Ruth Rodriguez 00:00
I think it’s national customer service freight forwarders. I’ve seen them I’ve heard them say more often than other groups, they want to have an apprenticeship program where you learn from experience program.
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folks, we’re back for another session for simply trade podcast. And we have got a good show today. But I will tell you, if you hear my voice is probably a little bit lower than it normally is. I wound up having a little problem last night. So if I sound too low, or I’m talking out of the bottom of a barrel is just dealing with a little bit of lack of sleep. And that’s what happens to me. But sounds like a bullfrog with gastritis is what I always say. Anyway. But with that, I will say that we are gearing up here it’s come to the end of September here. And we finally have had some beautiful weather. They’re here in Memphis. I don’t know how are y’all doing down there and they’ll pass
as same thing were consistently hitting low 90s and high 80s. So So for us, that’s amazing. Weather’s better than the heat. But
well, it’s been getting down into the 60s at night. And in the mid 80s. Here in Memphis, I’ll take that anytime. So it’s like a little bit about like paradise here. Anyway, well, I will say we are, we’ve got a good show for folks, today, especially for our listeners. If you are gearing up to take the broker’s exam, you need to pay attention to this show, because this is one that’s in preparation for it. If you are somebody that has staff maybe or has somebody, you’re encouraging your mentor, that you’re gearing them up to take the broker’s exam, you probably ought to listen to this, on how to prepare and what to do, especially 30 days out before the exam.
Some things and the other side of it is just even if you’re a seasoned listener or seasoned trade person is wouldn’t hurt. Just listen to get a little, you know, go back over the fundamentals on some things, but Lala, once you introduce our guests, because we have I think this is gonna be a good show today.
I think so too. So the previous episode, we invited rules rather Egan’s before previously, to talk about the broker exam. And that episode actually did amazingly well. It’s, it’s, it’s easily in our top two, top three shows of all time, and, and I can see why the broker exam is one of those things that in our industry,
that is literally the only way that you can, I guess, sanction and sanction you that you can, like, vouch for you for what you know, and how you you know, that’s the only way that the government will do that anyway, you know, there’s a bunch of other certifications like from ncbfaa, for example, that have importing and exporting certifications. But as far as a government is concerned that where you’re licensed by the government,
that’s about that Not About That is the only way you can say I’m licensed by the US government to be a broker etc. So I can see how that’s very popular.
So well, also
Lalo is when you become a licensed Customs broker, the government officially recognizes you as a, an expert in as a expert in international trade, I guess or in import export. Compliance, especially on the import side, I guess. There’s probably rules that probably run circles around us as far as officially being or being able to quote that kind of stuff. But anyway.
so we had Ruth on and she talked about, you know, just the broker exam in general. I invited her again, because I know we’re coming up on about 30 days. The exam will be on October 25 this year. And so Oh, I invited her and I said, Hey, Ruth, let’s come up with I, I’m like coming up with anything she is, can you discuss and talk about any strategies or tips for these last 30 days, you know, spreads, call it what you want, you know, like, last chance workout like they do and whatever you want to call it, what are you going to what are you going to do these last these next 30 days to make yourself more be better prepared for the exam. So that’s she she was nice enough to come back on and and talk to us about those those different strategies. So Ruth, thank you. Thank you for joining us again.
Ruth Rodriguez 05:44
Thank you, thank you for the invitation. Love your podcasts. Always got some good interesting speakers on it.
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Thank you. Yeah. So Ruth, for everybody, she’s from GRV, our attorneys. She has her law firm, her and her husband, Oscar have a law firm in Dallas, but just as a quick reminder of what they do, and she also obviously has a a broker exam prep course that she teaches hundreds of people and, and you can get that available through either global Training Center, or herself. But you know, just let us know, at here global Training Center, we’ll be more than glad to help you. But we’re not here to talk about that. We’re just here about tech strategy. So Ruth, thank you. Thank you, again, for joining us.
Ruth Rodriguez 07:39
Thank you. Thank you. And as you were talking about what we should call it, how about we call it 30 Day Challenge? Yeah, that’s great. For people out there, thinking about becoming licensed Customs brokers. And you’re right, it’s the only there’s lots of certifications out there. Even some of the college degrees, but this is the only credential that the government recognizes because the government gives the exam. So so this is, this is way up there. And it’s also the most difficult unfortunately, the most difficult of all of them, there’s lots of certifications you can get, you can go through college, I think this is I went through college, I think this is even harder than college even though you know, college takes four years. This one’s just super dense information. And you have to learn the skills. It’s more like a trade class. It’s not like a more like a college class is more like Plumbing, or you really have to do the work. You can’t just listen to somebody speak for 50 hours, you have to actually do the work. How you do the work, especially for classification. You got to have the somebody there had to have somebody there saying no, you should do this before that you do that, or you miss this one thing in the index, whatever. It’s very skill based.
