Author Topic: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?  (Read 5955 times)

Offline micsager

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #45 on: July 05, 2011, 08:51:54 PM »
I used to be bummed out that my sense of smell was damaged by some allergy medicine years ago, and thus I could never really be an effective BJCP judge.  After reading this thread, I'm quite happy.  (and also quite impressed with those that do go through the process for the rest of us.......)

Rock on guys.


Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #46 on: July 06, 2011, 12:36:53 AM »
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.

But at least the exam-taker addressed that portion of the question, which a lot of people don't. And, depending on the grader, you might get partial credit, so it's worth a try if you don't have anything else to say or if you don't have time to write anything else. It's not the best advice in the world, but it's not utterly useless.

The all-grain recipe question is one of the toughest and most time-consuming questions on the exam. There are a lot of places where, even if you know your stuff, you can make mistakes. And, if you're doing it right, you have to write an entire short essay on how to brew a particular beer, complete with recipe from grain to glass, in 10-15 minutes.

BJCP for Dummies at least gets you in the ballpark in terms of how you should answer the question and the sort of information that graders want to see. No, the techniques in the guide aren't going to get you a 10 out of 10 on the question, but they might get you a 6-7 out of 10 when you otherwise would have gotten a 3-5.

While studying to take the exam for the third time (second time I had a sinus infection and a bunch of wrong-headed ideas on how to game the exam), I made heavy use of BJCP for Dummies when creating my own exam and pestered senior judges on the BJCP member forums about what constituted a good answer to the various questions on the exam. I'm not sure how I did, but I'm cautiously optimistic. I finished the exam with time to spare and I think I did well enough to get a National score.

Because my results are pending, I can't say for certain if my efforts paid off, but I think that BJCP for Dummies was a useful starting point.

Offline MDixon

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #47 on: July 06, 2011, 03:50:16 AM »
While memorizing a recipe is not easy, the question is not all about the recipe. In fact, 1 point is on the stats for the recipe and 2 points for the actual recipe. I don't think of "logistics" as part of the recipe.

Quote
1 point    
Target statistics (starting specific gravity, final specific gravity, and bitterness in IBUs or HBUs) and color (as SRM or a textual description of the color).

2 points    
Batch size, ingredients (grist, hops, water, and yeast) and their quantities.

3.5 points    
Mashing, boil, fermentation, packaging, and other relevant brewing procedures.

3.5 points    
Explain how the recipe fits the style's characteristics for aroma, appearance, flavor, mouthfeel, and other significant aspects of the style; and describe how the ingredients and processes used impact this style.
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Offline udubdawg

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #48 on: July 06, 2011, 06:05:11 AM »
ya know what I think will improve my score the most? - The feedback I got on the first exam.
At some level I really appreciate all the time they took to give me this in-depth feedback.
...but another part of me is annoyed that it wasn't clearer before that that's what was desired.  Feels like I wasted a lot of time studying.  So if I retake it I'll give them exactly what was asked for.  I won't have learned significantly more since the first, but I bet I'll score quite a bit higher. 
/rant
I'm glad to see the upcoming changes to the exam.  Seems like it will be a better indicator of skill at judging beer.

I also agree with John that it is easier to do with a pen.  Unfortunately for those of us who are left-handed, a full page of writing with a pen tends to turn into a full page of ink smears.

cheers--
--Michael


Offline johnf

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #49 on: July 06, 2011, 08:03:39 AM »
ya know what I think will improve my score the most? - The feedback I got on the first exam.
At some level I really appreciate all the time they took to give me this in-depth feedback.
...but another part of me is annoyed that it wasn't clearer before that that's what was desired.  Feels like I wasted a lot of time studying.  So if I retake it I'll give them exactly what was asked for.  I won't have learned significantly more since the first, but I bet I'll score quite a bit higher. 
/rant
I'm glad to see the upcoming changes to the exam.  Seems like it will be a better indicator of skill at judging beer.

I also agree with John that it is easier to do with a pen.  Unfortunately for those of us who are left-handed, a full page of writing with a pen tends to turn into a full page of ink smears.

cheers--
--Michael



Pick a quick drying pen...

I think for three hours of writing the extra resistance from a pencil is a suicide mission.

I honed my exam strategy on actuarial exams where we get paid study time and a lot of money is at stake. We tend to be pretty good at strategy. PM me if you want me to ask left handed actuaries what pens they use. We have 6 hour essay exams and I think around 99% of people use pen. You would be amazed at how hard people think about what writing implement to use :)

Offline udubdawg

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #50 on: July 06, 2011, 08:07:46 AM »
Pick a quick drying pen...

I think for three hours of writing the extra resistance from a pencil is a suicide mission.

I honed my exam strategy on actuarial exams where we get paid study time and a lot of money is at stake. We tend to be pretty good at strategy. PM me if you want me to ask left handed actuaries what pens they use. We have 6 hour essay exams and I think around 99% of people use pen. You would be amazed at how hard people think about what writing implement to use :)

I don't think I'd be that amazed...I remember how much time I spent just on research on which was the most comfortable mechanical pencil.   8)
Thanks, I'll send ya a PM later.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #51 on: July 06, 2011, 09:02:05 AM »
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.

