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How to prepare and pass the Border Services Officer Test

The Comprehensive Guide to Canadian Military, Border Services, Corrections and Security Exams

Do you want a rewarding career in law enforcement where you can serve Canada and Canadians?

Do you want a job where you can make a positive difference, have job security,  a good salary, great benefits and a solid pension?Well, you have to pass the test first….

The vast majority of people who take the test fail. I have heard it is around 80% who fail.

From my personal experience, it was the hardest aptitude test I have taken. It was much harder than the both the RCMP and the Provincial Police Tests I have taken in the past. It wasn’t difficult because the questions were so hard. It was difficult because:

1. It is 4 and half hours long – you need endurance for a test this length and you need to be able to manage your time. The test is broken down into sections and each section has its own booklet. When the test facilitators say “stop” that’s it for that section and you need to move on to the next.

2. In my opinion, the RCMP test is more right brain challenging, while the provincial police test was more left brain challenging. The BSOT however, is almost the perfect mix of both. So you must be equally strong in both areas.

3. There is no indication of how many points each question or section is worth so you have to either make your best guess on where to concentrate (I have my suspicions) or apply your efforts evenly. Since there are 178 questions and the total score is out of 900, obviously each question is not necessarily worth the same number of points.

4.. Unless you’ve taken the test before, you have no idea what to expect. You are in effect going in “blind”. The questions can be considerably harder than the examples provided in the info booklet provided by the CBSA.

The BSOT is 4 and half hours long and requires a passing score of at least 585 out of 900.

Officially the CBSA says “Because performance on the Border Services Officer Test does not depend on knowledge of a specific topic, candidates cannot study for this type of test, except for knowing basic mathematics, grammar and spelling.”

This is somewhat true. But you can totally be better prepared and score higher by understanding the format, managing your time, practicing and brushing up on basic Math and English/French.


(from the CBSA website)

The test consists of 15 sub-tests. There are 178 multiple-choice questions.
It takes approximately 4.5 hours to complete the test (this includes the break and administration

The timing of the test is organized as follows:


Candidates are given a study booklet and allowed 20 minutes to study the material. Candidates will need to recall this information to complete sub-tests 6, 7 and 8 in Part 1.

TEST – PART I Candidates are allowed one hour to complete sub-tests 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Candidates are allowed 2 minutes to study 4 photographs in order to complete sub-test 8 and 9.

TEST – PART I (continued) Candidates are given 20 minutes to complete the remainder of Part I (sub-tests 6 to 9). Questions are based on the study booklet and the photo booklet.

BREAK  30 minutes

TEST – PART II  Candidates are given 1¼ hour to complete sub-tests 10 to 15.

So here’s what you need to do to pass….

1. Get this book.

The Comprehensive Guide to Canadian Military, Border Services, Corrections and Security Exams

2. Practice memory work. –  My suspicion is that the memory portion is worth a lot of points.

3. Brush up on all the basic math and grammar – its all covered in the book!

I recommend using the memory palace technique where you take a location, place or object you are very familiar with and then associate what you need to memorize with it. The stranger the association the better. The Study guide book has exercises so you can practice.

4. Take the practice tests in the book and time yourself. Then comeback a few days later and try again. Don’t run out of time. There is no penalty for a wrong answer so make sure you answer every question.

5. On any section of the test where you are allowed, as soon as the facilitators tell you that you may begin, flip through and answer the types of questions you find the easiest. It is my suspicion that the questions get progressively harder so they must be worth more points as you get deeper into each section. So jump forward and answer what you are good at.

If you do all this, you will be better prepared than any everyone else and can be part of that 20% that is successful.

So click on the image below now and order your copy of the Study Guide from Indigo Chapters.

The Comprehensive Guide to Canadian Military, Border Services, Corrections and Security Exams

The Comprehensive Guide to Canadian Military, Border Services, Corrections and Security Exams

10 step guide to importing a Car from the US to Canada

Are you daunted with the thought of buying a vehicle in the US? Its really not that hard and from my experience with higher end cars there seems to be more savings. Currently the Canadian dollar is near par and yet prices for the exact same product is cheaper in the US by 20-30%.

Anyway, Its not that I want to discourage buying local because I don’t. But I think the Canadian dealerships need to bring our prices in line with the US. Until then I find no ethical reason not  to buy a vehicle in the US. There aren’t any pure Canadian auto manufacturers that I know of anyway. There is no Difference between Honda Canada and GM Canada in my opinion aside from the fact that a Honda that is not manufactured in Canada attracts duty.

So here is my 10 steps to importing a car from the US.

  1. Find the car, truck, motorcycle, or any vehicle you are interested in importing toCanada. There are many websites like autotrader.com or youpaidwhat.ca where you can search for the vehicle you want.


  1. Check to see if the car is admissible to Canadahere at Transport Canada’s website http://www.tc.gc.ca/roadsafety/safevehicles/importation/usa/vafus/list2/menu.htm if all is good, then move on to the next step. If you are still unsure contact the Registrar of Imported Vehicles at 1-888-848-8240 and ask them.


If it’s a new vehicle like a 2012 model and the list only cover vehicles up to 2011 then you will have to contact TransportCanadaand get a no objection letter.


  1. Find out if there were any modifications done. Contact the seller and ask because modified vehicles are not allowed. Grey market vehicles are also not allowed i.e. Cars manufactured for the European market re-certified by aUScompany. If all is good go to the next step.