And that’s really interesting that you said that about plumbing or electrician or whatever. I’ve always thought that broker to be a broker. What Why is there not like an apprenticeship program for like being a broker? Don’t you think there should be something like that? Because people think that they take the exam, they pass it and then they become a broker and they don’t know maybe what they’re doing because, you know, they never have done this. And I don’t know, I don’t want to get into like the politics of like, setting up an apprenticeship program and all this and that but I mean, it’s interesting that you said that because all my life like that. So there shouldn’t be some form of apprenticeship program.
Ruth Rodriguez 09:57
Yeah, there is there is a push for it. There. Here’s a push for it for I think it’s national customs brokers freight forwarders. I’ve seen them. I’ve heard them say more often than other groups. They want to have an apprenticeship program where you learn from experience broker. I’ve tried to with my 1000, because we’ve had we’ve, there’s about 1000 brokers out there who have licenses, because of us, the best customer cohorts. But we I tried to get the people with licenses to take on interns, but they’re like the liability and they don’t want to train their competition. And so it’s always been a no, I pushed her. I was.
I will say that I’ve had a conversation with Cynthia Wittenberg after she left the government and she’s with G Tech with the NCB FA, and are the well, I guess G tech is the conference in EA. Yeah. Anyway, NDI? Sorry, go, I’ll tell you what, I’m screwed up a two car parade right now. So anyway, that all said is, Cynthia was talking about doing an apprenticeship. And we’re literally going to be looking at trying to do some of that. Because I had an apprenticeship actually requires quite a bit of bureaucracy, and it’s registered with the Labor Department and the State Labor Department, things of that nature. However, that said, one of the things I think would be good,
I think it’s really short sighted for a company to look at and say, Well, I’m just training my competition, from the standpoint that you, you know, you’ve got when you’re working with somebody, you actually help build some loyalty and who knows, they may leave and then come back to your company after the gaining some experience if that’s the case, but pretty much there’s internships that are done, even from an internship and maybe not a full formal apprenticeship in teaching and training somebody how to apply that knowledge they’d learned in preparing for the customs broker exam, and to real life situations and where they go and things of that nature. So that’s what the purpose of an internship is exposing them to real life situations in business. You and hopefully, they learned how to apply the knowledge that they’re gaining.
Ruth Rodriguez 12:29
Yeah, I agree. I think internships would help everybody, I think.
Well, with that. So leading up to the last 30 days before an exam, one of the things I think you just mentioned is you need to be doing something ahead of time here you need to be should have been preparing. So before you entered the 30 days, what would your expectations are of somebody that they have, you know, read some chapters or read the whole book as far as the regulations or what what are we talking about here?
Ruth Rodriguez 13:07
So I have advice for two types of students. One is my students the best customer Prakash students, they have been at this for a few weeks, some a few months, some started yesterday. That’s, that’s true. But we will take, we take students up until there’s no cut off, we will take students whenever you want to join us, but for advice for my students who are listening, you already know what to do you got to do the homework that I’ve been giving you was we give individually tailored homework for every after every exam that they take, and it’s not homework for the week or homework for the new people. It’s homework based on an analysis that we do, how did they do on this exam? Versus how did they do in the previous exam versus how did they do in the last eight, whatever. So my students do your homework stay on course, if your homework has piled up, because you enter 10 exams at once you are not supposed to enter 10 examines once the way the course works is you you do an exam, you get homework, you do the homework, but you do the another one but some students either don’t get the memo or procrastinate Yeah, so those people if you if your homework is piled up, call me and I’ll give you individual advice. Also for my students, you need to come to classes we have every week for our class. We also provide tutoring every single day. I don’t know how other courses make it without tutoring people because this is so dense and they test some esoteric topics. And so we do one hour per tutoring per day students can sign up to up to one hour but if you see you know you want Iran at three and Jack is on it for you can stay for that hour as well. We have bootcamps come Amina one in Ohio in September and one via zoom in October. And then we have weekend study groups, I would encourage my students to come to that. Now, advice for the people who are not in my class who have been studying for months or for weeks, or just started yesterday, you what you should be doing is take the 10 exams, practice exams, take them in timed the actual for ice, it’s four and a half hours now, but I still have my students do it and four, so they can have a last half hour to double check the exam to make sure they answered all the questions, they entered the exact answer they intended to enter, etc. And then do some questions. Hey, if they got the skip one, put a question mark, then they go back in that 30 minutes to go do the question words. So do them in four hours. I know I had I had a student once who said because when they pass the exam, they come back for to talk to the grip of the current students. And one said, I know who said you for our exams, I have a full time job, I have kids running around, I set up my station in my kitchen, sometimes I would do 10 minute exam of an exam. Sometimes I got the whole half hour, I never could do four hours, but she’s still passed. But so but if you can do the four hour exam in the four hours, and then review all the questions.
