Author Topic: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?  (Read 7058 times)

Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #30 on: July 04, 2011, 11:37:12 AM »
I would suggest that you review  the study questions paying particular attention to how one earns various points for each question.  Make sure you spend the most time on the section of each question that will earn you the most ponts.  http://www.bjcp.org/study.php#quest

Also review Gordon Strong's "How to Master the BJCP Exam"    http://www.bjcp.org/docs/mastering.pdf

BJCP For Dummies, have several good suggestions as to how to answer a question 
http://www.bjcp.org/docs/BJCPExamForDummies.pdf

It will be impossible to put down all the sub style descriptions so when reviewing them pick out the main details.  A good guide is the look at a competition score sheet and answer the descriptive phrases that are shown under the Aroma, Appearance, Flavor, Mouthfeel headings.  Use one to three descriptive words for each one. 

As mentioned, time is of the essence, so keep your answers short and to the point.  Do not use a lot of unessary filler words.

We have just started a school for homebrewers and craft beer enthusiasts.  Our first course "Better Beer Scores" is specifically designed to assist in studying for the BJCP exam.  Please check out our web site for more information at www.beerjudgeeducation.com.  Cheers! 

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #31 on: July 04, 2011, 12:28:21 PM »
After speaking with some graders, I would advise against using BJCP for Dummies.  It is about gaming the exam and you will not get the best score possible using the methods outlined.  If it is clear to the grader that you studied and actually know things you will do better than someone who appears to have studied a way to score well without knowing much.

I was unfamiliar with BJCP for Dummies when we had the conversation and was surprised to hear that it contained this advice:

Quote
18. HOW INGREDIENTS/PROCEDURES IMPACT THE STYLE?
Easy way: “The malt, hops, and yeast used in this recipe work together to produce the aroma,
appearance, flavor and mouthfeel representative of a __________ style.” If you’ve got LOTS of
time at the END of the test, come back to this part and elaborate more, if you know it."

This "easy way" will get you 0 out of 3.5 points if I am the grader.  Saying essentially "the ingredients used fit the style because they fit the style" doesn't display any knowledge at all.  I think it is terrible advice.

The purpose of the exam is to see how well you understand the various beer styles, not how well you understand the exam.  Answer to display knowledge, not tricks.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline bonjour

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #32 on: July 04, 2011, 12:57:42 PM »
After speaking with some graders, I would advise against using BJCP for Dummies.  It is about gaming the exam and you will not get the best score possible using the methods outlined.  If it is clear to the grader that you studied and actually know things you will do better than someone who appears to have studied a way to score well without knowing much.

I was unfamiliar with BJCP for Dummies when we had the conversation and was surprised to hear that it contained this advice:

Quote
18. HOW INGREDIENTS/PROCEDURES IMPACT THE STYLE?
Easy way: “The malt, hops, and yeast used in this recipe work together to produce the aroma,
appearance, flavor and mouthfeel representative of a __________ style.” If you’ve got LOTS of
time at the END of the test, come back to this part and elaborate more, if you know it."

This "easy way" will get you 0 out of 3.5 points if I am the grader.  Saying essentially "the ingredients used fit the style because they fit the style" doesn't display any knowledge at all.  I think it is terrible advice.

The purpose of the exam is to see how well you understand the various beer styles, not how well you understand the exam.  Answer to display knowledge, not tricks.
I might be generous and give up to 1 point, depending on what else in the answer shows that you KNOW what you are talking about.

The point of this question is to determine that you know the style well enough to give valid feedback on it.
Fred Bonjour
Co-Chair Mashing in Michigan 2014 AHA Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan
AHA Governing Committee; AHA Conference, Club Support & Web Subcommittees



Everything under 1.100 is a 'session' beer ;)

Offline udubdawg

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #33 on: July 05, 2011, 06:19:55 AM »
After speaking with some graders, I would advise against using BJCP for Dummies.  It is about gaming the exam and you will not get the best score possible using the methods outlined.  If it is clear to the grader that you studied and actually know things you will do better than someone who appears to have studied a way to score well without knowing much.

