Time management for the Customs Broker Exam

Time management for the Customs Broker Exam

Time management is critical to passing the Customs Broker Exam. The test has 80 objective questions and each question provides five alternatives to choose the correct answer. The test is timed, and you currently have four and half hours to answer 80 questions. Prior to October 2014, the time permitted to answer 80 questions on the Customs Broker Exam was four hours, which meant that a test taker had to answer each question within an average time of 3 minutes. From the October 2014 test onwards, the time has been extended by 30 minutes, so a test taker now has on average 3 minutes and 22 seconds to answer each

I will suggest several techniques that you might like to use for effective time management for the Licensed Customs Broker Exam. Find the techniques that work for you by practicing taking several practice tests.

Practice, practice, practice. The more you practice and use the reference material to answer quiz and test questions, the more familiar you will become with the material and you will also have a better idea of where to look to find relevant information to answer each question.

Tab all reference material using short topic titles, so you can quickly access the relevant topics from your printed reference material. Material is often scattered under different regulations and so proper tabbing will help you to quickly locate relevant information to answer
questions correctly.

Try to work through the test and answer questions as quickly as possible. Do not spend too much time on any one question because each question carries the same marks and there maybe easier questions later in the test which you may not get to answer if you spend too much time initially on tougher questions.

Answer the test questions in two or three passes. In your first pass, answer all the easy questions that you find and the moderately difficult ones. Do not spend too much time on any difficult question. This way you will get to answer all easy and moderately difficult questions on the test where your probability of getting the answer correct and scoring points is high.

Allot 3 minutes on average to answer each question and allocate 30 minutes at the end to review your answers and tackle any tough questions that you could not answer in your first or second passes. Reviewing your answers at the end is always a good idea as you can spot and correct any errors and earn extra valuable points.

The questions vary in their degree of difficulty. There are always a few easy questions which can be answered from memory without having to refer any reference material. You may be able to save time by answering each easy question within 30 seconds or less. This way, you can bank the saved time to answer more difficult questions that require you to refer reference material. Preparation is key to answering the easier questions quickly to save time.

It is helpful to read the call of the question first, especially if the questions involve long fact patterns. That way you know what the question requires you to answer, when you go back to read the facts and you know what to read. Reading the call of the question also helps your mind recall the topics that may be relevant to answer the question.

Nearly 40% of the questions on each test are from two topics viz. Classification and Entry. Practice answering classification and entry questions extensively as this will help you answer the bulk of the test questions and build confidence.

Familiarize yourself with the model online test provided by Customs and Border Protection and read all instructions carefully. You do not want to waste time reading instructions on the actual test and you should know how to use the online test software very well. Reach the exam center early and give yourself enough time to find your seat and set up your reference material in a way that gives you easy access and saves time. Use a stand to organize and hold your HSN Tariff and other bulky reference material. You do not want to fumble with books and papers during the exam and lose valuable time.

Have a good night’s sleep the previous night and be alert and refreshed while taking this exam. Mental alertness can help you spot nuances in tricky questions that you might miss if you are tired.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.


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