Author Topic: BJCP entrance exam  (Read 2595 times)

Offline Brewtopalonian

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BJCP entrance exam
« on: March 18, 2019, 04:29:01 PM »
So I've recently been enticed to pursue becoming a BJCP Judge and I have been going down the reading list of suggested reading on the BJCP website.  I was wondering if anyone has any pro tips for studying for both the entrance exam and the tasting exam?  Aside from reading each style guideline, how does one commit so much to memory?

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Offline denny

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Re: BJCP entrance exam
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2019, 04:31:42 PM »
I spent at the least 3 hours a day for 6-8 months studying for it.  It paid off, though.  I scored one point below Master.  One resource that I found invaluable was Michael Jackson's New World Guide to Beer.
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Offline Brewtopalonian

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Re: BJCP entrance exam
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2019, 04:33:30 PM »
I spent at the least 3 hours a day for 6-8 months studying for it.  It paid off, though.  I scored one point below Master.  One resource that I found invaluable was Michael Jackson's New World Guide to Beer.
Awesome!  Thanks Denny! I've been reading for the most part of everyday I have off of work.  I work at a LHBS store so I get my learn on there too.

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Offline mchrispen

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Re: BJCP entrance exam
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2019, 04:36:24 PM »
There are some pretty good discussions and resources here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BJCP201StudyGroup/


But also - there is a study guide at the BJCP site that is pretty comprehensive.
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Offline Brewtopalonian

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Re: BJCP entrance exam
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2019, 04:43:20 PM »
There are some pretty good discussions and resources here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BJCP201StudyGroup/


But also - there is a study guide at the BJCP site that is pretty comprehensive.
Awesome thanks!  I don't have Facebook and don't intend on getting another account but I'll look for the study guide.  Is it just me or does the bjcp website need some work?

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Offline mchrispen

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Re: BJCP entrance exam
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2019, 04:46:32 PM »
They have been reworking the site for some time now...


https://dev.bjcp.org/ has most of the information ported over.


https://dev.bjcp.org/exam-certification/program/bjcp-exam-program-description/
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Offline Brewtopalonian

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Re: BJCP entrance exam
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2019, 04:47:35 PM »
Thanks again!  I'll look there.

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Offline jeffjm

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Re: BJCP entrance exam
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2019, 01:47:22 PM »
I teach a BJCP study class about once a year or so, so I've heard a lot of feedback on the entrance exam.
You will need to know styles pretty well. Technically its open book but practically you won't have time to look much up.

You'll need at least a rough idea of strength, color, bitterness, malt profile, etc for all of the styles that might appear. That doesn't necessarily mean exact numbers, but you should have an idea of the range that various examples of the style might fall into. The "Impression" and "Comparison" sections of the style guidelines provide concise summaries that are easier to remember than all the detail in the other sections. I'd key on those when prepping for the entrance exam.

The entrance exam will also have some off flavor questions. Know the common off flavors, what causes them, how to prevent them, and when they might be allowable (e.g. a very low amount of DMS in a German pilsner, or very low diacetyl in an ordinary bitter).

There is also some BJCP program info covered in the online exam - know judging procedure, ethics, requirements for rank advancement, etc. Some of this is covered in the Judge Procedure's Manual and some of it is in the study guide.

The tasting exam is a different animal, although you'll still need to know styles in order to provide good feedback and identify where examples fall short. Start prepping for it at least 3-4 months in advance, and preferably longer. The single best thing you can do here is know how to fill out a good scoresheet, which means knowing what the graders are looking for. Read the BJCP Scoresheet Guide, and understand what is meant in terms of perception, descriptive ability, feedback, and completeness. Buy commercial examples of lots of different styles, score them, and then compare your scoresheet against the rubrics in the Scoresheet Guide. Keep in mind that the most common off flavor in store-bought beer is oxidation, which is not necessarily the same off flavor you'll find in homebrewed examples.

The most common flaw I see in scoresheets from new judges is failure to describe every aspect of the beer. This costs you exam points in both completeness and descriptive ability, and maybe perception, depending on what the graders are looking for. Comment on everything in the fine print on each section of the scoresheet, but don't stop there. Comment on everything important to the style, even if it isn't explicitly called out in the fine print - e.g., banana and clove in a weissbier. That's true even if it's not present in the example in front of you. Maybe the admin decided to give you an American wheat and call it a weissbier.

Read the exam admin guide as well. The admin is supposed to provide a range of styles, at least one high-scoring beer, and at least one low-scoring beer. Know what you are getting into ahead of time.

There's a ton of stuff to work on prior to the exam, but at least there's beer involved!
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Offline Brewtopalonian

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Re: BJCP entrance exam
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2019, 02:32:18 PM »
Thanks Jeff, that's some excellent information and certainly going to adjust how I study. 

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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: BJCP entrance exam
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2019, 04:58:00 PM »
I would also add - after you have the tasting elements and general descriptors well in hand, take a look at the Zymurgy magazine column "Commercial Calibration" to see how grand masters use descriptors and their focus on aspects of perception and analogy.  These folks really delve deeper in a few words than most judges do on a score sheet, but you can pick up vocabulary and insight that really isn't gleaned well from most other sources.  Finally - read a bit by Randy Mosher - he relates taste and aroma perceptions to appropriate words far better than anyone I have read.  Further he discusses some processes and why they work - for example, the retrograde nasal manner of analyzing aromas....

Best of luck and cheers!
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Offline santoch

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Re: BJCP entrance exam
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2019, 02:17:04 AM »
Know the styles.  Know them cold.  Know the brewing processes cold.  Know the ingredients cold.  Know the troubleshooting steps.

Read everything on the BJCP exam center web site.  Understand what the graders will be looking for in your answers.  Everything is up there in plain sight.  There are no secrets.  If you don't take the time to read everything (including the grader's guidelines, administrators guideline, etc), then you are putting yourself at a disadvantage.

Take the free 20 questions in 6 minutes online sample entrance exam to get a feel for what the entrance is like.  You might even buy the "3 pack discount" exam and take the first one (expecting to fail) just to see full force what you'll need to study (and who knows, you might even pass it first time - but that's very rare to do so without a lot of preparation)

For the tasting exam, there is no substitute for actually tasting all the styles, preferably with other folks that have an experienced palate.  After that, judge in a comp or two while you are in the preparing phase.

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