I was unfamiliar with BJCP for Dummies when we had the conversation and was surprised to hear that it contained this advice:

Quote
18. HOW INGREDIENTS/PROCEDURES IMPACT THE STYLE?
Easy way: “The malt, hops, and yeast used in this recipe work together to produce the aroma,
appearance, flavor and mouthfeel representative of a __________ style.” If you’ve got LOTS of
time at the END of the test, come back to this part and elaborate more, if you know it."

This "easy way" will get you 0 out of 3.5 points if I am the grader.  Saying essentially "the ingredients used fit the style because they fit the style" doesn't display any knowledge at all.  I think it is terrible advice.

The purpose of the exam is to see how well you understand the various beer styles, not how well you understand the exam.  Answer to display knowledge, not tricks.

Thanks.  Do you have any other examples of the Dummies guide trying to "game" the exam? 
My comment to that is it is a "dummies" guide.  I have several friends who got into the 60's with the help of Boyce's guide that wouldn't have made it otherwise.  If you're at 87 and looking to improve on a retake it really isn't for you.  But if you have trouble taking exams or formulating an answer out of the multitude of data out there or are on the edge of passing it can help.  As to the specific example you quoted, I don't know anyone who followed his example.  Everyone I spoke to said SOMETHING more about the aroma/appearance/flavor/mouthfeel of their recipe.  I really think a better way to say this would be "spend your time where you can get points."  Time is at a premium, and many people cannot even finish.  In that regard waxing poetic about a style and getting an extra half point or whatever and leaving an entire question blank doesn't make sense.  Using time wisely is certainly not gaming the exam.

cheers--
--Michael

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #34 on: July 05, 2011, 06:43:14 AM »
Most people don't answer the question and certainly do not pay attention to the maximum score potential even though it is stated on the exam. When I look at a question and see 6pts, 2pts, 1pt, 1pt, where would it be most beneficial to spend my time? OTOH, most people forget if they don't answer the question, they don't get any points at all, not even partial credit. So they should focus where they can maximize points and be sure to answer every section. A nice dissertation of hops is impressive until the examinee figures out they can only gloss over 3 questions. Time management is key.

As far as Al's document, it will become moot as soon as the new exam rolls out since that strategy will no longer be useful. When it happens, no one should be taking the written exam without the aspiration, preparation and knowledge to become a National or higher judge. I suspect at that time the prep classes and strategies for doing well will change substantially. Taste will become more important since it will require an 80+ on taste in order to even begin to think about taking the essay exam.
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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #35 on: July 05, 2011, 09:36:15 AM »
I can't disagree with anything that Mike said.

I haven't read all of Dummies, like I said I hadn't heard of it before.  But . . .
Thanks.  Do you have any other examples of the Dummies guide trying to "game" the exam? 
The entire section on the recipe question reads like someone trying to game the exam.  Some examples:

Quote
Always 5% Alpha Acid (AA), regardless of what hops you choose (see box below)
If you write down that your centennials and chinooks have 5% alpha you're losing points.

Quote
Boil: ALWAYS: “75 minutes, full rolling boil to facilitate hot break, adding hops according to
schedule above.
There is nothing technically wrong with this answer, but is it really that hard for people to remember 90 minutes if you're using pilsner malt, otherwise 60 minutes?   That is a good rule of thumb for the exam (and real life brewing), and contains some actual brewing knowledge.

