What to Study for the Customs Broker Exam

Customs Broker Exam Hunger Games

Update: 8/23/12

I just recently updated the "Most Tested" spreadsheet and uploaded it to the website. The spreadsheet now includes the answers from last April's test. Also, I updated the tables in this post to reflect the new spreadsheet. Download the new spreadsheet in its entirity by clicking on the button at the bottom of the post.

Today's Exam

Twice a year, all over the country, Customs professionals take the Customs Broker License Examination. From what I've heard, last April's exam was one of the harder ones in recent memory. A commenter in one of our past posts believed that the passing rate was probably in the single digits. Best of luck to those that take the exam, and may the odds be ever in your favor. 

Next Exam is in October

For those of you taking (or retaking) the customs broker exam in October, we have written several blog posts on how to prepare for the customs broker exam

What should you study?

The exam is comprehensive and you should be familiar with the study materials. However, some sections are tested more frequently than others. To increase the effectiveness of your study and the speed at which you can answer the exam questions, you should focus your studies on the material that is most likely going to appear on the exam.

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.

Most Tested Material

I created a workbook for the express purpose helping Customs Broker Exam takers identify the most important sections of 19CFR and HTSUS to study. I compliled 15 years worth of the past exam answer keys into the workbook so that I could count the number of times each section of the study materials is referenced. Here are the top five results for the "most tested" CFR Parts, HTS Sections, General Notes, HTS Chapters, and HTS Headings. They are ranked according to the number of times that part, section, or chapter appears in answer references. 

Most Tested CFR Parts:

19 CFR Part # of Occurances
111 217
152 214
141 101
24 86
181 87

Most Tested HTS Sections

HTS Section # of Occurances
GRI 134
GN 95
XI 26
GSN 23
XV 18

Most Tested HTS General Notes

General Note # of Occurances
GN 3 25
GN 12 18
GN 4 9
GN 7 6
GN 28 5

Most Tested HTS Chapters

HTS Chapter # of Occurances
62 30
98 29
61 21
20 17
42 13

Most Tested HTS Headings

HTS Heading # of Occurances
4202 6
0703 4
2109 4
2008 3
6109 3

Download the Spreadsheet

You can see the full lists by downloading the free spreadsheet from CUSTOMS Info.

Comment Below

Join the conversation be leaving a comment below. If you took the Customs Broker Exam today, How did you feel you did? If you are studying for the next exam, what are you doing to prepare?

Comments

I am planning to take the exam. The online class is quite expensive and I am planning to study myself to save money. i would like to know what are study materials(text book) i should buy? and where i can buy them. thanks

Hi Samantha, 
 
I did a series on preparing for the test that you might want to look at. Part 2:<a rel="nofollow" href="../130904/How-to-Study-for-the-Customs-Broker-Exam-Part-2.html">What Do I Need to Buy for the Customs Broker License Examination?</a> listed the required materials and where to buy them along with some other useful items. Part 3: <a rel="nofollow" href="../131104/How-to-Study-for-the-Customs-Broker-Exam-Part-3.html">Strategies for passing the Customs Broker Exam</a> is a guide for how to prepare for the test. 
 
I don't know of any specific text books, but there are many "guides" like the one above that will help you with your self study. I suggest reaching out to a mentor customs broker and get their input on how to pass the test.

I took the exam in October 2010 and prepared for 2 weeks using LTS Training material. I ended up short by 4 questions and will retake the exam for the 2nd time this October.

Hi, I took April 2012 exam, of course did no pass. In which CBP recommend to use 2011 materials 
 
 
Can I use same books 2011 for April 2013 exams? 
 
To same money

I have books and binders that I was not able to use for the test in April 2013. If anyone is interested in buying them from me and saving $$$ for the April test or October, please email me. Thanks

I have books and binders that I was not able to use for the test in April 2013. If anyone is interested in buying them from me and saving $$$ for the April test or October, please email me. Thanks  
dpal56@aol.com

I have the same question as Bina, I studies from the 2011 CFR and HTS for the 2012 April test, I want to try t take it again October 2013, can I use the same books? I know by experience those books dont change much from yr to yr but wondering what other think.

The April 2013 exam was extremely difficult. Did anyone take it and feel the same way??

OMG yess!! I took the test in oct 2012 and missed it by 5 points, and I took the April 2013 and can guarantee I did not pass. The classifications were impossible to identify in the time we had. If i had atleastanother hour I would have done better but it was EXTREMELY DIFFICULT

Has anyone found the answer key from Logistics Training Systems or Boskage for the April 2013 exam?

