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  • Treasury Enforcement Agent Exam

    I'm writing to inquire what the TEA exam is all about. Although, I'm about a year or so away from applying to the Secret Service I was curious what the TEA exam entails. Are there specific areas that would be useful to brush up on? What, if any study guides are out there for the TEA exam? How many questions is the test? How is the test formatted (multiple guess, fill-in the blank, essay, combination of aforementioned)? Any help would be useful. Thanks!

  • #2
    There are study guides for the TEA. If you go to a bookstore, Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc., browse through one. It is all multiple-choice.
    Parts of it are reading comprehension and math problem solving. Parts of it are behavior based so you can't study for those. You just answer honestly about yourself.

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    • #3
      I found it to be a tough test. I would recommend studying up for it, especially the math section!

      The Secret Service will usually give you two shots at it. If you come close to passing it, you can usually expect a retest in 30 days.

      If you REALLY blow it, you may have to wait a full year before a retest is offered. Either way I believe the final say is with the SAIC of the Office.

      Hope this helps.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Puffy6460
        I found it to be a tough test. I would recommend studying up for it, especially the math section!

        The Secret Service will usually give you two shots at it. If you come close to passing it, you can usually expect a retest in 30 days.

        If you REALLY blow it, you may have to wait a full year before a retest is offered. Either way I believe the final say is with the SAIC of the Office.

        Hope this helps.
        Puffy, I also found it to be tough. Way back when, the Service gave you a second shot at the test regardless of your first score, b/c I knew a couple of agents that really screwed it up the first time and passed the second. Don't know how it is now though.
        They Don’t Think It Be Like It Is, But It Do.

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        • #5
          Truthfully it has been 7 years since I took the test myself. I have heard that they have implemented some changes since then.

          Rumor has it that some of the changes have included making the math section either smaller, or carry less weight in the final score and increasing the value of the investigative reasoning section. Theoretically giving those of us who have more law enforcement experience than higher math skills a better shot.

          Again, I'm not sure of these changes, just what I have heard. Either way I would recommend getting the latest version of the Arco TEA study guide, to get familiar with the type of questions and format.

          Personally, my math skills were so weak, that I took the Arco book to a math tutor twice a week for a couple months to make sure that I gave the TEA my best shot. I would recommend the same to any that are in the same boat.

          Often, a local community college can refer you to a reasonably priced math tutor. For me, it was a good investment (in time & money) to obtain a +$100,000 a year federal LE job!

          Best of luck to all those taking the test!

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          • #6
            Puffy and GoldBadge are right on. The newest and best book, I think, is "Master the TEA." Something along those lines. It's a 2006 edition. Barnes and nobles has it or can get it for you.

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            • #7
              Thanks guys for all your input. I have about 18 months left until I get my B.A. but I heard you can apply up to 9 months prior to getting your degree. I'm currently a road patrol deputy in Michigan, but I've always wanted to be a Secret Service Agent. Also I was stationed at the Pentagon when I was in the military and wouldn't mind moving back to DC for awhile. Well, thanks again and stay safe.

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              • #8
                Message Deleted
                Last edited by policesc1; 05-27-2008, 04:04 PM.

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                • #9
                  I took the tea over the weekend. Very similar to the test guides, math was a bit easier than the arco guide, but verbal recognition was difficult. All 5 choices were very similar! get the arco, not learning express, its math is too easy. and it is scored as a combined total, not each section. At least my score was an 88, so Im assuming its totalled.

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                  • #10
                    Hey MiDeputy....I took the TEA exam last yr, but did not pass...due to the fact that when I mailed my application, they called me within 4 days to set up the test, any ways there is a book - Master the Treasury Enforcement Agent Exam - 11ed. its by ARCO - I Paid $19 for that book - but go to the libraries around and search if they have it.....i suggest that you start studying on it from now on since you might want to ask questions on math or english section - note - im not saying your are not smart but you know those questions. The best i can suggest is that to get go to a college/univ. and ask math / english teachers to help you - prob they will charge you, but it is a good investment. Like other post said its entails math and english and other section,but the ARCO book will help...if you pass / fail you will find out in the mail. You need a score of 70 or higher to PASS....when you get the letter it will not tell you by how much you failed or passed by - i.e it will say FAILED - but it can be a score of 69...you can PASS by a score of 71....it depends how well you think you did or did not do...Best of Luck
                    Last edited by thermal; 02-20-2008, 11:11 AM.

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                    • #11
                      The Arco Book is a good prep for the exam; I hear negative things about the others...

                      The only advice I might offer is to time yourself, especially on the math practice tests. During the test, I found that I was spending way too much time zoning out on a problem - the stress of the whole experience compounded things and I started to run out of time...

                      Good luck to everyone!

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                      • #12
                        Can anyone break down the LE exams that are required for the specific Federal LE branches. IE. is the TEA only for ATF and US Secret Service?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sandcreek View Post
                          Can anyone break down the LE exams that are required for the specific Federal LE branches. IE. is the TEA only for ATF and US Secret Service?
                          I think everyone is doing their own exam now, but it is still all the same, Reasoning, Math, and Investigation
                          God Bless America

                          101st Airborne Division, Rakassans Air Assaultttttttt
                          3rd Infantry Division, 2BCT

                          ICE 1811
                          Applied: 6/22/09
                          Exam: 7/24/2009
                          SI/WA: 3/2/2010
                          The Call: October 26, 2010
                          PRESIDIO BOUND!!!!!!!!!!

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                          • #14
                            How would you all rate the TEA compared to the FBI Phase 1 test? Which one is harder overall?

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                            • #15
                              Im about to take the FBI PH 1 test next week so I will let you know. I am taking it only because I am so mad I am waiting so long for ATF/DEA/ICE.. 2.5 years since application for all! I hear there is no math on the test, so I'm not worried. Thats my weakpoint.

                              TEA - Wow.. That was a hard test.. I studied the ARCO books for 6 months and still could only confidently answer about 6 of the 20 questions. I also had a math tutor for 2 long days going through a practice test. If I had all the time in the world I presume I could have confidently answered about 15 math questions. The actual math is relatively simple. The hard part is knowing it so well that you can do the calculations in your head or very fast on paper.

                              A simple question may be: You are driving a car 45 mph. Your friend is driving his car at 47 mph and leaves 2 hours after you. How long until he catches up with you? Math is easy - Distance = Rate * Time. Here's the hard part - you are timed and there are several steps to this problem. For the problems you must do things like convert hours into minutes, and calculate both car's trips. All in the matter of 1-2 minutes. That stuff is mind boggling, yet it's one easy formula!

                              As everyone said, I would get a tutor, and study those ARCO books HARD. Study math the most. I dont know if I am good at reasoning, or if the reasoning portion was easy, but I thank the reasoning portion for the passing score.

                              ICE's exam, which is similar to the TEA was easier. The math was much more simple.

                              DEA does not have a test.

                              USSS/ATF use the TEA.
                              Last edited by formerusssnusmc; 03-25-2010, 09:27 AM.

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