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How to Study for the Customs Broker Exam Part 3


Part 3: Strategies for passing the Customs Broker Exam

This week we have been doing a three part series on how to prepare for the Customs Broker License Examination.

Part three is the longest post in the series, but it represents the meat of the content. If you follow these suggestions, you will be well on your way to passing the exam on your first try. So let’s get started!

Open-book... sounds easy

If you’re unfamiliar with the Customs Broker Licensing Exam, you are probably thinking to yourself, “open-book, multiple choice test= piece of cake!” Well…no. The CBP doesn’t make it an open-book test to be nice, it’s out of necessity. The “book” amounts to over 3000 pages to “open”. To give you a better idea, this is what just the HTSUS and 19 CFR look like:

Studying for the Customs Broker Exam

Just kidding. It looks more like this:

HTSUS and 19 CFR

With 80 questions to answer in 4 hours, you have about 3 minutes per question. Needless to say, you need to be strategic with how you study for the Customs Broker Exam. Reading through the material cover to cover and retaining the information in your brain is not a possibility (at least not for me). The goal of your study should be to get quick at looking up information in the HTS and 19 CFR.

Set up your Reference material

The first step is to organize yourself and your study materials to get the most out of your time. You should have a highlighting, flagging, and note taking system so that you can access the most salient information quickly.

After you get all of the required materials purchased and delivered, you should organize them into notebooks with each important section flagged with a tab. Here is how Janet Wallett from FCI suggests exam takers set up their notebooks:


Put this info in one small notebook:
Customs and Trade Automated Interface Requirements (CATAIR)

  • Appendix B - Valid Codes
  • Appendix D - Metric Conversion
  • Appendix E - Valid Entry Numbers
  • Appendix G - Common Errors
  • Appendix H - Census Warning Messages
  • Appendix L - Drawback Errors
  • Glossary of Terms

Put this info in one small notebook:

  • Instructions for Preparation of CBP Form 7501 (8-30-2005)

This can go in your reference bible:

  • C-TPAT - Minimum Security Criteria for Customs Brokers (3-20-2007) 
    Submission Changes for Supplemental Information Letters and Post Entry Amendments 

Put this info in one small notebook with divider tabs:


Put this info in one small notebook: 



Here are the tabs for your HTSUS:

  • General Rules of Interpretation
  • General Notes
  • Exemptions
  • GSP Countries GN 4
  • Automotive GN 5
  • Civil Aircraft GN 6
  • CBERA (E*) GN 7
  • Israel Free Trade (IL) GN 8
  • Freely Associated (Z) GN 10
  • Andean Trade (J) ATPA GN 11
  • NAFTA  GN 12
  • NAFTA Goods Wholly Obtained
  • GN 13/14/15 Pharmaceuticals
  • African (AGOA) (D) GN 16
  • Caribbean Basin (E) GN 17
  • Jordon (JO) GN 18
  • Singapore (SG) GN25
  • Chile (CL) GN 26
  • Morocco (MA) GN 27
  • Australia (AU) GN 28
  • DR-CAFTA (P or P+) CN 29
  • Bahrain (BH) GN 30
  • General Statistical Notes
  • Abbreviations
  • Country of Export
  • Cosmetics, Shampoos, Lipsticks
  • Textile Notes
  • Textile Restraints

Here are the tabs for your Reference Bible:

  • Contents 19 CFR 
  • Brokers Exam Notes
  • Customs Forms
  • Key Time Frames
  • Index (19 CFR Index goes here)
  • Classification & GRI's Fact Sheet
  • Classification
  • Valuation & Acronyms
  • Abbreviations & Definitions
  • Incoterms
  • MFG Shipper ID Code (MID)
  • Critical Deadlines
  • J-List
  • Trade Programs
  • Pkg Unit Codes
  • Tax / Fee Codes
  • Other Gov Agency Codes
  • Equip Description Codes
  • Valid Amendment Codes
  • Metric Conversion
  • CATAIR Glossary
  • Other Fee Block 39
  • Bond Type Codes
  • ISO Country & Currency Codes
  • Entry Type Codes
  • Missing Document Codes
  • Mode of Transport
  • Related Document Identifiers
  • Address Examples
  • 7501 Entry Summary
  • Entry/Immediate Delivery Form 3461
  • Customs Bond Form 301
  • Customs Broker 111
  • Entries 141 and 142
  • Valuation 152
  • Prohibited & Restricted 12, 145, 162
  • Recordkeeping 163
  • Fines, Penalties, Forfeitures 171
  • Protests 173 and 174
  • Quotas 132, 131
  • Rules of Origin 102
  • Trademarks Trade Names 133
  • Country of Origin Marking 134
  • Drawback 191
  • Customs Bonds 113
  • Bonded Warehouses 19
  • Foreign Trade Zone 146
  • Articles Free of Duty & TIB 10, Carnet 114
  • Financial & Accounting 24
  • NAFTA 181, 102, GN 12
  • Liquidation 159

Here are some extra tabs you can insert in your 19CFR:

  • TIB
  • Articles for the United States
  • GSP
  • MPF   HMF
  • Drawback Offices +
  • Textile Products COO Determination
  • Fees for Services
  • Liquidated Damages for failure to return
  • Informals
  • Addl. Info on Merchandise ie. footware
  • Liquidated Damages by other Gov Agency
  • Schedule Tares
  • Conversion of Foreign Currency
  • 171 Appendix A Failure to Declare
  • 1592 Sec. 592 171 App. B Commercial
  • 171 App. C  Penalties to Brokers
  • 171 App. D  Drawback Claims
  • Binding Rulings
  • Rules of Origin
  • Rules of Origin Appendix Terms
  • 191 Mfg. Drawback Subpart B
  • 191 Unused Merchandise Drawback Subpart C
  • 191 Rejected Merchandise Subpart D


Have a system for highlighting so that you can quickly scan for important information. Here are a couple of suggestions for how to color code your highlights. 

