I am certified, and joust did a do over on the tasting last Saturday. Hopping for an 80 or above so that I can retake the written. I have enough points to be national once I get the scores.Wow. I totally forgot I was suppose to supply 2 beers for that exam. After NHC and San Diego vacation afterwards it totally slipped my mind until I read this. Glad Fred had other people lined up. Though I did have the beers if I was reminded. Either way... Hope you scored well Jeff.
Here is my take. I mean this in the best way possible, pointing out that we all have areas of excellence.
Some are good test takers.
Some are good judges.
Some are good Brewers.
Then there is Gordon.
As to the OP... I'm National/Mead and took the beers cider exam at the NHC. For the tasting exam I recommend a beer studies course or just lots of practice filling out scoresheets and reading other scoresheets. For the written...it's all about the time. Practice writting answers for the questions in the pool as fast as possible...
As for what I get out of the BJCP... I'm not totally sure. I really enjoy judging at competitions, but I don't need to be ranked to do that. I suppose is nice to be recognized for the work you've put into honing my skills at evaluating and providing feedback on beers/meads. Also the more judges are better able to evaluate and fill out a scoresheet the less I have to facepalm when judging with them or receiving scoresheets. I think without an organization like the BJCP evaluation skills in this hobby of ours, and thus quality, would be sorely lacking.
That was a lot to type on my phone...Lol