Author Topic: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?  (Read 5952 times)

Offline MDixon

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #60 on: July 06, 2011, 03:11:35 PM »
At the judging table one does not get forever to judge a flight. The competition must move forward. As a judge one should be striving to complete the judging of a beer in 10 min. Sure we could give everyone another hour, but we never have and IME the best judges convey information quickly.

FWIW - the new online exam will be even worse, timed and you cannot go back to a question.
It's not a popularity contest, it's beer!

Offline micsager

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #61 on: July 06, 2011, 03:17:16 PM »
That makes sense.  Thanks. 

Thanks to all who go through this process!!!!!!!!

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #62 on: July 06, 2011, 03:21:56 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? 
It would be a burden on the graders who would have that many more pages to go through. :)
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Offline bluesman

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #63 on: July 06, 2011, 05:28:31 PM »
Did anyone go to Gordon's BJCP Meeting at NHC? It was mentioned to possibly increase the tasting portion of the exam to six beers and a separate exam.

I think this might be a better way to go as it will allow the examinee to focus on the tasting without distraction from the exam.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #64 on: July 06, 2011, 05:37:39 PM »
Did anyone go to Gordon's BJCP Meeting at NHC? It was mentioned to possibly increase the tasting portion of the exam to six beers and a separate exam.

I think this might be a better way to go as it will allow the examinee to focus on the tasting without distraction from the exam.
This is happening, it is a mater of when, not if.  I'm excited for the change.  :)
Tom Schmidlin

Offline bluesman

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #65 on: July 06, 2011, 05:42:18 PM »
Did anyone go to Gordon's BJCP Meeting at NHC? It was mentioned to possibly increase the tasting portion of the exam to six beers and a separate exam.

I think this might be a better way to go as it will allow the examinee to focus on the tasting without distraction from the exam.
This is happening, it is a mater of when, not if.  I'm excited for the change.  :)

Me too.  :)
Ron Price

Offline richardt

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #66 on: July 06, 2011, 06:57:17 PM »
What would the process be for a Certified BJCP judge who wants to reach a National or higher ranking?

Offline bluesman

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #67 on: July 06, 2011, 07:04:44 PM »
What would the process be for a Certified BJCP judge who wants to reach a National or higher ranking?

As I understand it the exam will remain as it is today with the exception of the tasting portion which will be conducted separately. This is my understanding. Mike Dixon and others may know more.
Ron Price

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #68 on: July 06, 2011, 07:51:55 PM »
What would the process be for a Certified BJCP judge who wants to reach a National or higher ranking?
The plan as I understand it is that you would first need to achieve at least a National level score on the tasting.  Then you can sign up to take the written.  There will be no limit on how many can take the tasting at a time.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #69 on: July 07, 2011, 01:15:35 AM »
I've got to disagree - they haven't addressed that portion of the question.  What if they answered with the following:
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

Based on those criteria, then yes, I'd have to say that the boilerplate in BJCP Exam for Dummies is bad advice. And, also, I could see how the focus on the logistics of recipe design could be distracting. (I'm also mentally smacking myself because I'm sure that I got sucked into discussing recipe and logistics and didn't fully address AAFM in my answer to this question when I retook the exam in April!)

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".

I agree. BJCP for Dummies is badly flawed and can easily lead a novice astray.  I've figured that out for myself and I've had senior judges (including you) tell me so. What it is good for is strategies on time management and "gaming the exam" by making sure you focus in on the parts of each question which are worth the most points. For a lot of people, that alone is good enough to get a Recognized or Certified score. If you want a higher score, it's not so good. But, as compared to the Interim Study Guide, which contains a lot of extraneous material and doesn't specifically tell you how to take the exam, it's the best study guide out there. If I had the rank or reputation, I'd do something about that. But I don't, so I can't.

Perhaps by this time next year, if I get National rank (got the XP and the written score, just need the tasting score), and once I see how the new exam structure looks, I'll release public versions of my personal study guide. I think it blows all other test prep materials away, but I'm biased.

As for writing implements for the exam, I used a combination of pen and mechanical pencil. I used pen to fill out the page information before the exam and to set up grids. I then used a couple of sharp pencils for most of the exam, reverting to mechanical pencil when both my pencils got dull. Since I'm also a sinister person, I used a cover sheet to keep my hand from dragging through the parts of the page where I'd already written. I also used a Sharpie marker to mark the sample cups, but were I in a more crowded room I wouldn't do that since Sharpies produce too much odor and might distract other test-takers.

If you do use pencil or mechanical pen, having a good eraser helps, since you can erase completely. Bad erasure marks show up as blotches on a poor photocopy.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2011, 01:26:38 AM by thomasbarnes »

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #70 on: July 07, 2011, 01:18:31 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.

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #71 on: July 07, 2011, 01:45:17 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.