  • Blue - designates "time"  ie. period of 6 months, 60 days after date of notice, etc.
  • Green - designates "fees" "percents" "payments"  ie. payment of liquidated damages equal to double the estimated duties,  110 percent of estimated duties, $100, 35 percent
  • Pink - penalties
  • Orange - designates "customs forms"  ie.  Customs Form 3495
  • Yellow - Other important notes 

How to study for the exam

I posted a question on the Customs Compliance group on Linkedin asking how to best study for the Customs Broker Exam. They were able to give some great guidance that I would like to share with our readers.

Andrew Barbour of Hyundai Corp. gave the following steps to study for the exam:

  1. Download about five (older) past exams, and thoroughly study the CFR/HTSUS/directive section tested in each question. This will give you an idea of what you need to study GENERALLY for the exam. Put a star next to or highlight the CFR/HTSUS/directive section each time you see it come up in a question.
  2. Practice taking a few more exams at a leisurely pace, looking up answers as you go.
  3. Take the rest of the exams you can find (working forwards chronologically to the present) under timed conditions. Like at least 15 of them.
  4. Practice until your practice scores are consistently in the passing range. If you have already registered for a seat at the exam and you aren’t ready by the time the actual exam rolls around, cancel in advance, get a refund of your test fee and try to get ready for the next test.

Joanne Pack of First Class Cargo Systems, Ltd. added:

  1. Memorized the chapter numbers in the Table of Contents of the Regulations
  2. Have a general idea of how the HTSUS is set up in progression beginning with Ch. 1 Live Animals, progressing to fruits & vegetables, further progressing to processed food items…
  3. If you have a mentor, don’t hesitate to ask questions. The only dumb questions are the ones that are not asked.

How long do you need to study for the Customs Broker Exam?

The obvious answer to this question is: as long as it takes. Depending on the amount of time you have to devote to studying, it could take anywhere from a month to a year. I’m pretty new to the subject material, so when I told people in my network that I was going to try to take the test in April (at the time it was 1 ½ months away) I was advised to shoot for the October exam instead.

The pass rate for the exam is usually in the teens. Needless to say, it would behoove you to put in the necessary time beforehand so that you don't have to repeat.

As Andrew Barour said, if you aren’t ready by the time the actual exam rolls around, cancel in advance, get a refund of your test fee and try to get ready for the next test.

On Test Day

Give yourself plenty of time to get ready and drive to the Examination site. Get there early so that you don't bring additional stress to the process of taking the exam.

Be sure to bring photo ID, proof of registration, and your reference materials. 

When you take the actual exam skip the questions you don't know off the top of your head and answer the ones you know. Remember you have 4 hours; you want to allot as much time as you can to questions you're having problems with. Good Luck. (Charles Walper of Frontera Customs Broker)

Be sure to note your answers on the information you keep, last year there were lots of post test discussions to give testers a good gauge of how they did long before customs let them know. One further advantage to keeping your answers and hearing the commentary following the test is you can gather information that you might need to protest questions where you have a valid response but did not get a favorable score. Knowledge is power and a good protest could mean the difference between passing and failing! (Korrie Thomas, CHB, CCS)


I hope that the preceding suggestions will help you pass the Customs Broker Exam. Many thanks to the Customs Compliance professionals that gave their suggestions on Linkedin and to me personally.

CUSTOMS Info is in the process of creating a practice test application, and other useful exam prep materials. Follow us on any of the major social media outlets or subscribe to our RSS feeds to keep updated. 

Comment Below

Join the conversation! Your suggstions and questions are welcome in the comment section below.


