The US Customs Broker License Exam is perceived to be a challenging exam as its pass rate has varied from around 3% to over 30%. Some people are of the view that this exam is more difficult than the Bar exam because of its low passage rate. However, unlike the Bar exam, the Customs Broker License Exam is an open book exam and the reason for the lower pass rate is often due to inadequate preparation or incorrect test taking strategies adopted by candidates. Here are a few test taking strategies that you may consider for improving your performance on this exam.

Preparation is obviously key to performance on the Customs Broker License Exam. The time needed for preparation varies depending on the prior work experience and educational background of the candidate. Since the material is quite vast, it is important to obtain guidance to learn the basic concepts in all important topics. It is also important to take as many practice quizzes and old exams to understand the pattern of questions and become familiar with using the reference material.

Different study methods work for different people. Some candidates find it easier to form study groups to stay motivated and pursue a regular study plan. Use whatever study habits work best for you. It is very important to gain an understanding of the concepts and then develop a deeper understanding of the different tested topics by working with the reference material to take practice quizzes and tests.

Make sure you have paper copies of the 19 CFR regulations, HTSUS tariff, Customs directives, Customs Forms, and other prescribed reference material for use during the exam. Using the correct version of the reference material is important to ensure that you are able to answer questions correctly as the reference materials maybe frequently amended.

Many candidates have reported facing difficulties with using electronic versions supplied by the testing company as it tends to slow down the computer. It is therefore recommended to use paper versions of the reference materials. Also, you can highlight, tab, or flag your paper reference materials during your study which makes it easier to find relevant materials to answer questions.

Give yourself enough time for proper preparation. Most candidates who take the Customs Broker License exam have full time jobs and may therefore only be able to study part time for this exam. You need to set apart a regular block of time in your weekly schedule to study at least 10 hours each week for at least six months to a year to be well prepared to take this exam.

Take as many old exams for practice as you can, preferably at least 20. This actual test practice helps a lot in familiarizing with the types of questions and the reference material. The scores you receive on timed practice tests are a good indicator of how well prepared you are to take the actual exam. While taking old practice tests be mindful of the fact that the official answers are based on the reference material prescribed for that test. The old tests are still of great value for practice.

Time management is critical for the US Customs Broker License Exam. There are 80 questions to be answered over four and half hours which gives you an average of 3 minutes 22.5 seconds for each question. Some questions are more difficult than others, so if you are unable to answer a question within 3 minutes, you should move on to the next question. If you take no more than 3 minutes for each question, you should have finished 20 questions by the end of the first hour, 40 questions by the second hour, 60 questions by the third hour, and 80 questions by the fourth hour. By pacing yourself in this manner, you can have 30 minutes left over when you can return to the questions you skipped and answer them.

If you do not know the answer to a question, see if you can eliminate one or more of the answer choices, and make an educated guess for the answer from among the remaining answer choices. As there is no penalty for wrong answers, you should answer all questions, even if you have to guess a few answers.

Take care of your health. Eat a balanced diet, be well hydrated, and get regular exercise. Your mind will work better when you are healthy and fit.

Reach your test center early, familiarize yourself with its layout, and set up your reference material on your table well before the exam starts. This is to ensure that you are relaxed and ready to go when time starts.

Get good sleep and proper rest the day prior to the exam and try to stay relaxed. Keep your mind fresh by not studying the day before the exam.

The Customs Broker License Exam can vary in its degree of difficulty across exams. Do not be disheartened if you should happen to fail an exam. Many candidates have passed after multiple attempts. There is no limit to the number of attempts and some exams are easier than others. Learn from any mistakes so you do not repeat the same errors. With dedication and determination as well as continued efforts, you can pass this exam.