact the colleague who has taken the classified information home and ask them why this has happened, knowing that it may be an oversight on their part.
d) Nothing that day, but you check in on the colleague the following day to find out whether the classified information was returned to work.

Problem Solving – Part 1

There are 24 pattern or memory questions in this section, designed to test your problem-solving and decision-making skills.

In the pattern questions, you will be presented with a series of patterned tiles and asked to choose the correct tile to complete the sequence or indicate which tile does not belong.

An example of a pattern question is:

Which of these tiles does not belong?

FBI Problem Solving
FBI Problem Solving

The correct answer is the triangle. In the other four tiles, the number of dots denotes the number of sides of the shape divided by two. The triangle should therefore have one and a half dots.

The memory questions present you with an image or written information, before continuing to a second screen where you are asked about what you have seen.

An example of a memory question is:

An investigation into the theft of customer details through retail websites results in the following:

24 thefts from Barneys Toy Emporium
2 thefts from Jessie Days Floral Arrangements
41 thefts from Arthur Broke Gentlemen's Outfitters
211 thefts from Candie Vapes

Which of the websites had the lowest number of thefts?

a) Barneys Toy Emporium
b) Thorndykes
c) Jessie Days Floral Arrangements
d) Candie Curtains

The answer is c) Jessie Days Floral Arrangements, as they had two thefts.

Problem Solving – Part 2

This section contains 12 questions that ask you to analyze a scenario and arrive at a conclusion.

You will be provided with four possible answers, of which you must choose the most likely.

None of the answers are incorrect, but some are more plausible than others.

Here is an example of this type of question:

A man is found unconscious at the bottom of a set of steps in a park. He is wearing an epilepsy medical ID bracelet. When he arrives at the hospital, he notices that his wallet is missing. There is a history of muggings in the park. What is the most logical explanation?

a. The man had an epileptic seizure which caused him to fall down the steps, and his wallet fell out of his pocket.
b. The man was mugged, pushed down the steps and his wallet stolen.
c. The man had an epileptic seizure which caused him to fall down the steps, and his wallet was stolen while he was unconscious.
d. The man fell down the steps and banged his head. His wallet fell from his pocket during the fall.

While no answer is wrong, the most likely is c), as it uses both pieces of information in the question (the man’s epilepsy and the park’s history of muggings).

Working Style and Preferences – Part 2

There are 26 questions in this section. Each question features three statements, from which you must indicate which is most like you and which is least like you.

For instance:

MostLeast
I am happy to work in a team
I am at my most effective when working independently

I enjoy taking on a leadership role

Or

MostLeast
I am happy to be supervised
I am at my most effective when allowed to show initiative
I enjoy the opportunity to collaborate on an equal footing
The FBI Intelligence Analyst Test
The FBI Intelligence Analyst Test

Phase 2 – Written Test

In this timed test, you will be provided with material to read and then asked to write about what you have seen. This test generally takes 90 minutes to complete.

The purpose of the written test is to simulate the assessment and response aspect of the FBI intelligence analyst role.

You must pass the written test to progress onto the next stage.

Phase 3 – Structured Interview

This is a one-hour recorded interview with a panel of three senior FBI intelligence analysts, designed to test your:

The panel will read a standard script to you before the interview and will score your performance during the interview.

You must pass the interview to receive a conditional job offer (CJO), although a pass at this stage does not guarantee a CJO.

FBI Background Investigation

Should you receive a CJO, you must agree to a background investigation which includes:

  • Polygraph examination
  • Financial checks
  • Looking into whether you have ever been arrested
  • Interviews with people you know; for instance, work associates
  • References
  • Looking into your employers and neighbors
  • Confirmation of your qualifications

The background investigation will generally take between six and 18 months to complete. In exceptional circumstances, it may take longer.

Should you pass this stage, you will receive a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information Clearance to work as an FBI intelligence analyst.

ONE Seminar

Should you pass the background investigation and receive the FBI clearance to work as an intelligence analyst, the next step will be to attend an Onboarding New Employees (ONE) seminar.

This four-day session at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, will include:

  • An explanation of the FBI’s mission, history, structure and culture
  • Briefings on ethics, security and equal employment opportunity
  • The chance to develop your own FBI network
  • An emphasis on the FBI’s leadership doctrine

You will also attend a tour of the Quantico site.

Basic Field Training Course

To take up your role as an intelligence analyst, you must attend and complete the 12-week Basic Field Training Course (BFTC) at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

The purpose of the course is to make sure that new candidates are fully prepared with suitable skills and knowledge before they commence employment.

Should you progress to the BFTC, you will be considered an FBI employee and will be paid for these 12 weeks.

Should you fail the course or not complete the full 12 weeks, your offer of employment as an intelligence analyst will be withdrawn.

