Failed 1st Poly

Here’s an update:

So today was a loooooonnnnggggg day… I had my Psych/Poly today.

I failed the Poly (which I knew was going to probably happen)… the good thing is, I know when exactly I’m going back. The bad news is, I was nervous the entire time and the examiner kept trying to something out of me.

It’s a full scope CI/personal… the examiner said I was all over the place on both parts.

Is that normal? What’s the most you can take it?

Did they use the word “fail” or did they use the word “inconclusive”?

It sounds like they know you were nervous and want to see how you react next time. Don’t sweat it.

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Excuse me, yes, inconclusive. I believe the term that that was used… was. “all over the place”

I know I’m not a spy, so that part confused me… when it was explained that even the CI portion came back inconclusive.

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Breathe and try to.relax, everyone who has the TS FS went through this process, even the examiner. Best you can do us try to sleep tonight and get a good breakfast the day of.

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Jeesh. for a job? what sorta of work if u dont mind me asking?

If your polygraph was with the CIA or NSA, both of which use the relevant/irrelevant technique as their standard polygraph format, then yes, it is normal to initially be accused of withholding information/deception/lying, to be interrogated and pressed for admissions, and then to be invited back for one or more “re-tests.”

According to the NSA’s polygraph policy, the polygraph unit can administer up to three “tests” on its own say-so. Thus, doing multiple sessions ensures fuller employment for the polygraph staff. Additional polygraph sessions may also be conducted, but they require approval from higher up the chain of command.


If by trying to relax one breathes slowly, deeply, and regularly, one is likely to be accused of employing polygraph countermeasures. Polygraph operators expect to see breathing rates in the range of 15 to 30 cycles (inhalation and exhalation) per minute.


This is ALL great information…

Yes, it is one of those agencies. The examiner said there were issues with both portions of the exam. He/she wouldn’t clairify which though.

I was even nervous during the control questions.

The examiner wanted me to admit to more serious things I’ve done in the past.

Also, what happens if the second and (possibly) 3rd come back “inconclusive…” ?

Stick to full disclosure, tell the truth, maintain the truth, and tell them to roll one more time. Don’t allow them to walk you in agreement to something you do not agree to. If the SF86 was honest and truthful, stick to those answers. If you reveal a different story than what is on your SF86…it can open a can of worms. Some tell the truth only under “threat of the poly”. Others wander aimlessly all over the map trying to agree with whatever the poly person seems to be asking. If the answer is No, stick to No. Never let them round up or state things in a manner you disagree with. They don’t care about MJ use in high school, so if you did it, speak to it. If you enjoyed it, tell them you did. Expect a minimum of 2, maybe 3, but a follow up interview can also follow multiple Poly’s. If it is explainable it is understandable. Everyone is nervous so have no concern normal adrenaline response screws you up. Your breathing will be jacked up, your heart will be pounding, and you will get mad as Hades at the polygrapher. I was stuttering, tripping over my tongue, stammering and I NEVER do that. Once frustration takes hold, and your buttons are pushed…it is hard to keep it all in check. But that is where they want you.

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Thank you for the repsonse… is there way I can email you? I’d like to explain the situation. I think I may be overthinking it, but I have an analytical mind, and that is a detriment for me in this entire process.

No way to PM, but likely so…I know it is easy for everyone to tell you “relax, don’t overthink…” Like telling a fish to not swim. Its just how your brain processes everything around it. Relax as well as you can considering the circumstances. If you are hiding nothing, don’t worry. There isn’t anything in the subconscious that is fighting to get out. If the answer is no, say no. If it is a multi part question have them break it into 3 parts. Short, sweet answers, elaborating isn’t necessary.

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When I go back next month I’ll definitely try that, thank you.

What could possibly happen if the 2nd and possibly 3rd still come back inconclusive?

Is it then in the Adjudicatiors hands?

(Because I have still yet to meet with my BI)

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It depends on the agency. A certain agency will “automatically” disqualify after initial inconclusive. The fact that you have been called back for a second poly is somewhat a good sign.

If you receive an inconclusive result in the second and third time around, I think it is pretty safe to say that you probably better off look elsewhere, but dont quote me on that.

It doesn’t matter if you have an analytical mind or not, you shouldn’t receive inconclusive on second try. As others have advised you, relax. In my experience, a good night sleep and a good hearty breakfast will do the trick for you. It does help to workout too, at least for me. Also, think of this as a marathon rather than a sprint. If you pace yourself accordingly, you will be fine. Obviously, stick with your answers as @amberbunny says.

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Thank you, I’ll definitely take ALL that into account. I’ll add that I was even nervous during the controlled questions. So I don’t know if that matters?

Also, as I stated before, the examiner wouldn’t explain which part of the poly was coming back inconclusive… so I have NO idea where the problem was.

In full disclosure, I’m a police officer, I took a poly to get my current job. I literally just come home and hang with the family… and build my whisky collection…lol.

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@Trey3 are they still using that god-awful 600 question personality test and the little quiz booklet?

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Lol… maybe? :man_shrugging:t5:

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Oh… and can anyone shed any light on why I have YET to hear from my BI?

@Trey3 Did you end up going back for your retake poly? I apparently failed both parts and was telling the truth. I too have an analytical mind and have a busy mind. I also had my poly late in the day and was exhausted from the earlier testing. I’m scheduled for a retake but it is exhausting.

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@archaeochica, yes, I went back a month later (March ‘19)… I was told that I “passed” or didn’t show deception.

Yes, it was a long day. Pretty much a 6 1/2 hour day for me. When I went back the second time, I kinda had a “f*ck it” attitude.

I think you should be fine the second time around. When are you going back?

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@Trey3 they have me back Wednesday, not flying me home until then. Fingers crossed. I was like WTF?! And it was a full day, from 7:30 to 4:30 on site. Very full day.

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