Author Topic: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?  (Read 7063 times)

Offline MDixon

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #75 on: July 07, 2011, 05:07:35 AM »
First of all, you should have had a blank grid made up before the exam started.

While you "feel" this saved you time somehow, I just cannot figure out why. It's three columns (two vertical lines) and four rows (three vertical lines). Drawing them ahead of time squeezes your answer into a confined space and saves no time.

Do this, take a piece of paper and draw the lines freehand (really, freehand, graders do not care a flip about straight lines). How long did that take? So whatever time you saved, say 5 seconds how much can you write on a topic in 5 seconds? Would those extra words have made the difference in score? I'll bet I could freehand grid a piece of paper as described above in 2 seconds or less.

I read in dummies about preping this and that and I tell my examinees to not number ANYTHING. I take time after the exam to have them number every sheet in a way which will be the same for all examinees who took that exam. Trust me, the graders like that.

There is only one piece of paper prep work I think examinees should do prior to the exam. Take a ruler and mark the margin 1" from all edges with a black magic marker. During the exam place that sheet under every sheet of paper you are using to take the exam and do no write outside that margin.
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Offline jeffy

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #76 on: July 07, 2011, 06:12:45 AM »
There's always a lot of talk about grids whenever taking the exam is discussed.  I fail to see the importance. 
Of course I didn't have all the resources that seem to be available these days and I took the exam(s) after a lot of independent study, but if you're organized and know the material, I think prose will work just as well.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline bluesman

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #77 on: July 07, 2011, 06:32:36 AM »
I'm using the Dummies guide as a "guide". I find it very helpful as such, but I think it will take a little more than that to "Master" this exam. I'm retaking the exam in September so I'll be watching this thread for tips and advice.

Also check out the member forums on the BJCP web site. When I was prepping for the exam I nagged Mike Dixon and Kevin Pratt unmercifully for advice on how to answer the questions on the exam. They were very patient with me and gave some very good advice.

Thanks...I'll check it out.
Ron Price

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #78 on: July 07, 2011, 09:01:22 AM »
First of all, you should have had a blank grid made up before the exam started.

While you "feel" this saved you time somehow, I just cannot figure out why. It's three columns (two vertical lines) and four rows (three vertical lines). Drawing them ahead of time squeezes your answer into a confined space and saves no time.

Actually, this last time around, I just did partial grids, with 2 vertical lines to separate the three different beer styles, then lined in the horizontal lines as I worked so that I could give sufficient space to each aspect of the question.

For me, having the grids partially prepared in advance serves as a memory aid and keeps me from being distracted (I have ADHD). It also saves a tiny amount of time and gives me something to do to calm my nerves before the test. (I have test anxiety, too.)

Other than that, your point is well taken. Grids should be minimal and should be an aid to formatting your answer and helping the graders.

I read in dummies about preping this and that and I tell my examinees to not number ANYTHING. I take time after the exam to have them number every sheet in a way which will be the same for all examinees who took that exam. Trust me, the graders like that.

This should be in the rules for proctoring the exam then, if it really does help.

There is only one piece of paper prep work I think examinees should do prior to the exam. Take a ruler and mark the margin 1" from all edges with a black magic marker. During the exam place that sheet under every sheet of paper you are using to take the exam and do no write outside that margin.

This is good advice. It's a variant of the suggestion to line out margins mentioned in "BJCP for Dummies", but is more time efficient, assuming that the paper you're given (usually a lined legal pad) is thin enough.

Again, this could be a standard thing that the proctor provides, since it would be easy enough to design and photocopy a blank 8' x 11.5" page with a big black border approximately 1" from the margins. Heck, you could incorporate it into the exam itself as the page before the cover sheet.

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #79 on: July 07, 2011, 09:03:33 AM »
There's always a lot of talk about grids whenever taking the exam is discussed.  I fail to see the importance. 
Of course I didn't have all the resources that seem to be available these days and I took the exam(s) after a lot of independent study, but if you're organized and know the material, I think prose will work just as well.

Some questions lend themselves better to grids, but for others (e.g., Gypsum, Finings, Krausening) prose works, too.

Offline udubdawg

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #80 on: July 08, 2011, 10:24:09 AM »

One of the describe/compare/contrast 3-styles questions I had was the 3 beers in Category 8.  Best Bitter, Special Bitter, ESB.
It's the last question I've got left to answer, and I'm running out of time.

First of all, you should have had a blank grid made up before the exam started. The "compare 3 styles" question will always be on the exam in its current form.


thank you for the response.  For the record I started making grids as soon as they handed out paper after they let us into the room to sit down.  However there wasn't sufficient time to finish them before the exam started.

On another topic, I don't see why the exam really needs to be at all tricky.
What is the point of interrupting me with a beer while I am already writing?  It is not like a steward is going to come by while I am judging and hand me another beer.  And finally, why the extra 30 minutes for those doing split retakes?

Seems like these could be addressed at any time - even before the exam changes come about - everyone taking the whole exam or just the essay part enters the room and has 2.5 hours.  At the end of this everyone stops and those just taking doing the essay leave.  The others get a brief bathroom/whatever break.  Everyone taking the tasting portion enters the room and everyone judges beer for an hour.  You could split it up to 4x15 minute sections or keep it at 1 hour where people could go back to the first beers at any time.  I can live with a timed test, and I understand having it "closed book" though I certainly wouldn't mind having the guidelines available during the the tasting.

This means the same rules for everyone taking it, and less of the multitasking.  I mean, during a competition, who judges beer while thinking about how to boil the answer of a vague question about water down to 1 page?

cheers--
--Michael

Offline MDixon

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #81 on: July 08, 2011, 10:58:03 AM »
Again, it all will be moot once the new exam strategy in in place. The essay and taste will be separate exams with different time limits.

As far as why a partial retake gets more time, I'm not sure. You really need no more time for the taste, when I did a taste retake I found myself twiddling my thumbs waiting on the next beer. The proctors do need a bit more time since they fill out an extended score sheet. Probably 15+ min per beer for them would be best.

You don't have to stop writing your thought, just flip a coaster over the beer. Generally it has been poured a few minutes prior to serving so if you need a couple of minutes before evaluating, no big deal. As far as the style guidelines, the examinees need to learn the styles. Sure they are generally available at competition, but when you sit on the BOS table you rarely have time to site and digest the style guidelines and under the new exam strategy the essay exam will determine who becomes a higher ranking judge and who does not.
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