Let me interject in here, one of the things about if you stop and think about it, folks, a four and a half hour exam is the time you’re allotted. So yeah, take it in four hours. Because in with that, you’re building up to that, because that’s an endurance. You know, sitting there for four hours in you’re going through and all that you’ve got to work up to that scenario to be effective at that it’s like a marathon. So it’s one of those things where you can’t just sit down and say, Well, let me just take the test and whatnot, you’re going to discover that your mind wanders at times your body has some issues, you’re you know, you’re sitting there for so long, and all that. So that’s why it’s important to you know, take these Practice Exams, and gear up for it. So you know, you got to do what works for you. I mean, the mother that had, you know, kids family and all that I get that. But anyway, would you agree with that, as far as you know, practicing the exam, but part of it is lasting the four hours. I agree.
Ruth Rodriguez 17:33
That’s why that’s one of the reasons why I say do the four hours, four and a half hour exam and four hours and practice 10 of those. Because if you just like at the beginning, I have students who are just like, Okay, I finished I did pretty well, but it took me like two and a half days to finish, like, Yes, anybody can pass this, if you take two and a half days or two and a half weeks. The point is to can you pass it in four hours. You mentioned another important point is body issues. If you you know, some people have whatever disability there is an American with disability that applies to you and do not be ashamed people like Anwar, take advantage. This law was made for you, you’re not taking advantage you’re not, you know, doing something wrong. If the law was made for Americans with disabilities, if you can’t sit for four hours, or if you you know, can’t, they don’t let you eat in there. But if you have a condition where you have to eat every two hours, then you comply with the four Americans with disabilities. They give you extra time to do it. And you’re and you’re entitled there, you’re allowed to use that. Of course, don’t use it if it doesn’t apply to you. But definitely, some people like I had one person who was a car accident, she couldn’t sit in a chair for four hours. She had to get up every 1020 minutes. So that person is gonna take longer to do the exam. It doesn’t make her less smart, it isn’t going to make her less, you know, not as good broker. It’s just gonna be a broker. She just needs extra time to do the exam. That’s a good point. But yeah, it isn’t endurance. You gotta get you got to train for it. You got to get ready for it. I agree. So the also the, the 10 exams you’re gonna take, I suggest that you take them in different surroundings so like that person had to do her kitchen but if she could do one at the office when they’re quiet cubicle one, have the husband watch the kids one day and go to crowded Starbucks to do it on the next time do even if it’s not going to be four hours. She can’t be away from her kids for four hours. 30 minutes at the windy, windy hard park so that when you get to the actual exam, whatever they throw at you is just going to be another it not gonna affect you.
You’ve got to be able to handle or know how to deal with some things that could be possible distractions and things of that nature. So you can stay focus is what your point is. Right?
Ruth Rodriguez 20:13
Exactly, yeah. And if you’re always doing it, or you’re quiet cubicle, then you go there, and it’s founder construction is outside and somebody’s coffee next to you, and then you’re distracting, you can’t focus. So that’s why I say do 10 different exams and different surroundings? Um, also, you know, you got to review the questions that you missed. If you’re in our course, we have recorded 800, all of the 800 questions from the last 10 exams? And you can if you don’t understand why, after looking at the tape of them, after looking at them, answer key why the answer is a instead of B, then go listen to the recording, or come to tutoring or come to class, whatever. But if you’re not in the course, then the best because of course, then you would have to review the questions that you missed. And if you’re stuck on one, there’s, there’s social media groups, Facebook, Instagram, whatever, there’s, there’s explanations out there that you can find, or just put it away some, some students some questions I don’t even understand. And I’ve been teaching this for 24 years, I have a law degree. And I passed the exam myself three times, there’s some questions you’re never gonna get. Even I would say, I give up, I don’t understand it. So don’t spend too much time on the questions, but but if you can, you should figure out why you’re getting them wrong. You should also in the last 30 days, go ahead?
Well, I was just gonna say maybe you’re going through this, but I was just gonna say, in part of this scenario, in practicing and taking the test, is there are some questions that you need to look at. There’s some questions, you know, you got to spend more time on Case in point, the classification and things of that nature. Some require some calculations of values, or figures or whatever. But other questions are very, very short. So do you look at is there a methodology or something that as you’re taking these is that you go through and answer some of the short ones quickly, and things of that nature, and then you come back for the longer ones or what?
