Author Topic: BJCP Written Exam  (Read 5614 times)

Offline dkfick

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BJCP Written Exam
« on: January 13, 2014, 03:11:06 AM »
So... I've taken the BJCP Tasting Exam and the BJCP Mead Exam, but I've yet to actually take the BJCP Written Exam.  Looking for advice, tips, and insight into studying for it.  I'm taking it on Saturday the 17th.

I'm currently basing most of my 'studying' off of the BJCP_Study_guide.pdf and the last few slides of the mastering the BJCP slideshow off of the BJCP site itself.  Let me know if you have any other sources you think I should be checking out.  Thanks.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: BJCP Written Exam
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2014, 03:28:51 AM »
How did you do on the tasting? Tell us how it was done...

I'm studying the guide with a goal of taking the online exam next month. Hoping to get into the judging exam in Portland Or in May

Offline dkfick

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Re: BJCP Written Exam
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2014, 03:40:03 AM »
I got an 85 on the tasting and an average of 77 on the mead exam.  For the tasting exam I would recommend judging.  Even if it's just you judging beers sitting at home.  Open a beer... Fill out a score sheet.  The more you do it the more you'll find the vocabulary really just comes to you.  Judging in a competition is also very beneficial before taking the exam.  Not only will you get to fill out scoresheets but you'll be paired with a judge with more experience than yourself (or you should be).  During the discussion phase you should pick up many insights.

As for the mead exam I didn't really study for it at all.  I had judged meads quite a few times prior to taking the exam and I make and win a decent amount of medals with my meads so I just 'winged' it for the mead exam.  It was kind of a last minute thing for me and I took it at the NHC last year in Philly.  I would say knowing the fundamentals of balance in meads is probably the most important thing for it.  It will really guide you through the tasting and written portions.  There were questions about specific honey types... I think I put "floral" down for all of them on the aroma and flavor... "Hey it comes from flowers" lol



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Offline james

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Re: BJCP Written Exam
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2014, 04:17:16 AM »
How did you do on the tasting? Tell us how it was done...

I'm studying the guide with a goal of taking the online exam next month. Hoping to get into the judging exam in Portland Or in May

Contact them asap to get on the list.  Look for every exam you are willing to go to over the next year+ and email to get on their lists.  Many exams have last minute drops so if you are ready you can get a spot.

Make sure you take the online exam well in advance, part of the reason for open spots is people put it off to the last minute and don't pass

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: BJCP Written Exam
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2014, 06:17:16 AM »
I sent them an email. Hopefully it works out.


Are the styles used in the judging test random? Can you use the style guide or is it from memory? Is it more about detecting off flavors, or guessing style, or what?

For the judging exam prep I thought I would just order one or two of the commercial examples of each style, at least on the ones I'm less familiar with. Like from craft shack or the like.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 06:28:31 AM by klickitat jim »

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: BJCP Written Exam
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2014, 12:23:05 PM »
Well, that exam is only for people enrolled on his class.

I've sent an email to the Richland guy. If that falls through I am giving up. I'll take it as an indication that they already have plenty of judges.

Offline dkfick

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Re: BJCP Written Exam
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2014, 01:07:07 PM »
They give an exam at the NHC as well.  The exams can be hard to get into because they only allow 12 people per exam.  Be sure to get on the wait list for exams in your area... People always cancel at the last minute.  Either life gets in the way or they realize the exam is hard and maybe they should have studied....  Another option is take that class in your area.  This will help you on the exam and get you a slot for the test.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: BJCP Written Exam
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2014, 01:44:24 PM »
Thanks
I was venting a little frustration is all
I'll keep at it

Offline jamminbrew

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Re: BJCP Written Exam
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2014, 02:21:43 PM »
I sent them an email. Hopefully it works out.


Are the styles used in the judging test random? Can you use the style guide or is it from memory? Is it more about detecting off flavors, or guessing style, or what?