What to Expect From the FBI Intelligence Analyst Recruitment Process

Should you pass the preliminary screening, you will be invited to sit the Phase 1 and 2 tests at a local testing center.

The invitation will be sent by the PSI, on behalf of the FBI. You will have up to 10 days from the date of the invitation to arrange and complete both phases.

On the day of the test, you must provide one form of photo ID (for instance, a photo driving license).

Do not bring any of the following with you:

  • Reference materials
  • Stationery
  • Books or other reading materials
  • Work-related items
  • Briefcase, purse or backpack
  • Documents
  • Mobile phone or other electronic devices
  • Firearms

Please arrive in good time for each phase. Arriving late may mean that you are turned away and forced to reschedule.

If you have a disability, you may ask for a reasonable accommodation (for instance, a longer time limit to complete a test) by emailing FBI_IASP@fbi.gov.

During the tests:

  • Eating, drinking, smoking or chewing tobacco will not be permitted
  • You may not go to the restroom unless it is an emergency
  • You must not use a mobile phone
  • You must adhere to the time limit for each test
  • You must not talk to another candidate
  • You must not cheat or attempt to cheat

You must not discuss any aspect of the tests or the interview with anyone.

For Phases 1 and 2, you may wear comfortable clothes that would be suitable for a work environment. For Phase 3 (interview), wear smart business clothes.

How Are the Tests Scored and What Are the Results Used For?

The overall purpose of the FBI testing process is to ensure that you are a good fit for the role of intelligence analyst.

Work Style and Preferences – Parts 1 and 2

These two sections of the test are designed to assess your personality and how you like to work.

There are no right or wrong answers. If answered honestly, these questions should reveal whether you have the type of personality that would be suitable to work as an FBI intelligence analyst.

Problem Solving Parts 1 and 2

These questions assess your problem-solving, decision-making and reasoning abilities, as well as your memory and analysis skills.

The questions in Part 1 all have one correct answer. However, in Part 2, there is no right or wrong answer, although some of the answers do carry more points.

Written Test

This test assesses:

  • How well you can assess separate pieces of information individually
  • How well you can assess separate pieces of information as a whole
  • Your reporting abilities

Higher scores will be given to candidates who make a detailed assessment and write a thorough report.

How to Do Well in the FBI Intelligence Analyst Process

As with any test or interview, the key to success is preparation.

In the run-up to the FBI intelligence analyst recruitment process, help yourself by:

1. Figuring Out Who You Are

You will find it easier to answer the Work Style and Preferences questions if you already know certain things about yourself.

For example, how you:

  • React in certain situations
  • Interact with others
  • Like to work

You may find it helpful to take a personality test, such as Myers-Briggs or the Enneagram test.

2. Improving Your Problem-Solving Skills

Brush up your problem-solving skills by using logic games. These train your brain to think in a certain way and you may even enjoy them too.

Use sudoku, chess, logic puzzle books, Scrabble or memory games. Any of these will hone your thinking to dissect, assess and solve problems.

3. Taking Care of Yourself

You need to be in the best shape possible, both mentally and physically, to make it through the extensive application process.

Take care of yourself by following these tips:

  • Make sure you get enough sleep
  • Exercise to build stamina, but not so much that you are stressed
  • Find ways to de-stress, such as walks in nature or letting off steam on a squash court
  • Eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water
  • Meditate and learn how to quieten your thoughts
  • Rest your brain by carrying out mundane tasks, such as gardening or ironing your clothes

A healthy, well-rested and well-prepared candidate will have a better chance of success on the day.

4. Using Sample Questions

Practice sample questions to familiarize yourself with the format of each section of the test and the interview.

You can find sample questions online, some free and others at a cost:

5. Carrying Out Plenty of Research

As with any job application, do your research.

Look into:

  • Your prospective employer, the FBI
  • What remuneration package you can expect and possible career paths
  • The application process

Frequently Asked Questions

To prepare for the FBI Intelligence Analyst Test it’s important to put aside plenty of time. You will need to work on various topics, like self-awareness – this will help you with the Work Style and Preferences questions in the test.

You can also practice your problem-solving skills in advance of the FBI Intelligence Analyst Test with logic games like Sudoku. Doing plenty of sample questions will also help you get familiar with the format of each section of the test and build your confidence.

It's also helpful to take care of your physical and mental health coming up to the FBI Intelligence Analyst Test so that you don’t get overwhelmed or too stressed on the day.

The application process for the FBI is thorough and designed to select only the top candidates. The first phase of the application process has a test with only a 30% pass rate so it is considered challenging.

There are difficult reasoning questions in the first two sections and then another part of the FBI Intelligence Analyst Test which evaluates personality, preferences and professionalism and has no typical ‘right’ answers.

