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United States Secret Service

Special Agent Entrance Exam

The Special Agent Entrance Exam (SAEE) is an important step in the Secret Service Special Agent hiring process. The SAEE is a competency-based assessment intended to measure various key knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics (e.g., written communication, critical thinking, attention to detail, etc.) that have been identified as required upon entry into the Secret Service, Special Agent position. The SAEE contains five timed sections: (1) Logic-Based Reasoning, (2) Experience Inventory (Part 1), (3) Language Use, (4) Experience Inventory (Part 2), and (5) Detail Observation.

Section 1: Logic-Based Reasoning - This section consists of 12 passages, each of which describes a set of facts. Each passage is followed by 1 to 4 test questions that are conclusions based on the set of facts presented in the passage. Applicants read the passage and then decide whether each conclusion is true, false, or there is insufficient information to decide. Section 1 contains 30 questions. Applicants will have 40 minutes to complete this section.

Section 2: Experience Inventory, Part 1 - This section contains statements that describe situations that applicants may or may not have personally encountered before. Applicants must choose the response option that best describes the frequency with which they have been involved in the situation. Section 2 contains 64 questions. Applicants will have 20 minutes to complete this section.

Section 3: Language Usage - This section contains 2 types of documents (i.e., memorandum, report). Errors have been purposefully inserted into these documents and applicants are asked to identify errors in grammar, syntax, punctuation, usage, and/or structure. Section 3 contains 25 questions. Applicants will have 40 minutes to complete this section.

Section 4: Experience Inventory, Part 2 - This section contains statements that describe different situations and opinions. Applicants must choose the response option that best reflects the extent to which their past supervisors and/or teachers would agree that the statement describes them. Section 4 contains 96 questions. Applicants will have 30 minutes to complete this section.

Section 5: Detail Observation - In this section, a series of photographs are presented. These photographs depict images that applicants may see on the job (e.g., a rope line or a city street during a surveillance operation). Next, a series of questions unrelated to the photographs are presented. Then, a series of questions about what appeared in the photographs are presented and must be answered without referring back to the photograph. This section contains three photographs and three sets of accompanying questions. This section takes approximately 40 minutes to complete.

What to Expect at a Pearson VUE Testing Center

Admission Policy

We ask that you arrive at the test center 30 minutes before your scheduled testing appointment time. This will give you adequate time to complete the necessary sign-in procedures. Please be prepared to show two (2) valid forms of personal identification. Both forms must contain your photo, must be current (not expired), and at least one form must contain your signature. Acceptable forms of IDs include Driver’s License, Passport Book/Card, State/Local ID, Military ID, Employee ID, and School ID.

If you arrive more than 15 minutes late for your scheduled testing appointment, you will be refused admission, denoted as a no-show, and removed from consideration in the hiring process. As a no-show, you will have to wait 6 months from the date you were refused admission to be able to attempt to take the SAEE again. You will also have to reapply to the position and submit a new application packet when there is an open vacancy announcement posted.

No personal items may be taken into the testing room. This includes all bags, backpacks, purses, books, newspapers, notes, cellular phones, tablets, watches, and wallets. Weapons of any kind (including those of law enforcement personnel) are prohibited and will not be permitted in the testing center.

Requests for reasonable accommodations for taking the SAEE are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. If you need to request a reasonable accommodation for taking the SAEE, please send an e-mail to sasupport@usss.dhs.gov with your request and supporting documents prior to your scheduled test appointment. Accommodation requests must be submitted and approved in advance of testing.

Reschedule Policy

If you wish to reschedule your exam, you must contact Pearson VUE at least 48 hours prior to your scheduled testing appointment. Rescheduling less than 48 hours prior to your testing appointment will result in removal from consideration in the hiring process. Please note that rescheduling alternatives are limited to the testing time frame or testing window in which you have been provided. Rescheduling outside of this testing window is not permitted.

If you reschedule your testing appointment with less than the required 48-hour notice, you will be considered a no-show and removed from consideration in the hiring process. You will have to wait 6 months from your most recent missed scheduled testing appointment date to be able to attempt to take the SAEE again. Note that you will have to reapply to the position and submit a new application packet when there is an open vacancy announcement posted.

Cancellation Policy

If you wish to cancel your exam, you must contact Pearson VUE at least 48 hours prior to your scheduled testing appointment. Cancelling an exam less than 48 hours prior to your testing appointment or missing your exam will result in removal from consideration in the hiring process.

If you cancel your scheduled testing appointment with less than the required 48-hour notice, you will be considered a no-show and removed from consideration in the hiring process. You will have to wait 6 months from the most recent missed scheduled testing appointment date to be able to attempt to take the SAEE again. Note that you will have to reapply to the position and submit a new application packet when there is an open vacancy announcement posted.

Last updated 2022-09-20