For the judging exam prep I thought I would just order one or two of the commercial examples of each style, at least on the ones I'm less familiar with. Like from craft shack or the like.
Yes, the styles should be random, when I took my tasting exam, we had 6 styles to judge. We didn't know what styles we'd be judging beforehand, but were told what style they were as we were handed our samples. 2 were commercial examples, 2 were homebrews, and 2 were purposely altered for off flavors. I think it depends on the person putting the testing together, I don't think this is necessarily the standard.  And it will be from memory, there is no open book for the testing. When you judge competitions, however, you can use any resource you want.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: BJCP Written Exam
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2014, 02:46:05 PM »
That's about what I figured. I might be able to find a store in Portland that carries a bunch of the commercial examples. That can be a starting point

Offline AmandaK

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Re: BJCP Written Exam
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2014, 02:55:52 PM »
Well, that exam is only for people enrolled on his class.

You shouldn't be able to do that... I don't remember exactly where I think I read that in the BJCP exam admin guide, but I'm pretty sure you can't close off an exam for "just your people".

Anyway, FWIW, I got a 90 on my written exam when I took it in 2011 (Legacy Exam). To prepare, I did the following:
  • Hired a BJCP grader/Grand Master/helper to point me in the right direction. I used David Teckam. And by hired, I mean that I paid him a tiny amount of money and he held my hand for 8 months. More than worth it.
  • Read everything I could get my grubby little paws on. Technical articles, books, magazines, etc.
  • Used Al Boyce's "BJCP Exam for Dummies" http://www.bjcp.org/docs/BJCPExamForDummies.pdf There is a lot of good information in there about the technical questions.
  • Practiced writing out my answers. You know the pool of questions that can be on the written exam. Be sure to have well thought out and complete answers for all of them.
  • Know your styles. Know what differentiates them. Know the similarities. And know good ones. The only similarities between American Stout, Dry Stout and Robust Porter cannot simply be "ales, all dark in color" - reach deeper.
  • Learn to manage your time. Again, you know the questions that will be on the exam. You know how many there are as well. Practice writing your answers and time yourself. Blank answers cannot receive any points and that will hurt your overall score terribly.
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Offline udubdawg

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Re: BJCP Written Exam
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2014, 02:56:34 PM »
sent OP a PM; others are welcome to send me one if you would like assistance studying for either beer exam.  I'll probably ask for help on the Mead Exam soon.   8)

cheers--
--Michael

Offline Jimmy K

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Re: BJCP Written Exam
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2014, 03:24:02 PM »
Are the styles used in the judging test random? Can you use the style guide or is it from memory? Is it more about detecting off flavors, or guessing style, or what?

For the judging exam prep I thought I would just order one or two of the commercial examples of each style, at least on the ones I'm less familiar with. Like from craft shack or the like.
Not exactly random, but chosen by the administrator and you won't know ahead of time. No style guides, 15 minutes per beer, you won't have time to read the style guide anyway. The beers will reflect the range of beers in the guide, so they will include light/dark - ales/lagers - there will be some great examples, some OK, some problematic. Actual styles chosen will certainly depend on what the administrator has access to. You will be told what the style is.

Focus on describing the beer. Make sure to hit each keyword listed on the scoresheet under each section. For every keyword, indicate the level you detect it at (low/medium/high). Never write a range (low-medium hop aroma), they don't like that. Remember that hops have both bitterness and flavor and these are both flavors. Focus on perception (medium citrus/piney hop aroma vs medium American hop aroma). Don't troubleshoot in the first four sections, save that for Overall Impression.

In Overall Impression, describe how you enjoyed the beer and identify 2 characteristics to improve and how to do that. You don't need to hit every problem, but pick the two that you think impacted the score the most. Don't assume anything about ingredients or process, but you can use wiggle words to offer suggestions that may not apply. For example, if the beer should be drier you could write - If mashing, use a lower mash temp, or substitute simple sugar for some malt or extract.

Thanks
I was venting a little frustration is all
I'll keep at it

I understand. BJCP just increased the number of tests allowed each month. Hopefully that leads to more open slots. I'm also rural and had trouble finding an exam seat.
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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: BJCP Written Exam
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2014, 03:26:21 PM »
Also - this is a great resource put together by Thomas Barnes in New York. He's an exam grader.

http://unyha.com/index.php/competitions/bjcp-judge-training/217-bjcp-exam-resources.html
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: BJCP Written Exam
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2014, 03:32:09 PM »
By the way I just got my provisional certificate. Woo hoo!