Put me on the list of people uncomfortable with paying judges, however I am very comfortable with supplying more food, throwing an after party, finding places for out-of-towners to sleep, etc. There can be perks without there being cash changing hands.
As for the exam, here is the statement from the BJCP website http://www.bjcp.org/index.php
New Exam Program Announced
The BJCP Board, with full support of the Exam Directors, unaminously approved a new structure for the BJCP Exam Program. The key feature of the new program is a new introductory exam, which will allow new members to quickly become qualified as judges. Changes to existing exams will also be made. Full details are in the approved proposal.
The current program remains in effect until the new exam question pool is complete, and the new format field tested. We expect this project to take at least until the end of 2011 to finish, but it has advanced far enough to be formally announced. More information will be released as the project completes internal milestones.
This is an informational announcement only. Current and prospective judges should continue interacting with the exam program under existing rules and procedures until the new program is formally launched.
Here is a link to the proposed new structure the BJCP is working on.http://www.bjcp.org/docs/newexam.pdf
There will be web based introductory exam that you have to pass before you can take the tasting, and unlimited numbers of people can take that exam.
The tasting will be 6 beers instead of 4, with no limits on how many can take this tasting exam. This new tasting exam will replace all tasting exams.
Your rank is determined by your tasting score alone for apprentice, recognized or certified only.
If you have a national score on the tasting and enough experience points, you are allowed to register to take the full written exam.
This will really reduce the grading load and get more judges in the pool. The 6 beer exam also gives the graders a better look at a person's judging skills.
I think this will be a big improvement, and I'm really glad the BJCP is moving in this direction.