Using time wisely is certainly not gaming the exam.
No, it definitely isn't, that is a strategy that just makes sense.  I have no objection to that.  My objection comes when the strategy is "just write this" instead of actually learning something that isn't that hard.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline bonjour

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #36 on: July 05, 2011, 09:44:13 AM »

Quote
Always 5% Alpha Acid (AA), regardless of what hops you choose (see box below)
If you write down that your centennials and chinooks have 5% alpha you're losing points.
If I see that AND I see some actual calculation,  I'll give them that because they can handle ANY hop with an AA% especially if the AA% makes the math easier on the exam.
Fred Bonjour
Co-Chair Mashing in Michigan 2014 AHA Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan
AHA Governing Committee; AHA Conference, Club Support & Web Subcommittees



Everything under 1.100 is a 'session' beer ;)

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #37 on: July 05, 2011, 09:52:01 AM »

Quote
Always 5% Alpha Acid (AA), regardless of what hops you choose (see box below)
If you write down that your centennials and chinooks have 5% alpha you're losing points.
If I see that AND I see some actual calculation,  I'll give them that because they can handle ANY hop with an AA% especially if the AA% makes the math easier on the exam.
I'm with you, except Dummies specifically says you don't need to know how to do the calculations, you just need to write down 25% utilization and 25 IBUs for one ounce.

And anyway, 5% is out of range for centennials and chinooks, so unless you write down that you are using old hops that have lost 50+% of their alpha acids . . .
Tom Schmidlin

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #38 on: July 05, 2011, 12:08:37 PM »
On June 4th I wrote the exam that Fred administered.  The BJCP for Dummies was a help on how the test was laid out, and what to expect.  It helped in some areas, and in other areas there were some things I did not agree with.  Like saying that Steam beer is fermented with an ale yeast, and Koelsch with a lager yeast.  The part on why the ingredients were selected was a little lame when I read it, and I said more about the malt, yeast, hops and water.

Time management was the big issue.  That, and not having hand written anything for 3 hours in about 37 years.   >:(
Jeff Rankert
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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #39 on: July 05, 2011, 12:28:10 PM »
That, and not having hand written anything for 3 hours in about 37 years.   >:(

Everyone underestimates that one!
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #40 on: July 05, 2011, 01:03:11 PM »
That, and not having hand written anything for 3 hours in about 37 years.   >:(

Everyone underestimates that one!

I had been practicing, really, I had been writting a little more each day.  Got up to about 1.5 hours straight, should have gone for the full 3 hours.
Jeff Rankert
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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #41 on: July 05, 2011, 01:19:40 PM »
That, and not having hand written anything for 3 hours in about 37 years.   >:(

Everyone underestimates that one!

You can say that again.  ;)
Ron Price

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #42 on: July 05, 2011, 05:35:53 PM »
After speaking with some graders, I would advise against using BJCP for Dummies.  It is about gaming the exam and you will not get the best score possible using the methods outlined.

BJCP for Dummies is badly flawed in some ways, but it does have its points.

Useful mnemonics, advice on time management and discussion of areas of the test to concentrate on to get maximum points is hardly "gaming the exam." Just don't expect to use just BJCP for Dummies and the Style Guidelines and get a National or Master score.

  

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #43 on: July 05, 2011, 06:19:46 PM »
I thought it was useful for some strategy type stuff. I came into the BJCP exam strong on general essay exam strategy but the suggestion of using a grid, for example, I found useful (I used them on style questions only).

On the other hand, I vehemently disagree with his suggestion to use a pencil (if you want to know why, take a block of text that takes you about 10 minutes to copy in handwriting, do it one day with a pencil and the next with a pen).

I took what was useful for me and discarded the rest, which is what anyone should do. I didn't try to use the provided answers as I was strong enough to produce better answers (as obviously is Al, it is a Dummies Guide).

FWIW, in my limited grading experience, I have frequently seen multiple candidates obviously attempting to use the same canned answer but they weren't in these cases from Al's guide. So I think we are picking on one example of what is happening everywhere.

As Mike says, moot point soon. Nobody gets National and Master scores by blindly adopting strategies and answers.

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #44 on: July 05, 2011, 07:46:57 PM »
Useful mnemonics, advice on time management and discussion of areas of the test to concentrate on to get maximum points is hardly "gaming the exam."
I was pretty clear on what I thought was gaming the exam and what was not.  No where did I say mnemonics, time management, or maxing points was gaming the exam.
Tom Schmidlin