Valuable information, common sense strategy that is easily applied. 
Very good, thank you!
Posted @ Friday, March 23, 2012 8:42 AM by Furlan
Thank you Furlan!
Posted @ Friday, March 23, 2012 5:14 PM by Bryce Hanson
I would love to hear feedback from people who took the test on April 2, 2012. I studied for several months and felt well prepaired walking into the test. Walking out of the test I ws telling myself "there's always October" From talking with other test takers the general feeling was that this test was the hardest in years past and that the passing rate would probably be in the single digits rather then double.
Posted @ Tuesday, April 03, 2012 12:55 PM by Erica
I hope you hear good news Erica! I'm interested what others thought of the test as well. I didn't take it this time.
Posted @ Tuesday, April 03, 2012 2:40 PM by Bryce Hanson
I took the April 2012 test and felt very prepared for it (this was not my first time). I felt this was my time to pass and came out of there very discouraged.
Posted @ Friday, April 06, 2012 9:54 AM by Christina
I have been putting off this exam for years because English is my third language. I think, I just need to do it and see what happens. This is really good info, well organized. Thank you!
Posted @ Friday, April 06, 2012 3:32 PM by Vida Malgarin
Took the exam in April thought I was very prepared but instead just froze after looking that the test. I panicked at the questions in the exam. They certainly threw a curve ball at us. I dont think I passed this time around. But I will try again in October.
Posted @ Friday, April 06, 2012 10:46 PM by Henry
I too studied very completely for 6 months, and felt very confident in being able to locate answers in the regulations, and my classification skills. I left the exam as did the other 7 people very discouraged. The questions had to be read over and over again to figure out what they were asking, which ate up valuable time. The length and wordiness of many of the questions just took more than the 3 minutes per question, requiring many guesses when time ran out. 
Question to people who are more knowledgable - is there ever an instance whereby CBP agrees the exam was not it's usual, and grades on a curve if nationally, most people did not pass? Just curious.
Posted @ Monday, April 09, 2012 10:28 AM by Janice
No, they NEVER grade on a curve. You do however have the option to protest questions and argue for an answer you felt was correct or argue that there were no correct answers to any questions you wish within 60 days of receiveing your test results. Some people end up passing after a successful protest. However, it does take a long time to get your protest answer back from Customs and I have a feeling there are going to be alot more people that normal protesting questions this time around; I will probably be one of them.
Posted @ Thursday, April 12, 2012 8:22 AM by TC
Any idea how long it will take for someone to post what they think the correct exam answers are?
Posted @ Thursday, April 12, 2012 11:41 AM by JLO
This April 2012 exam was my third trying and again, I thought I was prepared and left the exam knowing it did not look favorable that I passed this time.
Posted @ Tuesday, April 17, 2012 8:24 AM by Heather
The April 2012 exam was round two for me as well. Any idea on when customs will post offical answers?
Posted @ Monday, May 14, 2012 8:50 AM by Travis
This has been probably the longest Customs taking to post the answers or respond to the test takers. I have preliminary answers given to me by the course I took if anyone is interested.
Posted @ Monday, May 14, 2012 9:18 AM by Heather
Heather, please post your answers. What course did you take? Do you feel the course fully prepared you for the April exam?
Posted @ Monday, May 14, 2012 12:47 PM by Travis
I took a course given by StarUSA and thought the course was well worth it. Here's the unofficial answers to April 2012 exam: 
Posted @ Monday, May 14, 2012 1:21 PM by Heather
Can anyone please tell me how many people did in fact pass? Thanks!
Posted @ Friday, May 25, 2012 3:59 PM by AIMEE V
I have supervised several National Customs Brokers Examinations and some hopefully very thought provoking tips I give my students is: 1. read the question and be sure you address what the question is aksing you! 2. Often the first answer that comes to you is the correct answer, dont doubt yourself, you live and breath this all day every day at work. 3. Relax and try to imagine the examintation as a project a client has given you and you want to finish it before you go home for the day...nerves can make you do silly things so try to stay calm and focused on everything you know.
Posted @ Monday, May 28, 2012 8:19 PM by ms hris mckirdy
haha that was me Ms Chris Mckirdy!! From Australia
Posted @ Monday, May 28, 2012 8:21 PM by ms chris mckirdy
Well, think i will give it a "go" again....failed about 5 years ago and said I would never try again. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!!
Posted @ Wednesday, May 30, 2012 1:09 PM by Chartrice Morris
I have taken the exam twice, Oct will be round three. I thought i had it knocked the last time but did not study trade agreements enough. I will succeed in Oct, i will not allow myself to fail again. "Thinking Positive"
Posted @ Wednesday, May 30, 2012 5:49 PM by Brenda McMoore
Here you go
Posted @ Wednesday, June 06, 2012 11:26 AM by Carla
can you tell me any training class will open in los angeles area? Also , I bought some lecture CD for study, are that useful or you will perfer go to college and take the class? 
I can't find any college will have a customs broker class open in los angeles, so if you have any information, please let me know  
Posted @ Wednesday, June 06, 2012 12:42 PM by Calvin Wan
i took the test in April and i took a prep course. I failed big time and i wanted to know what is the best way to study. I dont have any money to pay for another prep course i am going to do this one on my own.
Posted @ Sunday, June 10, 2012 9:13 AM by confused
For Confused; have you downloaded the Customs Broker Quiz App on this website look under the tab CI Search. I would start by regular practice test taking to guage your understanding.
Posted @ Monday, June 11, 2012 1:15 PM by Heather
under "Here are the tabs for your reference bible" you state that "the two documents i sent this morning go here" 
is there a way to get these docs?
Posted @ Wednesday, June 20, 2012 1:23 PM by alicia