Ruth Rodriguez 22:19
No, that’s how I used to have. That’s how I used to teach it when like hash rate was way lower. And I realized, I’ve been improving the course for 24 years. So I changed my my advice, and I changed it from what you just said to our method now, which is you spend X number of minutes custom says you should spend three minutes per question because three minutes times 80 is 240, which is four hours. But, and I see that advice being circulated all over social media, but my art advice is different. The classification, like you said, takes longer. So why would you spend two minutes on a class three minutes on a classification question, you’re going to spend more on those. And I’m formula, and I, you know, circulate that to my my students, but But you do take that more time on on classification than you take spend on non classification. And now in terms of short versus long questions. I would not. I would not. If there were some questions you’re going to skip, for example, one exam, there was beep everybody freaked out over these two questions. I had the chemical equation, they had a picture of the chemical equation in the question. And people were like, Oh, you didn’t teach us how to do chemicals. It never, never had come up before. So we were freaking we spent 30 minutes on that question. No, you should spend six minutes on classification two minutes on non classification. Why are you spending 30 minutes a question? You just missed? 24 divided by two, you missed 12 easy questions by spending 30 minutes on that one. So and I had a person later who was in the class and took practice exams, and he had a master’s in chemistry, and he could only get one of those two questions. So those people who spent 30 minutes on these questions just just wasted your time. So back to so back to So do we do we skip the short questions? And I mean, long question is do the short ones I would not I would still do the two minutes on even a long question. Do what? Because sometimes those long questions. It’s they’re easy. It’s just they give you all these irrelevant facts. And then they ask you something easy. And you could get it in two minutes. If you do great accurate if you don’t, I have a we I trained my students to have a physical Scantron sheet, one through 88, B, C, D and E and each one, they put a question mark if they don’t finish in two minutes, and at the end, that’s when they come back. So if they have five question marks and 30 minutes left, that’s six minutes per question. That’s That’s it. I do not automatically, I do not advise them to automatically skip them. Because even the long ones could be easy. Just if you can’t do it in the two or six minutes, then then come back to that. And ideally, if you’ve studied enough, you won’t have any question marks, you would have, you know, five to 10 question marks to, or question marks depending on how much you study you wouldn’t have? Because there was like, Well, I don’t know any of them. I’m gonna put question mark on all of them. Okay, because that’s, that’s because you haven’t studied?
Well, in studying, then I guess the other are there some just basic facts? Should we say that bits of information that you just should memorize.
Ruth Rodriguez 25:46
There’s very little, you have to memorize maybe the section titles to HTSUS, maybe some chapters, the highly tested ones, maybe some highly tested, CFR Sections. Maybe the MPF rate HMF re, the maximum minimum, but there’s very, very little you have to memorize mostly is how to get the answer.
And, and that’s where it’s like, going into, you know, I guess that’s in real life, that’s what happens is that somebody will hit you a here’s a scenario, here’s the situation, here’s a question, whatever. And you’ve got to know how to research that and go into the regs and whatnot to find the answer, right?
Ruth Rodriguez 26:40
That’s correct. Yeah. So. So yeah, I think that you need to be ready.
Ruth Rodriguez 26:46
Like some people, when we were talking earlier about internships, one of the, one of the criticisms of our course, the best customer recourse is, they don’t teach you how to be a broker, they just teach you how to pass the exam. And I get it, I get it. But if you’re smart enough to go through this ordeal, and not give up and pass, then you can later learn how to do an entry later you can do you know, whatever you need to do, you know, you have the skills, you know how to research things, you know how to read the regs, you know, how to read HDS. Us, I don’t think it’s that bad to, to know how to pass an exam, but not how to do an entry, you can learn how to do an entry in half a day, 10 minutes, it depends on who’s teaching you and what kind of entry it is.
Ruth Rodriguez 27:39
So but because customs actually ended up adding three documents to the exam,
Ruth Rodriguez 27:44
because I don’t know if it’s specifically because of the best customer records,
Ruth Rodriguez 27:48
but because the criticism was that these people were getting licensed, but they didn’t know anything practical. So they added a century documents, they added back then they added SubTerra, but they don’t test that anymore. They added a century document the right, right to make entry and another ace entry, entry summary instructions so that in customvue Oh, and then they added these practical questions that give you a scenario, here’s an invoice. Here’s, you know, how would you classify this? What’s the value on that? So they kind of tried to address that criticism by but, you know, we still teach people how to how to pass the exam. And, and then people say, Well, you know, you just throw out there, they’re not, they’re not ready to do anything. That’s not true. There’s, again, they’re smart enough to pass exam, they’re smart enough to figure it out. Also, we have if you’re part of our community, we have a thing called broker brainstorming. Every hour, we sit around and ask each other questions like, Hey, I’ve never done an FDA entry, anybody has an experience? And somebody else said, Yeah, I’ve been doing that for 20 years. So we kind of continue with education that way.