After the FBI Phase 1 Test is submitted by an applicant, they will receive a pass or fail result within one hour. The main purpose of the FBI Intelligence Analyst Test process is to make sure that people are a good fit for the role of intelligence analyst - and this is extremely competitive.

To work for the FBI in any position requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and at least three years of work experience (or you can gain a graduate degree and two years of experience).

Some of the degrees that create the clearest route to the FBI are Engineering, Computer Science, International Studies, Finance or any of the hard sciences (Biology, Chemistry or Physics).

There are age requirements and citizenship restrictions also. If your background happens to be in law enforcement, the FBI requires at least seven to ten years of experience (as well as gaining your degree) to be considered for the application.

As an FBI agent there is no typical day on the job, so new agents need to be prepared for anything and everything. Because of the unpredictability of the role, new agent training is extremely important and they make the process particularly rigorous.

When you get through this, there are various roles you can take on in the FBI. Special agents, for example, investigate criminal acts and violations of federal law and usually work undercover.

Or you could become a forensic accountant who works for the FBI – they examine financial records and money trails in criminal cases.

You could also become a linguist, a surveillance investigator or an intelligence analyst – each of which has a different focus.

There are different phases in the application to become an FBI Intelligence Analyst, each with specific questions.

In the first phase, there is a five-part computerized personality assessment designed to assess your suitability for a role as an FBI Intelligence Analyst.

These five parts have questions that test your logical reasoning, figural reasoning, personality, preferences and interests as well as your situational responses.

The questions in the FBI Intelligence Analyst Test are framed differently from other common personality tests which makes preparation even more essential.

You can find sample questions for the FBI test online – some are free and others at a small cost.

The FBI is an elite organization and their agents require a strong set of skills and abilities. At a minimum, you need a bachelor’s degree and a few years of solid work experience.

There is also a meticulous background check and security clearance as part of the rigorous application process, which can take over a year.

There is a physical fitness test on top of that and a medical testing process too.

The chances of getting through the FBI Intelligence Analyst Test and then the rest of the process to become an agent are quite small. Even after you are accepted there are over eight hundred hours of training which also narrows the pool of candidates. The process only rewards the very best applicants.

It is a tough process to join the FBI and preparation is key to getting through the application.

You will want to spend some time learning about your strengths and skills – as your knowledge of these is part of the early testing process. You should also practice problem-solving and logic puzzles as these will hone your thinking in dissecting, assessing and solving problems.

You will also want to prepare physically because there are fitness and medical tests. Getting plenty of sleep, eating a balanced diet and exercising to build stamina can help.

Overall you want to prepare for the process by doing lots of research and practicing sample questions for all parts of the FBI application.

Getting through the application process for the FBI is a rigorous process for anyone, male or female. Whilst the FBI actively looks to recruit women, the nature of the work requires more than a nine-to-five job would – so this might not suit individuals who would like to be fully available for their families or children.

In addition, agents can be transferred to different locations at any time, depending on the needs of the FBI, so applicants need to be 100% dedicated to the job.

In most FBI roles there is almost an equal number of women working as men. The exceptions are the special agent roles (where only 20% of staff were female as of 2020), although recruitment steps are being taken to remedy that.

Salaries for FBI intelligence analysts can differ depending on the field office where the agent is assigned.

They also vary by agent level and experience. If you were an entry-level FBI agent with less than a year’s worth of work experience, for example, you would earn less than the average intelligence analyst would.

But it’s worth noting that earnings even after five years on the job don’t fluctuate that much.

Data compiled from PayScale (a global salary service that also compiles earnings data) showed that an intelligence analyst with ten to nineteen years working for the FBI earns only an average salary of approximately $66,000 per year.

The application process for an FBI intelligence analyst is extensive.

There are many stages of the recruitment process and the first is an online application that will be screened for eligibility. Only if you pass this, will you proceed to Phase 1, which is a test with five parts and is computerized.

The second phase is a written assessment, where you will be provided with material to read and then asked to write about.

Phase 3 is a structured, recorded interview with a panel of senior FBI analysts. There will also be an extensive background check which includes references and a lie detector test.

Finally, there will also be health, fitness and medical checks before you pass to the Basic Field Training Course. Only after completing all these detailed stages will your offer of employment as an FBI analyst be confirmed.

Final Thoughts

There are many stages to the application process for the role of FBI intelligence analyst:

  • Application and preliminary screening
  • Computer-based test
  • Written test
  • Structured interview
  • FBI background investigation
  • ONE seminar
  • Basic field training course

Should you pass all these stages, you will be accepted into the FBI as an intelligence analyst and placed at the FBI headquarters or field office. Your career with the FBI will have begun.


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