Well from what I have heard the passing rate for the April exam was 1%. That is crazy .... praying tht the October exam will be much higher.
Posted @ Saturday, July 14, 2012 6:19 AM by Erica
I was looking forward to taking the next available test in Boston, MA. Is the exam offered every October and April? has anyone here taken the exam in Boston? 
Posted @ Friday, August 31, 2012 12:04 PM by Leo
I want to take this test, but I must pass on the first try -- I need all the help I can get. I live in Laredo,Tx a huge port of entry from Mexico -I work for a transportation company who wants a Licensed Customs Broker of their own .-- great career opportunity--- :) thanks
Posted @ Sunday, October 07, 2012 11:52 AM by Erik@
Posted @ Monday, November 12, 2012 2:40 PM by Lori
Has anyone tried practicing on the old tests that they have on the .gov website? does it help?
Posted @ Monday, November 12, 2012 3:09 PM by Lori
Hi, I'm looking for a partner study in New York - Westchester. If any interested, please send me an email.
Posted @ Wednesday, November 14, 2012 9:44 PM by Magda
Hi, I need help protesting questions. I took the October 2012 test and am 2 questions off. Any ideas? 
Posted @ Monday, November 19, 2012 11:57 AM by Geli
Hi, What questions did you get wrong? I appealed april and got them to agree to some but not enough, I am just a couple off for october as well.
Posted @ Monday, November 19, 2012 11:59 AM by alicia
Hi, I'm looking for a partner study in Los Angeles CA . If any interested, please send me an email.
Posted @ Tuesday, November 20, 2012 5:25 PM by Jackie
Wow! I'm dating an American and we're not sure if we'll settle in SA or the US. So I'm starting to investigate opportunities to move my career accross the sea. Reading these comments makes this exam sound as bad as passing the Board Exam here, to become a Chartered Accountant. Am i right to be put off, or is this actually achievable?
Posted @ Tuesday, December 11, 2012 12:40 AM by Norma
Would anyone like to sell their study materials that have given up on taking this difficult exam?
Posted @ Thursday, December 20, 2012 9:14 AM by Nick
Hi, I'm looking for a partner study in Houston TX. If any interested, please send me an email.
Posted @ Friday, January 04, 2013 3:45 PM by Patricia
Hi Patricia, 
I am not in TX but in Indianapolis. I can tell you that I worked with students from New Jersey, and other States on my MBA classes. I am planning to take the exam on April. If you or anyone are interested in working together, please let me know. We can define our method of communication and a good learning plan. 
Posted @ Monday, January 14, 2013 7:29 PM by Thierno Diba
I am studying to take the exam in the San Francisco Bay Area on April 1st. Anybody interested in studying together? I live in the Santa Cruz mountains but will travel on the weekends.
Posted @ Friday, January 18, 2013 11:36 PM by Brooke
Hello Patricia I live in Houston. Let me know if you still want somebody to study in this area.
Posted @ Tuesday, February 05, 2013 9:52 PM by Rudy Ixtabalan
Hi Jackie, 
I am in the Los Angeles area, I'm interested in studying together. Are you preparing for the April 3rd 2013 exam? If you or anyone else in the LA area is interested please let me know. 
Posted @ Monday, February 25, 2013 6:44 PM by Tracy
Posted @ Tuesday, April 09, 2013 3:24 PM by EDDIE CHAVEZ
I have Title 19 Customs Duties, 2013, Brand New book for sale. Bought for April exam, but didn't have time to study. Bought it for appr $180 including shipping, now asking for $80. Anyone interested, please let me know.
Posted @ Monday, April 15, 2013 3:12 PM by Fiona
Hi, my name is Tony and I'd like to meet people in New York City who would like to study for the exam. I took the test 2 years ago and would like to take it again. If there is anyone who would like to start a study group please email me. thx
Posted @ Monday, May 27, 2013 9:42 PM by Tony Brown
Hey Tony Brown, im in NYC and want to take the october exam. I live in staten island so please email me at Looking forward to hearing from you.
Posted @ Thursday, June 20, 2013 4:55 PM by Usman
Hi! I'm Destinee. Going for my second round this october in houston texas. If anyone wants to buddy up that would be great.
Posted @ Tuesday, July 09, 2013 3:47 PM by Destinee Broussard
Lloking for appeal arguments for the April 2013 exam. need to appeal 2 questions.
Posted @ Tuesday, July 16, 2013 12:17 PM by JF Durfee
I'm going to start studying for this exam. I live in Dallas. Is there anyone interested in a group study? Please, let me know.
Posted @ Tuesday, July 23, 2013 10:45 PM by Alma Covarrubias
to be honest I've heard that people that are least prepared are the ones that end up passing, i have an uncle who's taken it 8 times and he hasn't passed yet. i'm basically being thrown to this exam blind and the practice exams are freaking me out. we'll see
Posted @ Thursday, August 29, 2013 10:08 AM by Mayra Monsivais
I've started studying for the April 2014 exam and just finished racking up the reference materials. I'm wondering how much time / space you're given to set up materials in the exam room. Any tips on transporting / managing documentation on exam day? 
Posted @ Friday, September 06, 2013 9:30 AM by Mike McMahon
Hi, I'm looking for groupstudy in Bellevue, WA. If any interested, please send me an email. 
My email:
Posted @ Tuesday, September 24, 2013 3:41 PM by Juoling Lee
Hey, Magda from Westchester,did you take the test, if you did I hope you passed. If you're still looking for a study buddy let me know. I'm still interested in finding a study partner. thx
Posted @ Wednesday, September 25, 2013 6:43 PM by Tony Brown
Anyone received Exam Notice from CBP for this Oct exam?  
I am getting nervous since only around 8 days left but I still didn't get it.  
Please kindly help me know, thanks
Posted @ Friday, September 27, 2013 7:24 PM by Fiona
Looking to find a study group in Houston TX. I'm in Humble near the airport. 
email me at (3 o's in boooth)
Posted @ Saturday, October 05, 2013 7:25 PM by Eric
I am taking the exam Oct 7th, is anyone else taking the Broker exam in/near Philadelphia.?
Posted @ Sunday, October 06, 2013 4:56 AM by Lydia
Posted @ Tuesday, October 29, 2013 1:42 PM by
I have just started studying for the April 2014 Exam at this point it is very challenging anyone in the Houston area that is willing to study or teach please reach out to me.
Posted @ Wednesday, November 27, 2013 5:21 PM by Michael A. Nichols
Taking the test in April 14 looking to find a study group in DALLAS,TX email me if anyone is interested. I would like to start ASAP.