Well, and it’s one of those things where you get a working knowledge of the regulations through taking this and that’s what you’re striving for. So you can you know, you let’s face it, a lot of the things that customs broker has to be able to look at is what’s going to be legal what’s not from a standpoint of, you know, transacting customers business, what should you or should you not do? Regardless of what your client says is like, well, I want to be able to do XY and Z, you know, I want to take my goods and sell them to Orion or I want to buy some things from random bring it in, it’s like, oh, no, you can’t do that. That’s a sanction country. It’s as simple as that may be but anyway,
Ruth Rodriguez 29:44
yeah, they are. I tell them that they’re going to be attorneys when they get this with this get this license. They’re going to be attorneys. In fact, they’re not attorneys at lon, they didn’t go to college or law school and press the bar but their attorneys in fact, you’re getting your you’re representing another A company in front of customs every time you sign a do an entry, or whenever you’re 50 staff members sign into an entry. They’re representing a company or attorneys for the company attorneys. In fact, one thing I haven’t said yet is also reviewing the 10. Making your some people go back 20 exams, I don’t think that’s a good idea. Because it’s hard enough to do 10 Because you’re doing 10 exams, say the 10. By 10 exams ago, that would have been 2018 CFR but you’re using 2022 CFR so there’s, it’s already hard enough to go get the right answer, right. If you’re using the wrong books, if you go back 1020 exams, that’s 10 years ago, the regs have changed, a lot of HTS has changed, it’s just too frustrating. So I only do 10 exam. But one thing I need to, I need to clarify are that is you need to make cheat sheets, because after you’ve done 10 exams, you’ll see some repeat questions. And the either the answer needs to be in your head or on a teaching. And you can’t make a 500 page cheat sheet, it’s got to be a limited number of pages. Important things that come up over and over. If you can’t memorize them, then put them on your cheat sheets, you have to have that or you know, you have to mark up your book, but I do encourage people to do some cheat sheets to get through this.
So right from that tip that you’re just seeing right now, a lot of people are not aware that they can actually take in their little binder with them and and have those cheat sheets or notes on there. Is that true? Or I believe I picked that up from you in the past. So how does that work? I mean, what is it that you can take? And I know you can take your ATS and your 19 CFR But isn’t there like another little binders and stuff that you normally tell people that they should prepare? Like? Other stuff?
Ruth Rodriguez 31:57
Yes. So there’s there’s those two big, big fat books and then there’s a there’s, you should get a binder with three documents that are on the notice of examination. One is right to make entry directive one is Ace versus Rosen process document, which I think is like 200 pages. The other is a sentry summary instructions, which I think is, I don’t know, 3040 pages, maybe less. But um, but those three, you need to take plus, then you need to take your cheat sheets as well. So I would get one that if you’re a student of our course, we have two binders, one for studying, and one that you’re going to take inside the exam. And there’s one or two things that overlap. But basically, they’re two different ones. So you Yeah, you need to take that in there. Now there has been controversy as early as, as early as April 2023, or October 2022. I can’t remember which one. But customs announced you can’t bring any notes. You can only bring your HDS CFR and these three documents. And of course, there was an uproar. And they changed their mind. But, but be careful, because sometimes they throw that in there and then and then then they send that out to all the testing centers and the testing centers don’t get the memo. So you’re you’re told you can’t bring in your books. So that’s why I tell my students printed, print the nose of examination. So when you have to argue because customs doesn’t give the exam customs used to give the exam, but now that it’s electronic, active contract with a third party vendor to do it. And that third party vendor doesn’t work for customs. They don’t know the rules. A lot of my students would come in and said they told us we couldn’t bring in books. That’s why I’m like that you print the notice of examination and say look right there by customs. There’s their logo, they said you can bring in these things. So yeah, you you can bring in your own references as long as they fit in the space that they give you. You can bring in as much as you want to, but I would limit it to those 535 documents, while two books and three documents. And I would limit the cheat sheets because if you have 500 or 1000 pages were the cheat sheets. That’s another book you’re flipping furiously through going I know it’s in here somewhere.
And that’s another thing you said and now it’s electronic. And I guess they allow you to use the electronic version of the HTS but I know you’re very, very opposed to that correct. Well, even
Ruth Rodriguez 34:25
customs is opposed to it. They say bring your hard copy, bring your hard copy HDS and CFR was they know how bad there’s just a minute as they provided, they don’t recommend that you use it and I don’t recommend it use it either. And,
well the other question two, what about the like, your laptop with electronic version or digital version of your regs?
Ruth Rodriguez 34:56
You can’t bring it.
Ruth Rodriguez 34:57
You can’t bring anything electronic. You can’t bring in a lot On top of PDA, your iPhone, your smartwatch, you can bring anything that connects to the internet, which is why Coors Light. Which is why we decided to go to some timers for the two minutes thing, because you can’t bring in your watch. And there’s a timer on the computer, but the computer is so unreliable. How do you know the clock works on the computers? We fought and fought and fought. And finally accustoms agreed to let us use set timers. As long as it’s small, this might be this might be too big. But as long as it’s small, and as long as it’s not glass.
Oh, really? Okay. So that’s a good tip. I never even imagined to go old school, you know? Yeah, that’s like,
Ruth Rodriguez 35:51
you have to because sometimes there’s not a clock on the wall. And sometimes, you know, the computer, I took the exam the first time they gave it electronically, and there was so much so many problems that I got out of there. 11 and a half hours after I arrived, I didn’t finish the electronic exam until 11 and a half hours later. So at that point, I don’t trust computer, I’m not going to trust the clock on the computer either.