  1. If your car has a valid warranty, check with the manufacturer and find out whether the warranty will be honoured inCanada.


  1. Also check to see if there are any recalls. This is the importer’s responsibility. That means you. The vehicle must be free from any safety recalls. If in doubt, you can check here http://www.riv.ca/RecallClearance.aspx where you can search for your vehicle by all the major manufacturers and vehicle type and then contact them to issue you a letter attesting to the status.


  1. The next step is figure out how much you will have to pay. This requires a little math.



Duty and taxes – If the vehicle is made in theUS orCanada there is no duty under NAFTA; only 5% GST is payable at the time of importation. The way to tell this is by checking the VIN#. If the VIN starts with a number 1, 4 or 2 then it is made in theUS orCanada. If the VIN starts with a letter then it is made somewhere else and roughly 6.1% duty will apply plus GST on top of the duty plus purchase value. PST will apply

at the time of licensing.


Air conditioning– If your vehicle has A/C then there is $100 Excise tax charge applied.Gas Guzzler or Green Levy Tax – If your car is manufactured after March 19th2007 and it consumes 13 litres or more per 100 km it will be subject toexcise tax at the following rates:

–          at least 13 but less than 14 litres per 100 km – $1000

–          at least 14 but less than 15 litres per 100 km – $2000

–          at least 15 but less than 16 litres per 100 km – $3000

–          16 or more litres per 100 km – $4000



To find out the fuel consumption rating on your prospective vehicle check Natural Resources Canada’s website here http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/transportation/tools/fuelratings/ratings-search.cfm?attr=8


RIV fee – unless you fall under a specific category or your vehicle is less than 15 years old you will have to enter the RIV (Registrar of Imported Vehicles) program and pay the following:


-Vehicles entering the RIV program with a Vehicle Import Form – Form 1


$195.00 + GST and QST for vehicles entering through a border crossing inQuebec

$195.00 + GST/HST for vehicles entering through a border crossing in any other province


-Vehicles entering the RIV program with a Vehicle Imported for Parts Form – Form 3 (parts-only vehicles)

$70.00 + GST and QST for vehicles entering through a border crossing inQuebec

$70.00 + GST/HST for vehicles entering through a border crossing in any other province


Vehicles exempt from RIV – You are exempt from the registering with RIV and paying this fee but still need a Form 1 (vehicle import form) if:


  • Vehicles that are older than 15 years and Buses manufactured before January 1st 1971.
  • Vehicles imported temporarily e.g. in-transit, visitors less than 12 months, those here on study permit, those here on a work permit valid for 36 months or less.
  • Vehicles imported for exhibition, demonstration, testing or evaluation.
  • Diplomats – on approval by the department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
  • Visiting forces personnel for the duration of their assignment.
  • Vehicles entering temporarily for repairs or alteration i.e. warranty
  • Work vehicles – defined as one used primarily for civil engineering construction and maintenance, that is not built on a truck or truck-type chassis. This does not include a tractor or any vehicle designed to be drawn behind another vehicle. Agricultural units and equipment (e.g., farm tractors and manure spreaders) are not considered vehicles for TransportCanadapurposes and are not subject to a Transport Canada import requirement.


Vehicles that don’t require a Form 1 – only the following:

  • Authorized importers- Companies Authorized by TransportCanadato Import New Vehicles Manufactured for the Canadian Market
  • Short-term visitors toCanada
  • Agricultural units/equipment, unless required by the province
  • Vehicles in-transit
  • Low risk importer under the Cold Weather Testing Program
  • Vehicles temporarily imported for shows or entertainment.

  1. Once you know what the costs are for importing your car/vehicle, and you still want to go ahead with it. Make your arrangements with the seller to pick up the car or hire a company (there are many online) to pick up your vehicle and ship it up here in bond to a bonded warehouse closer to you where you live in Canada.


  1. If you choose to drive it up you are supposed to notify US Customs by fax 72 hours in advance that you will be exporting the vehicle. Then when you cross the border you will have to stop in at US Customs where they will look the vehicle over and notate that it is being exported. Go here to find the contact information for the US Customs Border crossing you will using http://www.riv.ca/USCustoms.aspx


Once on the Canadian side, inform Customs that you are importing a vehicle and they will send you into the office to complete the paperwork (Form 1 vehicle import form if necessary) and pay all the fees and taxes except the PST. This will be paid at your provincial ministry of transportation.


Make sure you have your ID, Original title signed over to you, and bill of sale or letter from the seller stating the price you paid. Note that if Customs is not satisfied that the value you paid is reasonable they are given the discretion to use the Canadian Red book value.


  1. If your vehicle had to enter the RIV program you will be sent a document called a Form 2 and within 45 days you must take the vehicle to an authorized RIV inspection centre. Your vehicle will need to be possibly modified and deemed compliant with Canadian Safety Standards. Here you can search for the closest inspection centre to you. http://www.riv.ca/RIVInspection.aspx


  1. Once the inspection is done you can go to your local ministry of transportation with your Form 1, bill of sale, proof of insurance and original title. After you pay the PST you will be able to plate the vehicle. And now you can enjoy your new vehicle!


If you have any questions pls post in the FORUM here http://www.canadacustomsinfo.com/forum/and

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