Posted @ Monday, December 02, 2013 9:29 AM by Ian
Has anyone that took the October 2013 exam heard anything about results???
Posted @ Monday, December 02, 2013 9:33 AM by Destinee B
Posted @ Monday, December 02, 2013 9:49 AM by Ian
Hi all, 
Confused about CB exam registration process: The Customs director needs to receive application and fees 30 days prior to exam date (March 7 for the upcoming April 7 exam?), yet CBP will not publish the Notice of Exam until 30 days prior? Webpage for this notice? 
Appreciate any clarification.
Posted @ Saturday, December 28, 2013 11:07 AM by Mike
Can anyone suggest a good self study program I can purchase.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 07, 2014 7:46 PM by Moe
Anyone looking for study partner in the greater Orlando FL area, let me know! Will be taking April 7th exam...
Posted @ Sunday, January 12, 2014 5:01 PM by Walter C
Hi, I live in San Diego and I'm looking for a study partner for the April 2014 exam. I live in Crown Point (PB). Please contact if serious about passing the exam in April, I'm planning on studying 3-4 hours a day until exam day. Email: Pone: 858-568-3204. -Piero
Posted @ Friday, January 17, 2014 1:09 PM by Piero Ibanez
I would like to buddy up with other people custom broker exam in nyc. Pl. let me know if someone is looking forward to study together. I would very much appreciate it. Thanks.
Posted @ Saturday, January 25, 2014 12:00 PM by aziz ahmed
Does the April 2014 exam ready for apply now? I still don't see any notice on the website.
Posted @ Saturday, February 08, 2014 11:05 AM by JoeyHuang
No application information yet just says they'll post in February. I am going to check every few days.
Posted @ Saturday, February 08, 2014 11:55 AM by Heather
I would like to buddy up with people preparing for custom broker exam in NYC. Pl.let me know if someone is looking forward to study together. I would very much appreciate it.Thanks.
Posted @ Thursday, February 13, 2014 1:37 PM by aziz ahmed
Hi, Toni, 
I would like to study in a group for the custom broker exam. I live in NYC. Pl. contact me if you are interested to study together. Looking forward. Thanks. Aziz.
Posted @ Friday, February 14, 2014 10:30 PM by aziz ahmed
Need a study partner in Plano Tx. anyone interested. Please let me know.
Posted @ Friday, March 07, 2014 4:16 AM by Clarence Walker
Does any one have the notice letter for the exam yet?
Posted @ Monday, March 17, 2014 4:46 PM by Joey
@Joey - I have not yet received the notice letter. 
Does anyone know where you can find some more of the previous exams? Only the last two are available on
Posted @ Tuesday, March 18, 2014 11:17 AM by Greg
Hi people. FYI. You can get the tabs ready on below link. It is very useful as stated above. Or you can Ebay search keyword. 19 CFR, HTS, CATAIR, Adhesive Label Tabs for US Customs Broker License Exam 
Posted @ Tuesday, March 18, 2014 4:25 PM by Stephen
good luck all for tomorrow.
Posted @ Sunday, April 06, 2014 4:39 PM by Joey Huang
I would like to study in a group. 
I am willing to sit for the Oct. 2014 exam. Please contact me who is interested. 
Posted @ Monday, April 07, 2014 10:09 AM by aziz
Just took the April 2014 exam. It seemed to be better written and (dare I say it) easier than the last few exams - only 14 classification questions. I'm cautiously optimistic.
Posted @ Monday, April 07, 2014 6:02 PM by Mike McMahon
took the test at Penn Hotel in Manhattan New york. here's my answers: 
1. B 
2. D 
3. C 
4. E 
5. C?? 
6. E 
7. D 
8. C 
9. A 
10. C 
11. B 
12. D 
13. C 
14. E 
15. C 
16. E 
17. D 
18. C 
19. D 
20. E 
21. C 
22. D 
23. A 
24. E 
25. A 
26. C 
27. E 
28. B 
29. A 
30. E 
31. A 
32. A 
33. D 
34. A 
35. C 
36. C 
37. A 
38. C 
39. D 
40. A 
41. D 
42. B 
43. A 
44. A 
45. E 
46. C 
47. C 
48. C 
49. C 
50. B 
51. D 
52. B 
53. D?? 
54. A?????? 
55. C 
56. A 
57. B 
58. C 
59. C?? 
60. B 
61. E?? 
62. D 
63. D 
64. D 
65. A  
66. E 
67. C 
68. C 
69. B??? 
70. C 
71. B 
72. C 
73. D 
74. A 
75. D 
76. E 
77. A 
78. E 
79. B 
80. E 
i personally feel this test is much easier than I expected….people , lets compare the answers… I can't wait to know the result…good luck :D 
Posted @ Tuesday, April 08, 2014 10:34 AM by lee
Here are the answers I put for the test that I took in St. Louis. 
1. B 
2. E 
3. C 
4. D  
5. C 
6. C 
7. D 
8. C 
9. A 
10. D 
11. B 
12. D 
13. C 
14. E 
15. C 
16. E 
17. D 
18. C 
19. D 
20. E 
21. C 
22. D 
23. A 
24. E 
25. D 
26. C 
27. E 
28. E 
29. A 
30. E 
31. E 
32. E 
33. D 
34. A 
35. C 
36. B 
37. C  
38. D  
39. A  
40. A 
41. C 
42. E 
43. A  
44. E 
45. E 
46. C 
47. C 
48. C 
49. C 
50. B 
51. A 
52. B 
53. A 
54. B 
55. C 
56. A 
57. E 
58. A 
59. B 
60. B 
61. D 
62. E 
63. A 
64. D 
65. A 
66. E 
67. C 
68. C 
69. C 
70. C 
71. B 
72. E 
73. A 
74. A 
75. A 
76. B 
77. B 
78. E 
79. B 
80. E 
Posted @ Tuesday, April 08, 2014 12:34 PM by Bryan
Here is mine,  
1 B 
2 A 
3 C 
4 C 
5 C 
6 E 
7 D 
8 C 
9 A 
10 C 
11 B 
12 D 
13 C 
14 E 
15 C 
16 A 
17 D 
18 C 
19 A 
20 E 
21 C 
22 D 
23 A 
24 E 
25 D 
26 C 
27 E 
28 C 
29 A 
30 E 
31 A 
32 D 
33 D 
34 B 
35 C 
36 B 
37 D 
38 C 
39 A 
40 A 
41 C 
42 E 
43 A 
44 A 
45 E 
46 C 
47 C 
48 D 
49 C 
50 B 
51 C 
52 B 
53 E 
54 B 
55 D 
56 A 
57 E 
58 B 
59 C 
60 B 
61 E 
62 D 
63 A 
64 C 
65 A 
66 E 
67 C 
68 C 
69 A 
70 C 
71 B 
72 C 
73 B 
74 A 
75 A 
76 E 
77 A 
78 E 
79 C 
80 A 
Good luck for every one
Posted @ Wednesday, April 09, 2014 6:45 PM by Joey
did anyone see on the official exam notice that we received that it said the test last 4.5 hours? I think this may be grounds for protest
Posted @ Friday, April 11, 2014 9:03 AM by Destinee Broussard
I did see that it said 4 1/2 hours. That extra 30 minutes would have been huge as I has to do the last 10 questions in 10 minutes and missed 6 out of those 10. The thing that really bothers me is that I knew at least half of them but was rushed to finish it so I couldn't put all my thought into it. What would we protest?
Posted @ Friday, April 11, 2014 9:07 AM by Bryan
I noticed the same thing, but interesting comment to protest-I've asked my course what they think. It may be because of the surveys at the beginning possibly? But it gives the impression they've allotted longer to take the exam. I'll advise what my course says if anything.  
Posted @ Friday, April 11, 2014 9:21 AM by Heather
