Decoding custom brokers examination

There is need for qualified, professional customs brokers, especially in new EXIM locations i.e., AFS; ICD’s and new ports coming up across country. It is recommended that an applicant read index of The Customs Act. Such a preparation will also reflect in the way you will work for yourself in the future.

Regulation 6 of the CBrLR 2018 provides guidance for conducting exam of applicants for customs brokers license with eligibility criteria specified in Regulation 5. The number of applicants each year is rising as against earlier years. There is a need for qualified and professional customs brokers, especially in new EXIM locations—the AFS; ICD’s and new ports coming up all over the country. Custom Clearance is truly “knowledge based” it is part of “knowledge industry”. Custom brokers have a unique place in India’s economy and their importance cannot be undermined. It is for them, individually as well as collectively, to assist Indian Customs in the execution of their role. Besides Revenue Collection and Enforcement functions, Customs have many other roles to perform. They are summarized as: community protection; trade statistics; audit; implemental trade agreements; foreign trade policy and border protection. Before starting preparations, candidates must ponder on a few realities:

  • When was the last time he or she appeared for an examination?
  • Does he or she remember sitting in one place for nearly three hours without getting up; talking to anyone; no tea/coffee and writing?

It may be remembered that the exam is of ‘Domain knowledge.’ While preparing for the exam, read as much as possible and remember that knowledge and proper application of the same will enable you to make a good; capable; respected professional undertaking Custom Clearance. Do not do your preparations only to crack the exam. Remember that this self-study will require a lot of concentration and consistency for you to be able to understand the same and remember the points that you need to know. Once you clear the written paper you shall have to appear for an oral interview.

The Syllabus for the exam is wide and not closed ended. The wordings are “may include”.

Regulation 6 gives you a broad syllabus.

  • Kindly ensure that you cover the syllabus
  • Read up as much material as you can find on each topic
  • Read the same as many times as possible
  • Write as you study.
  • Preferably study alone.
  • Put in at least 4 hours daily from now onwards on preparations
  • Read up related subjects/topics also – INCOTERMS; WTO; WCO; Customs in the modern times; Evolution of Customs in the liberalized economy of India – these will help you write better, more qualified, and structured answers.

The candidates have the option to answer either in Hindi or in English languages. The best resource would be Customs and GST. Make sure you refer to everything here once at least. It is recommended you read the index of The Customs Act 1962 eight to 10 times. Do not read the Act till you have a fair idea of the number of chapters; and the sections covered in it. Make it a practice for as long as you prepare to read the index at least once daily. A continuous reading and making notes or marking details should start.

The Act is easily learnt by learning in the following order:

  • Chapter 1; 2; 3;
  • Chapter 17;
  • Chapter 4; 4A; 4B; 4C;
  • Chapters 5; 5A; 5AA; 7; 7A; 9; 10;
  • Chapters 5B; 6; 8; 11; 12; 12A; 12B;
  • Chapters 13; 14; 14A; 15; 16;

Once you have done the above, then start reading the different Regulations; Rules; PN’s Circulars and the other notes sent to you. The exam is a multiple choice questions examinations in English and Hindi. The candidate is asked 150 questions, which must be answered in 150 minutes—each correct answer earning him or her 3 marks and one minus point for each wrong answer. The passing is 60%. The exam is to test your domain knowledge and the MCQs are designed to enable the department to judge the same. You may be asked twisted questions—read the question carefully and answer.

Such a preparation will reflect in the way you will work for yourself in the future. Always remember that every consignment small or big; for import or export would require you to use all that you learn for this exam. You shall be compelled to use this knowledge for the rest of your working career.