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Entrance exam for officer trainees

From: Canada Border Services Agency

This exam is one of the first steps to becoming a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer trainee.

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How the exam works

The Officer Trainee Entrance Exam (OTEE) is an online exam composed of 117 multiple-choice questions. These questions have been developed to assess 4 of the required competencies to become a CBSA officer trainee.

These questions are hypothetical and therefore applicants do not require any prior knowledge of the CBSA.

You will have one week to complete the test. Once you start the test, you must finish it. The duration of the exam is 135 minutes.

Competencies assessed

  • Reasoning skills
    The ability of drawing conclusions or inferences from information to solve problems.
  • Analytical thinking
    The ability to use a logical thought process to break down and work through a situation or problem to arrive at an outcome.
  • Client service orientation
    The ability to provide the best service possible (quality, timeliness, completeness, knowledge/competence, courtesy, fairness, outcome, etc.) to both internal and external clients.
  • Writing skills
    The ability to produce written documents, including correspondence, reports, documentation, etc., clearly and correctly, using plain language, and in a style and form likely to appeal to and influence the intended audience.

Alternate test dates

Requests for an alternate date will only be considered for one of the following reasons:

  • religious obligations
  • death in the immediate family
  • medical reason with a doctor's certificate (proving illness for the entire week)
  • planned vacation with costs already incurred
  • paid military leave or training

Proof will be requested in these circumstances. If you require an alternate testing date for one of the above-mentioned reasons, you must notify us via the web form noted on the invitation to the test.


If you have a functional limitation, disability or condition that could impede your performance while completing the test, you must notify the Canada Border Services Agency's National Recruitment Team. Do not begin the test until a member of the recruitment team contacts you.

If, before the exam you experience a physical or psychological problem that may interfere with completing the exam, please notify us immediately via the link on your invitation.

Should you choose to proceed with the exam without requesting accommodation ahead of time, you must accept the exam results.

Exam results

Successful results of the OTEE are valid indefinitely. If you receive unsuccessful results, your candidacy will be terminated. If you wish to re-apply, you may rewrite the OTEE one full year after your initial attempt.

If you re-write the test before the waiting period has elapsed, your new results will not be valid and a new waiting period will begin from that date.

During the assessment process both cheating and plagiarism are considered forms of misconduct and are not permitted. Any person found cheating or plagiarizing, including those who help others cheat, may be subject to sanctions including removal from the selection process.

Sample questions

Reasoning skills

Question 1

Please review the following 2 lists (identity codes) and identify how many discrepancies are between them.

List 1
  • JH384910
  • KG305919
  • BX604967
  • OP334522
  • RL390511
  • VN495089
List 2
  • JH384910
  • KG385919
  • BX604967
  • OP334522
  • RL3905I1
  • VN495009
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6

There are 3 discrepancies between the 2 lists. The right answer is c.

Question 2

Please identify which of the 4 lettered pictures is not identical to the reference picture.

Reference picture






The lettered picture b is not identical to the reference picture. The right answer is b.

Question 3

Choose the next number in the following sequence: 3, 9, 4, 16, 5, 25, 6

  1. 30
  2. 32
  3. 36
  4. 42
  5. 46

The right answer is c. 36.

Analytical thinking

In this exercise, you will be acting as a Border Services Officer (BSO) at a land border crossing. Your particular crossing has been selected by the Prime Minister's Office as a location for a press conference on at 1 pm. At the press conference, the Prime Minister will be giving a short speech regarding border safety and will answer questions from the press.

Given that the Prime Minster will be visiting, there are a number of arrangements, especially about security that will need to be made with various staff from a number of different departments. Your supervisor has placed you in charge of receiving and prioritizing all of this information. Depending on the priority, the information will be directed towards a different staff member in your unit.

Your supervisor provides you with the following list of priorities that you will use to flag all incoming communications:

  1. Urgent/Important
    • This message must be addressed immediately
    • It is time sensitive and critical to the success of the event in terms of effectiveness, security, or image to the government
  2. Urgent / Not important
    • This message should be addressed as soon as possible, however, it is not critical to the success of the event
  3. Not urgent / Important
    • This message is not time sensitive but it is critical that it is addressed before the arrival of the Prime Minister
  4. Not urgent / Not important
    • This message is not time sensitive and is not critical to the success of the event

Please read the following message and indicate the priority for your supervisor:

From: Steven Clarke, National News Canada
Date: , 9:13 am
Subject: Location of the press conference

Can you please provide me with the specific address of the location of the press conference? The press release does not contain the specific building in which the event will be held.


Response options

  1. Urgent/Important
  2. Urgent / Not important
  3. Not urgent / Important
  4. Not urgent / Not important

Question 4

What is the priority of this message?


The right answer is c. Not urgent / Important.

Question 5

If this message was sent at 9:13 am what would the priority be of this message? (If the priority has not changed, select the same answer.)


The right answer is b. Urgent / Not important.

Question 6

An electrician from Public Services and Procurement Canada calls at 11 am. The electrician asks for a blueprint of the room in which the meeting will be held to determine if there are enough electrical hook-ups for the equipment required. What is the priority of this message?


The right answer is a. Urgent/Important.

Question 7

An aide from the Prime Minister's Office leaves you a voicemail message at 3:24 pm. She asks if there will be notepaper and pens available for the press in the meeting room. What is the priority of this message?


The right answer is d. Not urgent / Not important.

Client service orientation

Question 8 and 9

You are called upon to review and finalize a report produced by another unit of the agency. You recognize that there are a few errors in the data contained within the report and that the data do not align throughout the document.

  1. Question 8: What would be the most effective response to this situation?
  2. Question 9: What would be the least effective response to this situation?
  1. Evaluate the report and provide detailed feedback to your contact within the unit with your recommendations for improvement
  2. Make the necessary corrections to the report and send it back to your contact within the unit
  3. Request that the contributors provide you with their rationale in an attempt to justify their data
  4. Question the integrity of the report as it would seem that the drafters did not pay close attention to the data provided
  5. Compare the data to a similar document to validate your findings
  1. Question 8: The most effective response to this situation would be Option b. The right answer to this question is b.
  2. Question 9: The least effective response to this situation would be Option d. The right answer to this question is d.

Question 10

Indicate the response letter that best corresponds to the pair of words that have the same meaning.

  1. Pistol
  2. Rifle
  3. Bullets
  4. Gunpowder
  5. Scope
  1. 1 and 2
  2. 1 and 5
  3. 2 and 3
  4. 3 and 4
  5. 4 and 5

The right answer is a. 1 and 2.

Writing skills

Question 11

First, arrange the following words to form a complete sentence:

and be be then records five years for will will destroyed retained

Second, from the choices below, please select the response option that includes the first letter of the second word followed by the last letter of the last word of the sentence.

  1. R N
  2. W D
  3. B D
  4. F S
  5. T S

The right answer is b. W D.

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