well I took the October 2013 exam and before I took it my boss found a newsletter or something that said they were extending the time by 30 minutes. It could be a misprint on this notice but it does give that impression. I will look to see if it was the same way on my last exam notice but I don't think that was the case.
Posted @ Friday, April 11, 2014 9:26 AM by Destinee Broussard
Hi,I would like to buddy up with people preparing for the custom broker exam for OCT. 2004 in NYC. Pl.let me know if someone is interested to study together.I live in NYC city.I am also willing to buy used books who has finished the exam. Thanks for your help. Aziz
Posted @ Saturday, April 12, 2014 8:02 AM by aziz ahmed
Very good reference guide.
Posted @ Tuesday, April 15, 2014 3:16 PM by Kyla
Well since the official answers are out, what does everyone think? I plan on protesting 21, 45, 48, & 63.
Posted @ Tuesday, May 06, 2014 9:37 AM by Bryan
I plan on protesting 19,31,43,48,73, the testing environment and admission notice lol...I had to share a desk with my boss to take the the admission notice says 4 1/2 hours.
Posted @ Tuesday, May 06, 2014 9:46 AM by DB
I might try to protest a couple of those too. Here is what I put for those 
31. E 
43. A 
Posted @ Tuesday, May 06, 2014 9:58 AM by Bryan
I had the same on all except 73...seems like they may be typos on the site because the reference they list doesn't even justify the answer they have.
Posted @ Tuesday, May 06, 2014 10:19 AM by DB
After I finished the test I thought I passed with flying colors...just got the results on May 10th and I barely passed.
Posted @ Thursday, May 15, 2014 9:35 AM by Marcia Hubbard
Hello, I took the test in April, it seems to me that the notice did said 4.5 hours. 
waht do you think of appeal on questions 17 with c, 25 with d, 28 with b, 32 with a, 34 with b, 38 with d, 43 with a, 45 with d, 61 with d, 74 with b, 75 with e plus the 30 min. that stated on notice wich took me the last 15 questions.
Posted @ Saturday, June 07, 2014 1:43 AM by Eduardo Saldana
Who wants to buddy up to study for Oct. 2014 in Laredo Tx. 
or who knows a teacher or someone who gives personal assistance for the test or a class or group of study. 
please contact me on my email, 
also, if some one knows of an appartment for 1 person in Laredo please let me know, rent under 600 mo. prefered with bills included and kitchen appliances. 
Posted @ Saturday, June 07, 2014 1:49 AM by Eduardo Saldana
I took the test in October 2012 and passed by the skin of my teeth! The best advice I can offer is that you obtain the large stand and medium stand to hold both books. The first time I took it, I wasted a lot of time leafing through large binders. The second time (when I passed), I not only had the stands to hold the books, but I also had them noted and tabbed with questions from previous tests. I think by practicing with old tests and tabbing every section, was very important. For the first test, I took a class which did not help me at all. For the second test, I just went old school and studied old tests.
Posted @ Thursday, June 12, 2014 12:19 PM by Kim Daniels
Hi, I am seeking as much guidance and advice as possible as to where to start. If anyone is selling their expired 2013 materials I am interested in buying from them. Thanks!
Posted @ Saturday, August 09, 2014 9:26 AM by Danielle Brady
I am studying for a second attempt at the exam in Oct . I have been studying using past exams. The april 2008 has a couple questions about C-TPAT rules. I know it should be in my CATAIR but it isn't I have looked everywhere to try to download it but I can't find it. Could someone please, please, please email me a copy? I would be extremely grateful. Thank you very much
Posted @ Saturday, August 23, 2014 8:46 AM by Laura
Where do I find the CATAIR or Directives can someone tell me where I can find t he information?
Posted @ Sunday, August 31, 2014 9:32 AM by Kasand29
I am taking the brokers exam in Oct 2014 - does anyone know if we are allowed to use the blue "Importing into the United States : A Guide for Commercial Importers" book? Of course I will have the others but this one is really accessible and convenient.
Posted @ Wednesday, September 10, 2014 10:17 AM by Alexandra
You can use any printed material, just no electronic devices are allowed besides a calculator.
Posted @ Wednesday, September 10, 2014 3:59 PM by Heather
I am taking the exam again for a second time in Oct 2014. I live in the Baltimore area and would really appreciate a study partner. There are several areas that I need help on. I would need to do thie via phone and email. If anyone is willing to partner up please let me know.
Posted @ Thursday, September 11, 2014 6:45 AM by Laura
Has anyone who has taken the exam taken their owns written notes / exams with the answers on them as a reference? Is that allowed? I was told it was not buy someone who took the test many years ago but now the only thing the instructions say are along the linesof you may use any reference material except electronics...
Posted @ Sunday, September 21, 2014 11:55 AM by Marie
You can bring pretty much anything except electronics. They don't check your materials. Past exams....whatever
Posted @ Sunday, September 21, 2014 1:26 PM by Dest
Hello....does anyone have any tips on how to excel at the classification part of the exam? That seems to be my weakest point. 
Posted @ Sunday, September 28, 2014 6:36 PM by Denise
I would like to know how to excel at it also. It's hit or miss if I get those questions correct. And the special programs also.
Posted @ Monday, September 29, 2014 6:32 AM by Laura
As the classification questions can amount to sometimes a quarter of the questions on the test, one has to do well on this part as it could be a matter of pass/fail.  
Customs has been known to re-use questions especially on classification, I brought an excel spreadsheet made up of all the classifications they've used on previous tests and checked this first. One column being the HTSUS 10 digit number and then the description. This could ensure you have 3 or more questions correct and I needed all the help I could get.  
The course I took suggested this and I even used it when taking practice tests to get use to using it and improving my speed.  
I also practiced, practiced Classification over and over because this was a weak point for me as well.
Posted @ Monday, September 29, 2014 9:43 AM by Heather
Could you share your spreadsheet? I don't have time to make one. 
Please and thank you
Posted @ Monday, September 29, 2014 9:52 AM by Laura