HAve taken the past two exams. Missed both by five questions. Classification is the toughest part. It is nearly impossible in the time allowed. Even the other questions must be searched out and you need to be lucky to find some of the answers. Have passed 2 bar exams. This is more difficult.

cahy man said cahy!!

Taking the customs broker exam was difficult when I took it 15 years ago. I wish I had this kind of help like customs info. You guys are a great resource! Good luck to all taking the test!

Can anyone suggest a online course to take for the custom brokers exam April 2014

I'm looking forward to taking this exam in April of 2014. I'm new to this but I knw tht I have the ability to mastermind such test. I do ask from this group is to please let me in on material tht I need to be aware of &amp; also if there is a book, I'd like to get my hands on it. Thks everyone!!!

I WANT TO TAKE THE EXAMS BUT I DONT KNOW WHERE TO START AND WHERE TO END.OR WHAT TO DO!!

Can anybody suggest from experience the best exam room guide. I need a compact and consise material that can aid in finding the answers quickly.

1. I want to take April 2014 exam &amp; I have all books -because I am travelling most of the time i am looking for audia video CD that can help me to prepare &amp; pass. I am willing to buy second had used CD too. 
 
2. I want to do on line preparation but cannot affort the fee that is too much for me . Any recomendation for good trainers &amp; little reasonable rates? 
 
3. Is there any group willing to study togather in the public library evenings/ weekends.  

I was fortunate enough to pass the Oct 2013 exam. 
Two things: 
- the Notice of Examination tells you which books will be tested, you should have that version for the test  
- I used the "Best Customs Broker Exam Course" and was able to pass the exam with no industry knowledge, I have never worked in the industry.... 
Good Luck!

I need someone who works in the customs clearance field to mentor me. I want to sit with this person at work and learn how to use the software, and more. I will pay you for this. I've worked in the Logistics field for over 20 years, but I now simply want to be a customs clearance agent. Please let me know if you are willing to do this. I live in the Toronto area.

To Carol in NJ...Can you go into more detail about what is on the test, which parts you found easier or harder, and how you studied for the test using Best Customs Broker exam course. 
 
Thanks.

Any person here in Miami, to take the exam on Oct. 2014? 
Here is my email yuniel.perez@gmail.com, so we can study in group.

I live in Miami and plan to take the Oct 2014 exam. I am also interested in study groups. Please email me if interested at: 
Daisy3002@hotmail.com

Any comments on today's test,

a lot a question regarding with form 7501 and KOREA FTA.

Took the test in Charlotte, NC this morning - about 30 in attendance. Not as much emphasis on Classification this time - lots of questions taking verbatim from 19 CFR and some from 7501 instructions. It seemed that CBP listened to comments about the last few tests and made the questions less ambiguous and more directly related to the broker's job.

HI, 
 
took the test at Penn Hotel in Manhattan New york. ARIL 7, 2014 
 
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 
 
CAN'T FIND ANY ANSWER ON THE WEB YET… PEOPLE PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANSWERS, THANKS 
 
 
 
 
GOOLGE CUSTOM BROKER EXAM APRIL 2014 
google custome broker exam arpil 2014

I took the test in Miami Beach 
Here are my responses: 
1. A 
2. D 
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. C ? 
17. D 
18. C 
19. D 
20. E 
21. C 
22. D 
23. C ?? 
24. E 
25. D 
26. C 
27. E 
28. E 
29. A 
30. E 
31. A 
32. C 
33. D 
34. A 
35. C 
36. B 
37. C 
38. E 
39. A 
40. A 
41. C 
42. E 
43. D 
44. E 
45. D 
46. C 
47. C 
48. C 
49. C 
50. D ?? 
52. A 
52. B 
53. E 
54. B 
55. D 
56. A 
57. E 
58. C 
59. C 
60. A 
61. E 
62. D 
63. A 
64. D 
65. A 
66. E 
67. C 
68. C 
69. C ???? 
70. C 
71. B 
72. C 
73. B 
74. A 
75. D 
76. E 
77. A 
78. E 
79. B 
80. E 
 
Hopping for the best!!! 

Hey Mike I just got some preliminary answers from Lawers I want to share them with you tell me how, pls Clara

Hey guys i want to make a career change and have no experience in the field, i would like to take the customs broker and i would like to know what will one of the best courses to help me with the test, i also live in miami and if you want to meet up for study groups please let me know, this way will be easier for group to retain and understand some things. Thank you, please reply or send email to farley1088@gmail.com

Hi guys, I would like to take the exam on Oct 14, and I am wondering can I use the old books (CFR 19, 2009 &amp; HTS 2010)? Thank you!