But at least the exam-taker addressed that portion of the question, which a lot of people don't. And, depending on the grader, you might get partial credit, so it's worth a try if you don't have anything else to say or if you don't have time to write anything else. It's not the best advice in the world, but it's not utterly useless.
I've got to disagree - they haven't addressed that portion of the question.  What if they answered with the following:
Quote
Aroma - malt, yeast, and hop aroma as appropriate for the style
Appearance - color, clarity, and foam as appropriate for the style
Flavor - malt, yeast, and hop flavor as appropriate for the style
Mouthfeel - body and warming as appropriate for the style

If you were grading, how would you grade that answer?  Do you give them partial credit for "addressing that part of the question"?  To me it is the same thing as the other answer, “The malt, hops, and yeast used in this recipe work together to produce the aroma, appearance, flavor and mouthfeel representative of a __________ style.”  They haven't answered the question and they get 0 points.  They are better off leaving it blank, at least then I will have some sympathy for them.

I'm glad Dummies worked out for you, but clearly you ignored sections of it.  If you have to know what is useful and what is not, then it is not a good guide for "dummies".
Tom Schmidlin

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #52 on: July 06, 2011, 09:03:24 AM »
Pick a quick drying pen...

I think for three hours of writing the extra resistance from a pencil is a suicide mission.

I honed my exam strategy on actuarial exams where we get paid study time and a lot of money is at stake. We tend to be pretty good at strategy. PM me if you want me to ask left handed actuaries what pens they use. We have 6 hour essay exams and I think around 99% of people use pen. You would be amazed at how hard people think about what writing implement to use :)

I don't think I'd be that amazed...I remember how much time I spent just on research on which was the most comfortable mechanical pencil.   8)
Thanks, I'll send ya a PM later.
Don't keep it to yourselves, there is more than one left-hander out there who could use the advice . . .
Tom Schmidlin

Offline bluesman

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #53 on: July 06, 2011, 09:35:02 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.
Ron Price

Offline udubdawg

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #54 on: July 06, 2011, 09:48:58 AM »
OK, so this is probably the wrong forum but since some graders are obviously reading it...

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.  I create a grid with aroma/appearance/flavor/mouthfeel/stats/ingredients/similarities/differences and one section at the bottom across all three with basically a history/description/overall impression of the 3.
12 minutes left...I speed up my writing and fill in each square for ESB
7 minutes left...handwriting is getting really bad now as I ignore the pain and write even faster...I fill in each square for Ordinary Bitter
3 minutes left...barely legible, smoke just about to start coming off my hands...I fill in all but two squares for Special Bitter.
For Aroma and Flavor I write in "similar to Ordinary Bitter" in the last few seconds.

I got a good score on this question, but the feedback I got is that it wasn't enough to just say "similar to Ordinary Bitter"

So I sit here looking at the guidelines, wondering if they really want me to write the same thing over again that I just wrote for Ordinary Bitter flavor and aroma.  It seems like the perfect opportunity to save a couple minutes and write just what I did.

So, graders, what is the appropriate way for me to convey that these two beers have the same description for these two attributes?  I covered the differences between these two styles in the stats and similarities/differences sections.


thanks in advance--
--Michael

Offline MDixon

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #55 on: July 06, 2011, 02:32:51 PM »
To me writing "similar" would be akin to writing "malt, hops, water, yeast" for the recipe question. It simply did not provide a complete answer showing your knowledge on the subject. You could have skipped the grid and went for a compare/contrast response if that would have saved you time. It's how the exam was answered in the old days before the exam format you see now with explicit point scores.

The reality is time management was the issue, it's much better to convey the points of each style to some degree than to cover some completely and forget others. Think of your grid as 12 data points comprising 6 pts of the answer. Similar got little to no credit, while writing it out may have gotten high marks. So you lost a point for sure by using "similar". Had you put something, or a partial answer the loss would have been mitigated.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #56 on: July 06, 2011, 02:45:27 PM »
The reality is time management was the issue, it's much better to convey the points of each style to some degree than to cover some completely and forget others. Think of your grid as 12 data points comprising 6 pts of the answer. Similar got little to no credit, while writing it out may have gotten high marks. So you lost a point for sure by using "similar". Had you put something, or a partial answer the loss would have been mitigated.

I think looking at it from the big picture is key to maximizing your score. As has been said, it's better to have every question answered to the best of one's ability than to have most questions answered completely with a few left unanswered.
Ron Price

Offline micsager

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #57 on: July 06, 2011, 02:56:17 PM »
I'm curious as to the reasoning behind this being a timed test? 

Offline MDixon

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #58 on: July 06, 2011, 03:05:51 PM »
You currently have 3 hours to take the exam, how much longer should be given?

It's no one's fault but the examinee if they do not finish. They know exactly how long they have and exactly the format of the questions. It's pretty easy to calculate - 10 min for 4 beers = 40 min max leaving 140 min for 10 questions or 14 min max per question. The first question is three fill in the blank, a series of multiple choice and a grid, but most people could figure out how to fill that out in less than 14 min.

Note: If one has a disability they may be given consideration for a longer period of time.

« Last Edit: July 06, 2011, 03:08:10 PM by MDixon »
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Offline micsager

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #59 on: July 06, 2011, 03:08:34 PM »
I have no clue.  I'm just wondering why time it?  It does sound like from this thread, that some have not had enough time.  Would giving them another hour really be a burden?