So you know, so since they’ve done it electronically, it’s you’re not filling in the bubble sheets anymore than
Ruth Rodriguez 36:27
you are you are. Well, let me see. Is it a bubble? I think it’s a bubble. Yeah. It’s so a bubble. No, it’s not a bubble sheet physically, right. It’s not a physical bubble sheet bubble on the electronic. But we still I like I said earlier, I still encourage my students to have a hard copy so that they can, they can keep track of what they entered on the exam. Also the place where they put a question mark on there, also the process of elimination I teach. So if you if you in two minutes can’t get the right answer, but you’ve eliminated a, b and c, then you guessed between D and D instead of just guessing. So I encourage a physical scan funky, but yes, you’re right. There’s no bubble sheet, physical scratch on sheet anymore.
Okay. All right. Well, now? Well, I was just gonna say now with
as you’re gearing up again, with the 30 days, are you recommending that somebody spin, you know, so much time each day doing something in particular, or you’re covering and you’re trying to scan all of the information? You know, with everything?
Ruth Rodriguez 37:42
If I was so yeah, for my for student people that are not in the course, I would focus on classification. People say well, you know, it’s hard to get these from the questions right? From headings, 10 exams ago, when you were using a new HTSUS, it’s true, but there’s not many that you get wrong because of that. So So I would say just a handful, maybe 10 in the whole 800, maybe 20. I don’t know, I counted, but but it’s still a useful exercise. And you cannot pass this exam without knowing how to classify I had a student, or probably more than one that tried it, there was a company that I had that I was an attorney for that was in the middle of an audit. That was an aerospace company. And so they had they said, you know, five people to become trained to become licensed Customs Brokers, and one of them said, have been doing hazmat, and for many years, I’m just going to focus on the regs that I just I’ve tried to understand classification. I can’t do it. I’m just gonna focus on the regs. Well, back then it was 60 regulation questions and 20 classification questions. In order for him to do that. If he guessed at the 20 classification questions he would get for writing. Just, you know, throwing darts at the wall for rain. And then he needs to so he needed to get 56 questions, right. So that’s 90% I think
Ruth Rodriguez 39:08
56 of 36 of 60. I used to be able to do math in my head and then the aliens 56 divided. Yeah, and you have to get 92% on the it’s harder to get 75% Why? Why are you why are you trying to get 92%
Ruth Rodriguez 39:29
So I that’s not a good strategy. That’s not a good strategy. If you just started or if you’re struggling. I would focus on classification you’re going to that’s the hardest. To learn the regs you can just learn by doing in practice questions, but the classification takes skill and patience and you got to have a strategy
Ruth Rodriguez 39:51
and we have in our course, we have steps to answer classification questions, steps to answer trade agreement, equation qualification questions and Step Two answer everything else. So you have to have a system doesn’t have to be my steps. Although I’m perfected our steps were 24 years. There have to be but you have to have a method you have to be methodical about it. And you you can’t just like, oh, he looks good. I’m gonna pick a or b is the lowest duty Olympic be that’s how people that don’t have a license classify, right.
And I guess it’s as silly as it sounds, Ruth, but when I’m, when I’m training to run a half marathon
or whatever I’m,
there is a, like, three months out two months out one month out one week in one week out, like diet, and things that you’re doing physically to yourself to, aside from the running to, like indoor
and get to the I mean, I know it sounds stupid, or I guess silly. I’m sorry, I should, oh, well, we’ll scratch that off. And it sounds silly, but physically, like, what are you doing?
Like, are you telling your students like you shouldn’t be. I mean, like, it sounds funny, but like loading up on carbs, so that you can have more brain power or sharp,
Ruth Rodriguez 41:12
not funny at all, it’s not silly at all, because I have I do when we have classes and I do give advice like that, you know, you need to get sleep you need to eat, especially the morning of you have to have a really good healthful breakfast.
Ruth Rodriguez 41:29
And I happen to be vegan, you don’t have to follow my diet. But you know, that sausage and bacon, and eggs is not going to be a good breakfast for the morning of the exam. Get the whatever your definition of healthy is do that that morning, you need to you need to have a good meal. Also, when, like I said, I invite people to come back. And I learned from these people who come back and talk to my students, because I learned new, new what what worked and what didn’t. One of them said You know, we’ve always said, you know, eat, try to eat a good meal. But I took that even further and just changed completely my diet, and I wanted to have the best chance that I could possibly have to pass this exam. So I really researched about, you know, better eating habits. And I did that for the, I think hers was his was 60 days. 60 days, and it was just, they, they they they said it helped a lot. So yeah, get good sleep, eat well, exercise,
Ruth Rodriguez 42:39
oh, I also say, don’t give up exercise. Because I’m a partially when I don’t exercise, I need 910 hours of sleep. But when I get in my exercise, I’m fine with six or seven hours of sleep. So yes, you have to cut some stuff off to put on this to add these study hours. But don’t cut out sleep, don’t cut out exercise, don’t cut out for food. You can cut off, you know social media, TV, golf, or whatever your hobbies are. But don’t cut up eating well and taking care of yourself.