Second, prioritize and condense information. For example, don't mess around with mentioning that you can actually have American or Continental hops in an Ordinary Bitter, instead say something like "Herbal, earthy English hop notes typical." Only add the additional info if you have time. When possible, summarize sensory descriptors, e.g., "dark/dried fruit esters" instead of "dried cherry, fig, date, prune or plum-like esters." Abbreviate and use bullet points when possible.

Third, practice describing beers in a set fashion so you can work more quickly. For example, I always describe base malt first, then specialty malt, then hops (bittering, flavor, aroma), then yeast character, then oddities and style specific flaws (e.g., coriander, curacao orange, chamomile and slight lactic sour in a Belgian Wit. No ham-like or soapy notes.)

Fourth, get in the habit of describing location, intensity and character of each element. For example, don't just say "English pale malt." Instead, write something like "Initial moderate bready, sweetish pale malt notes" or "Subtle, lingering, pleasant hop bitterness in finish."

Fifth, and this might have cost me this last time around, for many styles aroma and flavor are basically identical. In those cases, you can MAYBE get away with writing something like this for flavor: "Malt and late hop character "follow the nose" and are similar in profile to aroma description." Then you go in an describe flavor specific elements like hop bitterness, balance, finish and other elements which aren't addressed in the aroma description.

Perhaps, maybe, when describing two very similar styles, you could write something like "Similar to X, but more/less malt/hop/yeast character, higher/lower alcohol character.

When two or more styles are identical, as in the compare and contrast sections, I think it's safe to draw arrows between like styles or have comments which straddle two or more columns (as long as you can do so legibly). If not, make your compare and contrast notes obvious. E.g.,  "Same base malt, hop varieties & yeast strains for all sub-styles" or Ordinary Bitter & Best Bitter: Lower in alcohol, often lighter in color & less hop aroma and flavor than ESB."
« Last Edit: July 07, 2011, 02:45:25 AM by thomasbarnes »

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #72 on: July 07, 2011, 01:52:09 AM »
I'm curious as to the reasoning behind this being a timed test? 

IMO, some of it is tradition. More practically, since competitions aren't likely to go to paperless judging any time soon, being able to quickly and accurately summarize your knowledge, and write it down quickly and legibly, is a handy skill if you want to get through a big flight in a reasonable amount of time and do each beer justice. It's a royal pain having to judge with someone who takes 20 minutes to judge each beer. It's even more annoying if they give very little description and feedback while you've fully described the beer and given suggestions for improvement.

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #73 on: July 07, 2011, 01:55:12 AM »
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? 
It would be a burden on the graders who would have that many more pages to go through. :)

Which is why the new exam structure should do away with most of that.

FWIW, from discussions with senior judges, I've learned that untimed tests and allowing computers into the exam room in order to accommodate disabilities don't necessarily result in higher exam scores. It's not how much you write, but what you write that counts.

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #74 on: July 07, 2011, 02:27:26 AM »
Did anyone go to Gordon's BJCP Meeting at NHC? It was mentioned to possibly increase the tasting portion of the exam to six beers and a separate exam.

I'm not in on the process, but I've been following the transition process as closely as I can. I got a chance to interrogate some senior judges at the last competition I judged at. Subsequently, I got confirmation from Mike Dixon and others on the BJCP member forums. I hope that Mike, Gordon and other judges who are in on the exam transition don't jump on me for reporting what I've learned.

The new exam structure will be a three-tiered format. Official details are here: http://www.bjcp.org/docs/newexam.pdf

Qualifier Exam: The qualifier exam will be an online exam (confirmed), consisting of multiple choice and short answer questions (speculation), possibly administered by one of the professional testing companies (speculation). No word as to how many questions will be on the exam, how much time you'll have to take the exam or how difficult it will be.

As of early June, the question pool for the qualifier exam had been broken up into sections and teams of National or better judges were reviewing each bloc of questions. (confirmed)

If you are new to the BJCP program, or if you currently have Apprentice rank, you must pass the qualifier exam before you can take the tasting exam. You have 1 year to take the tasting exam after you pass the qualifying exam.

Tasting Exam: The new tasting exam will cover 6 beers. Time to take the test will be expanded slightly (1.5 hour vs. 1 hour) (speculation). No public details on how flawed beers will be handled on the new exam or if more beer styles will be covered.

Your score on the tasting exam determines your maximum BJCP rank, as under the current program. Maximum possible rank if you just take the qualifier exam and the tasting exam is Certified.

Written Exam: Current and new judges who wish to advance to National or better rank must take a written exam, and anyone who wishes to take the written exam must have, or get, an 80+ tasting score, either on the current exam or the new exam. No word as to format or time allowed to take this exam. My guess is that it will probably be similar to the current written exam.

The new exam format should be in place by the end of the year. I can understand if there are delays though. Better to do the transition right than do a bad, rushed job.
 
Current judges who have Recognized or better rank are basically unaffected by the new program, except for the need to somehow achieve a National or better tasting score before they can take the written exam. If you already have a National or better tasting score, you can take the written exam without needing to take the new tasting exam. (confirmed) Judges who are already in the program have the option of retaking the current written exam.