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BJCP Tasting Exam: Wow! That was hard!

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gsandel:
Took the tasting portion of the exam this weekend.

How'd I do?  To answer that question with a question: Does anyone know if you can re-take an exam before you get the results of your last one (especially if it takes 6 months to get results)?

I thought I was ready.  I thought I could pick out stuff in beer.  I thought I had a vocabulary.  I even thought I knew how to add properly.

What I learned is that I have absolutely no sense of smell unless it is overpowering...something that would kill the average person.

My ultimate impression was for the first beer (or two) I was seeing all kinds of phantom (real and imagined) flaws.  It turned out that there was at least one flaw to the first one, but I threw the book at it.  After that I settled down and could generally get the overall impression for each beer down, but couldn't describe (or detect) aroma...and I would assign points to each catagory and the beers would all score darn near 40 (or above) when in my head the beer should have been around 30 ....I ended up scoring in the mid-upper 20s and the upper 30s and 40s for just about everything (had to figure out how to deduct on the first one and last one).....and I didn't have time to go back and look at anything (at least one adding error).

With the 15 minutes and no reference guide, I couldn't pull a decent adjective out of my head to save my life (and what was with my handwriting...yikes)!

So, I will be surprised to pass.  And am looking to re-take...although I would rather have a root canal.

james:
Congrats on taking the exam, that is a big step!

There isn't anything stopping you from retaking the tasting before you get your results back.

Judge at any comp you can find
Put together a study/tasting group
Judge any beer you can find and try to do it in the time limit

tschmidlin:
Speed and descriptors come with practice, so do as james suggests and judge beers.  Even if you judge every beer you drink at home, you'll be better off than going in without much practice.  I'd even recommend judging a few samples the night before as a little warm up.  Also, if the proctors allows scratch paper jot some notes down after the call for books to be closed but before the beers come - descriptors, flaws, whatever you don't want to forget.

tomsawyer:
Yours sounds like my first foray into the old test, I was unprepared for the judging portion.  It does get easier with practice.  I actually went looking for good adjectives to use, in fact I developed a cheat sheet of them for comp judging.  Back issues of Zymurgy with the beer reviews are handy for that.

One thing I find a lot, is that a beer is served pretty cold and you have a devil of a time getting a lot of aromas at first.  I warm the beer in my hands and try to keep the top covered to capture aromas while I'm writing up the visual assessment, that part is like riding a bike.  Then i go to aroma, then flavor and back to aroma if I start to detect something while sipping.

Its like anything challenging, at first it seems really hard but with practice it becomes a lot easier.

phunhog:
What did I get myself into?? ???  I just passed the online test a few weeks ago and have a tasting exam in August.  How much did you study/taste/prepare? I am trying to do 2-3 hours a week of concentrated studying/tasting using all the materials on the BJCP site.   
On another note...does it really take 6 months to get your results?  Why does it take so long? Wouldn't the proctors know within a day or two of how you scored? My friends have gotten their results from the Bar Exam in a faster time frame than that!!

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