Thank you for the tips. I have taken about 5 past exams so I will work on making a spreadsheet of those. Just a few questions : How far back did you go? Did it help you on the test? Did you pass on the first try??
Posted @ Monday, September 29, 2014 10:27 AM by Denise
Laura-I've tried, I can't email you to the hidden address. This spreadsheet should have all from the CBP site.
Posted @ Monday, September 29, 2014 11:49 AM by Heather
Denise--It took me few exams to pass, pregnant for two and then one having a newborn to tend to, wasnt ideal test taking times but when I was ready to dedicate more than 20-25hrs a week minimum studying, ignoring my family nights and weekends-I passed. I also took the week prior off and all I did was get ready.
Posted @ Monday, September 29, 2014 11:54 AM by Heather
I passed the third time. My strategy after all of the studying and taking previous exams, do your regulations first and your classifications last. In the beginning of the exam, see how many classifications you have and multipy times 4. That is 4 mins. per questions on the classifications. Then stay aware of your time with the regulations. If you don't know where to look or go to, answer what may make sense and keep it moving. When you finished the regulations and you have 4 mins for each classifications, you should feel less pressure. Classifications are hard and you are going to get some wrong so don't waste the time on it first. That is what messed me up the second time around.
Posted @ Monday, September 29, 2014 2:42 PM by Marcia Hubbard
Thanks for trying. I wish I could post my email but my husband would shoot me lol I could really use it. I'm taking it for the 2nd time next week in BWI. I realized several time consuming things that I did last time hopefully I pass this time.
Posted @ Monday, September 29, 2014 4:36 PM by Laura
I convinced my husband to let me tell you my email. 
Could you email your spreadsheet to me at Thank you so much!
Posted @ Monday, September 29, 2014 5:25 PM by Laura
Can anyone tell me if you need your original birth certificate for the exam?? Or could it be a copy???
Posted @ Friday, October 03, 2014 4:40 PM by Alexandra
Has anyone received preliminary answers? I know some course or study programs will give out what they believe to be answers to their students.
Posted @ Monday, October 06, 2014 6:46 PM by Bryan
I don't have any answers yet but all I know is that this test was harder than the last one. I think I did pretty well but I'm anxiously waiting the results.
Posted @ Tuesday, October 07, 2014 7:16 AM by Laura
I took the exam last week & am also anxiously waiting the results. Friday, I noticed CBP posted the answer key, but yesterday it was down. Did anyone else notice this or know what may be happening?
Posted @ Wednesday, October 15, 2014 5:16 AM by Kristi
"The posting of the October 2014 customs broker exam answer key was prematurely posted to the website. CBP will repost the questions and answer key within the next four to six weeks. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused." 
This is what it says on CBP website.
Posted @ Wednesday, October 15, 2014 9:32 AM by Alexandra
The prematurely posted key has at least one wrong answer: E to #28 (same question is on 2009/4 #27, correct one is D). That's probably the reason why it is down for a revised one. 
According to the prematurely posted key, I will get a passing score of 77.5%, or 78.75% if #28 counts. Anyone else passing the exam?
Posted @ Thursday, October 16, 2014 3:26 PM by Jason
BTW, anyone know the national passing rate for 10/2012 exam and 4/2013 exam?
Posted @ Thursday, October 16, 2014 3:48 PM by jason
I think I'll pass with a 78 or 79%. Both questions 28 & 32 have issues. I received an answer key from one of the larger trade attorneys today with what they believe are the answers. They did choose D for 28 & B for 32 (CBP had C for 32). Other than a few others, all the rest was consistent with the early answer key. Crossing fingers for everyone.
Posted @ Thursday, October 16, 2014 7:56 PM by Kristi
I picked B for #32 too. Another questionable answer is D for #5. C seems to be better answer since MPF should be exempt according to Chile FTA.
Posted @ Friday, October 17, 2014 8:57 AM by jason
I think you are right about #5. The "attorney answers" I have picked the same as the early CBP key for that question.  
Here were the 4 differences that the attorney choose over CBP's premature key: 
28) D 
30) A 
32) B 
33) C
Posted @ Friday, October 17, 2014 9:24 AM by Kristi
I think the attorney picked wrong answers for #30 and #33. For #30, A is definitely wrong according to note 2(g) to chapter 42. For #33, Chapter 12 usually doesn't apply to prepared food, i.e."salad" in this question.
Posted @ Friday, October 17, 2014 1:16 PM by Jason
I hope he is wrong w/ #30, I had E. He cites Ch 42, Notes 3(B) and 4. Who knows!? I did see Boskage released their guesses today which you can download free. They picked you answer for #5, so good job with that one. I missed it.
Posted @ Friday, October 17, 2014 1:57 PM by Kristi
I just took the October 6th exam and I feel very confident. CBP. gov had posted the answers but took them down. According to the answers that they originally posted I had passed the exam with with a 78% to 80%. Not sure what to think now. Im slightly freaking out
Posted @ Monday, October 27, 2014 9:19 AM by Damion cook
Does anyone have the premature answers they could post? I'd like to compare with my answers.
Posted @ Monday, October 27, 2014 10:58 AM by Alexandra
If you Google "October 2014 Customs Broker Exam Answer Key" you will can still find a link to the pdf.
Posted @ Monday, October 27, 2014 11:31 AM by Kristi
I had difficulty with two valuation questions. I never got the answers that they had. I had to guess the closest answer. Could anyone help me figure out what I was doing wrong? Here are the questions. 
43. An importer’s first shipment of 10,000 units of electrical switches was invoiced for $100,000.00. The terms of sale are Delivered Duty Paid (DDP), the duty rate is 2.7 percent, and the merchandise processing and harbor maintenance fees (MPF and HMF)  
are 0.3464 percent and 0.125 percent, respectively. In addition, there are non-dutiable charges (NDCs) of $4,000.00 for ocean freight, and $600.00 for insurance and an added  
value amount of $2,000.00 on the invoice for a mold provided to the producer by the importer at no cost. The mold will produce 50,000 units, with full value applied to the first import of the molded articles. What is the transaction value for this shipment of electrical switches? 
