How do you really know when you’re ready to take the Customs Broker Exam?

How do you really know when you’re ready to take the Customs Broker Exam?

Typically, candidates prepare for the Customs Broker Exam by taking classes, reading relevant material, and taking old practice tests. When they pass a few old practice tests, they feel that they might be ready to take the actual exam. There are several problems with this subjective approach to determining a level of preparedness. Test takers may:

  • pass some practice tests now, but forget information over time and see their level of preparedness drop by the time they take the actual exam.
  • pass some of the easier old exams but fail a more difficult one.
  • not take the practice exams under timed conditions, leading to erroneous results.
  • not take enough practice exams to get reliable feedback.
  • feel complacent when they repeat the same exams and pass them, but possibly fail a new exam.

For these reasons, test takers cannot be certain about how well prepared they really are by using a purely subjective method to assess their level of preparedness. This is further complicated by the fact that the Customs Broker Exam varies in its degree of difficulty across test administrations and the pass percentage has varied from only 1.5% for the April 2012 test to as high as 34% for the October 2014 one. So, someone who passed the October 2014 test could well have failed the April 2012 one. Uncertainty can lead to a loss of confidence, resulting in poor performance in the actual exam.

How much more confident would you feel if you knew with certainty that you are very well prepared to take and pass the actual exam? We have analyzed this issue and developed a more objective solution to predict a test taker’s likelihood of success in the Customs Broker Exam. Our approach focuses on measuring four important parameters to determine the level of a candidate’s preparedness – Adequacy, Recency, Consistency and Uniqueness.

Our software offers 21 actual old exams in an online timed format for practice.  The software keeps track of a registered user’s performance on these practice exams and measures these four attributes to determine whether the user has prepared well enough to pass the actual exam.

Adequacy: The software measures adequacy by evaluating both the number of tests the user has taken and the scores achieved on those tests.

Recency: Recent test scores are a better indication of the current level of preparedness and so the software looks for recent scores and ignores scores that are older than a pre-determined time limit.

Consistency: The test has varied in its level of difficulty across test administrations. So, while a user with a certain level of preparation may be able to pass an easy test, he or she may fail a more difficult one. The algorithm therefore measures the consistency of a user’s scores across different tests to better predict the likelihood of success in the exam.  

Uniqueness: The algorithm eliminates scores from duplicate tests because a user can remember the answers from a test and score better by repeating the same test. Such repeat scores are not truly indicative of the user’s capability and are discarded.

We have developed an algorithm that uses mathematical rules to measure performance based on the above four criteria and incorporated it into our Performance Level Indicator (PLI) tool. This tool will tell users whether there is sufficient information to measure their level of preparedness and, if so, whether they are ready to take the exam or not.

The PLI reports are color coded. White indicates insufficient data, red indicates that the user is not ready to take the test, yellow indicates that the user is improving but not yet ready, and green indicates that the user is currently ready to take the test. If your PLI indicator turns green, you currently have a high probability of passing the Customs Broker Exam.

The PLI calculates its results on a real-time basis, and the indicator can change to a different status over time because it continuously applies the algorithm to data from your current performance while discarding old or irrelevant information. This approach is much more reliable than a purely subjective method in assessing your level of preparedness to take the Customs Broker Exam.

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