Well, and that’s one thing, again, leading up to this don’t think folks that you’re going to be able to at the last moment, do this crash course and do these last little minute things and expect to you know, survive,
it’s really no different than in a sense of, as far as the overall approach is if you’re going to run a let’s say even a half marathon and 13 and a half miles or whatever is is your your body you can’t sit on the couch for you know, all the weeks on end. And in, you know week before the exam, start trying to prepare and all that you’re not going to last. This is something that you’ve got to build up to build some stamina for your body, you’ve got to you know, stop and think about it. Usually when we’re working, we’re dealing with something we’re in a meeting for an hour or so and all that and we get up and get a cup of coffee, we take a break we do the same, you’re in this same for four hours. So you need to be thinking about how you know you got to keep your brain stimulated and stay focused and those kinds of things and it doesn’t just happen so gearing up for the brokers exam or for any big project that you’re working on, you know core like this is this is real world stuff to where you need to be able to prepare yourself ahead of time. Just like what Ruth is saying.
Ruth Rodriguez 44:48
That’s, that’s correct. It is and and people also like oh, it’s four hours. I’m not gonna I’m not gonna take any breaks and I’m just gonna go for I need every minute no I recommend that you take one or two breaks, especially water, you need to be hydrated. Yes, you need to know there’s consequences of drinking too much water, but just drinking enough water so you’re not dehydrated and bathroom breaks are okay, they let you do bathroom breaks. So just drinking of water, you can take one or two breaks. But you need to you your brain will function much better if it’s not dehydrated.
Ruth Rodriguez 45:26
So water is good, good meal is good. And yes, training yourself to do that. That’s why we did 10 practice exams. Very important. I did have I, I do have some people who have purchased the course as little as two weeks before and have passed. And I have testimonials for that written testimonials with their name. They’re all in our website, if you want to go to best customer broker course.com. But who have studied for as little as two weeks. That’s an that’s, that’s unusual. Usually people study a lot more than that. But that has happened. One student told us that she was looking for a course, you know, with one month ago, three weeks ago, and everybody told her it would be unethical to us to sell you the course. Because you’re never going to pass. Of course we got her in and she passed in three weeks. So it’s possible those people are exceptions, probably more people, most people have to study a lot more than two, three weeks. But I do have five to 10 people that say that they’ve done it in two weeks to four weeks.
So I guess being 30 days out, Ruth. It’s not. It’s not is it? Or is it not? Is it realistic to say, Okay, I never really did the practice exams and took it seriously. Ruth is telling me I should have at least 10 Practice Exams under my belt within these next 30 days. Is 10 exam still realistic? I mean, we’re talking about three exams per week. I mean, that’s 12 hours a week, you know what I’m saying? It’s, is that too much? Is that going to be overload? Or I mean, so no,
Ruth Rodriguez 47:03
it’s possible. But what people ask me, how much should I study and I say, Okay, there’s two extremes, one person which who has six months to go, and they just finished a master’s degree or a law degree. They love school, they love books, they’re between jobs, they have no kids, they can study all day long, that person is going to pass a need to study a lot less and pass the exam a lot quicker than somebody who got out of school, 3040 years ago, hated school, barely passed, has a full time job plus kids and grandkids plus a catering business class, you know, an 80 hour a week full time job, well, that person is gonna have to take the exam two, three, maybe more times. So if you can focus, if you have the luxury of 30 days, and between jobs, it can be done. Even if, you know if, if if you don’t, at least you’ll get at least you’ll have the 30 day experienced now you know what your mistakes were for the next six months. So do those 10 exams, review those questions that you missed? If you don’t pass after doing that, and then all the courses reading I have a list of document that we do a lot of statistics in our course, like how many times is this subject been tested? How many questions are on this area? What chapters are lots and lots of statistics that we provide. But one of them is called Source lists where we take the answer key and sorted often numerically. And then we divided up by subject. So there’s say there’s 60 value questions, and 110 broker questions, so then you can know where to focus your studying. So So I would, I would focus on the set, read and focus on those areas that have been more highly tested than other areas.
Ruth Rodriguez 48:59
That answer your question. I think how realistic you said how so it is realistic. It’s so it depends on what extreme you are in that in that area. If you if you’re closer to the first example, then it’s really realistic if it’s closer to the second. It’s not but it’s not a waste of 30 days, you can still learn from those mistakes that you did on those 30 days and then adjust your strategy for the next six months and start in November. It will start in March next year.