A. $92,467.49 
B. $92,855.19 
C. $94,264.61 
D. $94,406.01 
E. $98,864.61 
44. A U.S. importer purchased vacuum pumps from a manufacturer located in Parma, Italy. He paid $37,980 ex-factory. Inland freight from Parma to the port of Genoa, Italy cost $375. The price does not include U.S. duty (2.5 percent ad valorem for the vacuum  
pumps), MPF (.3464 percent), and HMF (.125 percent). What is the entered value? 
A. $37,605 
B. $37,980 
C. $38,355 
D. $39,109 
E. $39,484 
I deducted freight and insurance, backed out the percentages but couldn't get the answers that they had. I got close but not exact.  
Any help would be greatly appreciated. 
Posted @ Tuesday, October 28, 2014 10:20 AM by Laura
Ok I just figured out what I was doing wrong with question 43. For question 44, can I just say HUGE brain f**t?? 
I'm embarrassed that I even asked for help on that one and if I got it wrong, I have noone to blame but myself for not reading the question properly. 
Dumb dumb dumb 
Posted @ Tuesday, October 28, 2014 1:47 PM by Laura
Anyone got any information from CBP? It's been 6 weeks since the exam date. No key on their web, no mail... I've no idea what's going on.
Posted @ Saturday, November 22, 2014 11:45 AM by Jason
Nope :/ 
I've been wondering the same thing.
Posted @ Saturday, November 22, 2014 12:37 PM by Alexandra
Same here. I contacted my Service Port last week & they had no information as well.
Posted @ Saturday, November 22, 2014 12:55 PM by Kristi
I called CBP last week on Monday and according to them they should have went out on this past Monday or the past friday. But then when I followed up this past Tuesday they told me that it may not got out until black Friday or the following Monday
Posted @ Sunday, November 23, 2014 7:44 AM by Damion
I called CBP today and was told I've got a passing score of 80%. The official notification letter will be mailed out this week. 
If there're any job opportunities in NYC for a customs broker to-be, please let me know. Thanks.
Posted @ Monday, November 24, 2014 9:25 AM by Jason
Jason, what number did you call
Posted @ Monday, November 24, 2014 10:06 AM by damion cook
I just called CBP is Washington DC and they said it would be another 3 weeks before the results were out.
Posted @ Monday, November 24, 2014 10:35 AM by Bryan
Same here, thats what they told me too
Posted @ Monday, November 24, 2014 10:44 AM by damion cook
Different test site might have different phone number. If you check the admission notice in your email account ( hopefully you've not deleted the email), you can find two phone numbers under "Ccontact Information" section. Pick the number following "Before the exam day" and make a call. They can check the score for you.
Posted @ Monday, November 24, 2014 1:41 PM by Jason
I just figured out the number should be same for all of us. The number is (202) 863-6015.
Posted @ Monday, November 24, 2014 1:55 PM by Jason
I just called the number & he took my last name & said I passed! He did not give me a percentage & I did not press for one. He said the letters are going out this week.
Posted @ Monday, November 24, 2014 2:24 PM by Kristi
On black Friday I received the thanksgiving gift from CBP, the official letter notifying that I passed the exam with a score of 80%! Hope you all passed the exam too.
Posted @ Saturday, November 29, 2014 4:16 PM by Jason
Finally, I did pass this exam. Just got the letter today as u Jason, hope all can get the pass grade and happy thanksgiving.
Posted @ Saturday, November 29, 2014 6:41 PM by Joey
I got my letter today & also passed...congrats to everyone! And, if anyone did not pass this exam keep in mind that there are several questions that could be protested.
Posted @ Saturday, November 29, 2014 7:18 PM by Kristi
Haven't received my exam scores yet.. I'm hoping I passed. If I didn't, I will protest as many questions as I can. What are some questions you all (whether you know if you failed or not) will protest?
Posted @ Tuesday, December 02, 2014 4:46 PM by Crystal
I just received my results and even though I did better I still didn't pass. I'd like to know what questions people are going to appeal. I know of at least two and when I get my answers I'm going to look at them. Please tell me which ones people are appealing.
Posted @ Tuesday, December 02, 2014 7:30 PM by Laura
I have four different versions of preliminary answer keys (including the one CBP posted prematurely). The questions that appear to have different answers across the board are 28, 30, 32, & 33. If you missed any of those, I'd probably focus on those first if you are going to protest.
Posted @ Tuesday, December 02, 2014 8:03 PM by Kristi
I received my answers as well, and passed. Now on to the part of trying to find a job.
Posted @ Tuesday, December 02, 2014 8:51 PM by Bryan
Just a heads up I goy my exam sheet & the answer key in the mail today. I almost lthought it was junk mail since it's not from CBP.
Posted @ Saturday, December 06, 2014 4:35 PM by Kristi
Question 63 refers to the Department of Commerce Instructions. Could someone tell me where I can find this? I would like to look at it and possibly incorporate it in my notes.
Posted @ Friday, January 02, 2015 11:58 AM by Laura
Has anyone who passed the exam received their packet about applying that was mentioned in the letter?
Posted @ Friday, January 09, 2015 9:25 AM by Kristi
does anyone know what version of the Harmonized Tariff will be needed for the April exam? I still use the 2013 version. Thanks
Posted @ Sunday, February 01, 2015 10:14 AM by Laura
Hello Laura, 
Maybe this information will help you.  
• Applicants should bring the reference materials noted below and any other pertinent reference materials to the examination. The use of any other versions of the listed references other than those recommended is at the applicant’s own risk.  
- Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (2014 Basic Edition, No Supplements) 
- Title 19, Code of Federal Regulations (Revised as of April 1, 2014) 
- Customs and Trade Automated Interface Requirements (CATAIR) 
- Appendix B – Valid Codes 
- Appendix D – Metric Conversion 
- Appendix E – Valid Entry Numbers 
- Appendix G – Common Errors 
- Glossary of Terms 
- Instructions for Preparation of CBP Form 7501 (July 24, 2012) 
- Right to Make Entry Directive 3530-002A 
Posted @ Tuesday, February 24, 2015 1:56 AM by Luis
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