Congrats on passing the online exam. Well done!
Most of the styles are fair game for the exam. Beers with variable ingredients, such as Specialty, Spice, Herb, Veg, or Fruit beers are not allowed. Neither are the new "historical" styles, braggots, stuff like that.
Scoring Accuracy is only 1/5th of the grade. It is measured by taking your score, subtracting the proctor's consensus, and taking the absolute value of that (ie, turn it positive if its negative). Add them up, and you get the total deviation. Worst you can get on that is 9 out of 20, so even if you totally bomb your scoring accuracy, you will still get 45% on that section.
The remainder of your grade is around the other areas:
I highly recommend anyone who will be taking the exam to read and understand all of the documents in the "grader's resources" section of the Exam Center page of the BJCP web site:
And last but certainly not least:http://www.bjcp.org/docs/BJCP_Scoresheet_Guide.pdf
That is what the graders are looking for and what you need to write. It also will help you to understand what's happening to your exam after you turn in your papers.
1) Don't freak out. Judge what's in front of you. By the time you take the exam, you should have filled out many, many scoresheets. If not, get practicing so you have filled out many before you take the exam.
2) Don't concentrate on only the primary flavors and aromas (like hops in IPA, Esters/Phenolics in Belgians, or Malt in Stouts) ignoring the others.
You should comment on every subheader item for each section on the score sheet:
for example, in the Aroma section it says: Aroma(comment on malt, hops, esters, and other aromatics)
You need to actually say something about malt, something abotu hops, something about esters, AND something about other aromatics. "no discernable X" counts and is encouraged as appropriate. Diacetyl, DMS, sulphur are common flaws in lagers, so look for and comment on them, even to note their absense.
Alcohol for big beers such as Barleywines, Strong Belgians, IIPA, RIS, Wee Heavy, etc. Think of the "signatures" of the style and ensure that those things are addressed.
Remember that hops contribute hop flavor, and hop bitterness. Comment on each of them separately.
2) Always use 3 part descriptors: a) descriptive comment on Intensity, b) vivid adjective, c) the characteristic. "Hoppy" doesn't cut it. "Firm, resiny hop bitterness" is much better.
3) Don't make any assumptions about processes or ingredients. "Don't use peated malt" assumes they did.
"use a higher mash temp" assumes an all grain batch. Better feedback is to state the problem and then offer possible solutions: "Increase body and mouth feel. Possible solutions may include but aren't limited to: using a higher mash temp, adding malto dextrin powder, or adding a bit of wheat malt."
4) Don't inject your personal preferences. "I would like to see....." is not objective feedback. "better examples exhibit xxxx" is a better way to word it and it places the emphasis back onto the style guidelines where it belongs.
5) Don't suddenly discover a flaw in the overall impression section. It should have already been covered in the other sections.
6) Even high scoring beers should be given some form of comment on how to improve the beer.
7) The score sheet should be self supportive. The total score should reflect the lower left box which has the scoring ranges in it. The parts should agree with the whole.
Lots of white space means that you are leaving things out. See #2
9) Remember that people are paying money to enter their beers and expect respectful, constructive criticism and feedback. Derogatory or inflammatory feedback, or overly short or terse statements are not what the entrants are looking for. Respect their wishes and treat their score sheet as if you were writing it for yourself or you family member.
10) Don't forget to add the score up properly and be sure to check the check boxes on the side and the bottom as appropriate.