All right. Okay, well, we’re, we’re running out of time here a little bit. But one last tip that I really liked that you always tell people and then I’ll let you wrap up and I don’t know if any has any other words to close out. But I really love when you say the night or the day before the exam. Do nothing. Go to movies, clear your head, go out and run or hike and just do nothing related to the exam. Am I really like that be me and it’s true. Just clear your head because there’s nothing you’re gonna do in those 24 hours that is going to really help you. I mean, it’s that true.
Ruth Rodriguez 50:11
I don’t know how I got through college law school and graduate school not following that advice, because I remember pulling all nighters for law school. Yeah, cramming and pulling all nighters. And I don’t know how I did it. And I did. Well, I don’t know I would not do that. Again, I, I do I do recommend that the day before. So the Monday before the exam, we have the best kinds of work, of course, we’ll have a 12 by 12 hour hotline from 9am to 9pm. There’s tutors there to tutors at every session, waiting for you to come ask them questions. And this is available for whether you’re a student or not available for the public. And then that’s Monday. And then Tuesday. Yeah, you should relax something you’ve been putting off. You haven’t golfed as much as you want to or spend as much time with the grandkids as much as you want to. pedicure, manicure, facial whatever you are into, that’s relaxing other than drugs and alcohol, do whatever you’ve been wanting to do. That’s fun, relaxing for you. And get a good night’s rest get up early. Yeah, you want to clear your head the day before, you don’t want to be studying till 1am. That night.
Excellent. Excellent. I do have one quick question regarding you’re talking about reading. What about the chapter notes and section notes of the tariff? Is that something that you recommend going into reading?
Ruth Rodriguez 51:37
Oh, definitely, we have a if you’re sitting on the course, you know the schedule, but if you’re not, what we suggest is there’s 22 section notes 99 Chapter notes and 35 general notes 136. So 30 days out, you have to read 156 divided by 30. Which is six notes per day. So read general note 123456 On Day ones, seven through 12 On day two excetera. If you’re on not studying every day, then do 26 times 742 21 on Saturday 21 on Sunday. So you can read all the notes before that, because in those six minutes, you don’t have time to read top note top pages of notes, you should have read them in the last 30 days or six months or whatever you gave yourself to study. So yeah, the reading the notes is really important. And now we’ll just break it up a little bit every day. And you don’t need to memorize or make cheat sheets or, or diagram or anything. Just read them just like if you’re writing a novel.
Okay, that’s, that’s because on the classification, there’s a lot of things that you know, you’ll go through, you’re doing the classification. And there’s the monkey wrench of the question in the section notes or the chapter notes or something in there that you need to be aware of. So it’s, that’s how they trip? Yeah,
Ruth Rodriguez 53:03
they’re gonna give half of the questions that are on the exam, you’re gonna get wrong. If you don’t read the notes. Notes are very important.
Well, Ruth, this has been excellent. I will say, folks, if you are interested in in her course and and in finding out more or contacting Ruth Rodriguez is we will have her contact information with our show notes. But
this is one of those things where you know, again, you don’t you shouldn’t wait 30 days before to like take the exam and go through a yeah, there’s some anomalies where people may be able to do that. But this is a several month long ordeal and something you should plan for. But we’ve been kind of focusing on the last 30 days, since you’ve been building a foundation of knowledge. It’s that you’ve been studying, you’ve been doing your work, you’ve been looking at things. Now you’re coming into the homestretch and so with 30 days out, this is one of those things that if you’re going to be taking the brokers exam, we definitely wish you all the luck that you should have but it’s not really luck. It’s the diligence of hard work and studying diligently and whatnot and it’ll pay off for you roofs I think you just like yep, please do.
Ruth Rodriguez 54:22
Can I add one thing is global Training Center sells our course of course is called best customer broker course the global trainings that are sells it, but and they have a discount that you can’t get through anywhere else. You can’t even get it through the best customer arch. So go through them. They will. They will talk column email and they’ll tell you about the discounts that are coming up.
Ruth Rodriguez 54:44
And I recommend them also for people who are completely new and bomb the exam even after 30 days that we’re doing everything. Global trainer Center has lots of classes that are basic like basic value, basic trade agreement, how to climb So far, you can you can take a lot of classes and then come to tackle the exam at that point.
We definitely appreciate that I will say that Lila is like you and your wife have built a great company and your team. And folks if you are wanting a proficient staff in both skills and knowledge, check out global training center, but also in this brokers exam course, this is something that’s excellent. But overall, it’s again, the approach whatever training that you’ve gotten, if you’re gearing up for the broker’s exam, this is some good tips here just to the last 30 days to get yourself ready for it. So Ruth, you have been outstanding. I appreciate you, coming on our show.
Ruth Rodriguez 55:51
Really enjoyed it. Thank you both.
Thank you. With that, we’re gonna turn it back over and hope everybody has a great day.