To Kat: 
I was fortunate enough to pass the Oct 2013 exam.  
Two things:  
- the Notice of Examination tells you which books will be tested, you should have that version for the test  
- I used the "Best Customs Broker Exam Course" and was able to pass the exam with no industry knowledge, I have never worked in the industry....  
To Ron &amp; Farley: "The Best Customs Broker Exam Prep" is the name of the course, check online it is run by GRVR Export Import Attys. Most of the course is conducted online with weekly conference calls to answer questions and 4 day Boot Camps held across the country. It's worth the cost if you want to pass! 
Good Luck!  
 
 

I was able to pass the April 2014 test utilizing 2012 references, but missed a few questions due to obsolete materials, especially around free trade agreements. I would definitely not recommend using 2009/2010 materials. Invest in the current versions, mount them in binder racks and index heavily - color-coded flags work well. Good luck!

I have several questions.  
 
-Since you need so many reference books, do people go into the exam room with all those materials? Seems kind of excessive to go into an exam like that.  
 
-Which leads me to another question, Do I then need to buy all those reference books for $500?  
 
-Where is the exam held? Are they held at every port? How do you know where it will be?

Hello Gabe. 
 
Unless you have a photographic memory and can memorize a few thousand pages of detailed regulations and classification rules, you will definitely need to bring your own materials.  
 
On test day, you'll come in lugging all the required documentation loaded into a file box on wheels. You'll arrive at the hotel about an hour before the start time of the test and hang around outside the conference room waiting for the proctors to open the door. Once you and the other 30 or so hopeful LCBs are admitted, you'll claim one of the 6 foot tables and set up your binder racks. Your materials will be thoroughly indexed for easy reference, following the advice in this blog.  
 
$500 sounds a little high for the references, but is in the right ballpark. You may want to borrow or buy an older set to get started. Once you know the test you're planning to take, you'll want the versions listed on the exam announcement. Your confirmation letter will tell you where to report for the exam - usually a hotel close to a major port of entry in your region. Not all ports host exams, so you may want to book a room at the hotel hosting the event - or one close by.  
 
In the meantime, you won't have to worry about what to do with your free time for the next six months or so - you'll be studying for the exam... 
 
Good luck! 
 

Hello Future Customs Brokers, 
 
If you are planning to sit for the October 6 Customs Broker exam, you should consider purchasing these carefully organized cheat sheets listed on Ebay: 
 
 
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&amp;item=261584248837 
 
 
Best Regards, 
 
Donnetta Jenkins 
Management Consultant 
Dodson Consulting | LLC 
Saint Louis, Missouri 
Work: (314) 570-8900

To Donnetta, 
 
I took the exam yesterday without any cheet sheets you mentioned. After reviewing the exam and my answers, I am pretty sure I will get a passing score around 80%.

I took the exam yesterday in Arlington, TX. I feel like I probably passed, but I haven't seen the suggested answer key from Logistics Training Systems yet.  
 
Be sure you arrive in plenty of time before the start time of your exam. They close the doors promptly at 8:30 and will not allow anyone arriving late to take the exam. There was one gentleman that tried and he was refused entry. 
 
I would say the most important part of preparing for the exam is to very familiar with and have tabbed all of the required reference material thoroughly enough to be able to quickly look up what you need to.  
 
Good luck to all that have taken the test or will in the future!

I am planning to take April 2015 exam, can I get prep materials from eBay this time? 

TO Mike McMahon - I plan on taking the test in October of this year. Any suggestions or do you know of anyone else who will be studying for the exam? I would like to get a study group together if possible. I don't have the kind of money to pay for the prep classes. Thank you for any info.

to Sherri Danner - I am planning to to take the exam the upcoming October. Let me know please if you have any luck in forming a study group. Thanks

I plan on taking October 2015 exam as well. If anyone wants to form a study group that would be great! I plan on taking bestcustomsbrokercourse.com class and it would be great if people can join so that we can receive promotion rate! Looking forward to hearing from some of you.

JC - do you plan to go to their actual classes or just online? I think there are several other options online that are much cheaper then them.

Hey Sam 
 
I really dont know much information as to study material but im eager to get thus thing going!  
 
Feel free to email me :) 
 

JC - where would I find your email address?

Hi Sam sorry i thought if u clicked on my name, u could email me. lcbprep@gmail.com

I am planning to get the exam this October. Anyone around LA area that wants to study in a group?

Hi Maya, I reside in LA. my email address above.

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