How to Prepare for the Logical Reasoning Questions of the U.S. Border Patrol Entrance Exam

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The U.S. Border Patrol Logical Reasoning Test measures your reading, understanding, and critical reading skills. There are many reasons why prospective border patrol agents must take this exam. First, border patrol agents are required to read and understand the laws and regulations that govern their actions. Second, they have to apply their understanding of these laws to actual events in the field. Often, these events involve quick thinking and independent reasoning that are founded on these laws. Testifying in court in various cases is also part of the job of a border patrol agent. This is why they are trained to follow the reasoning used in legal proceedings.

The Logical Reasoning Test is administered to select prospective candidates who will not only be able to hack the rigorous academic and theoretic training at the Border Patrol Academy but more importantly, possess complex reasoning and critical thinking skills that are necessary on the job. There are certain things you can do on your end to pass this test.

First, the test involves reading paragraphs and then answering questions based on it. It is important that you read the paragraph in its entirety before you start answering the questions. Also, be aware that you are not judged on your knowledge of facts but on your analysis of the contents of the paragraph. Thus, even if there are things stated in the paragraph that are contrary to what you know, you should still accept everything that the paragraph stated as true. The paragraph should be the basis of your answers.

Second, focus on the lead-in or basic question after the paragraph. Check if it is positive: “From the paragraph above, it can be validly concluded that…” or if it is negative: “From the paragraph above, it cannot be validly concluded that…” If it is a positive lead-in phrase, you will find four invalid conclusions and one valid conclusion. The valid conclusion should be the expected answer. Meanwhile, a negative lead-in phrase is followed by four valid conclusions and one invalid conclusion. The correct answer is the invalid conclusion. Be sure to read the lead-in phrase carefully since you will find dates and places that will allow you to choose the best answer. For instance, if the lead-in phrase states: “From the paragraph above, it can be validly concluded that in the late eighties in Nevada” then that means that you are only going to look for information on these dates and locations even if there are other answers that point to different times and states.

Third, be careful about the word “all” or “every.” If you are given two statements and the first statement contains the words “all” or “every” then you know that everything in the first group is also in the second group. Study these two statements:

First statement: All the border patrol officers are proficient in Spanish.

Second statement: All who are proficient in Spanish are border patrol officers.

The second statement is not valid because not everyone who can speak Spanish are obviously border patrol officers. Be careful about these kinds of questions in the test. Other words in the test that you should pay careful attention to are “some,” “none,” “unless,” “except,” or “only.” They will help you determine the facts from where your conclusions must be based on.