Author Topic: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?  (Read 6681 times)

Offline alikocho

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BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« on: January 20, 2011, 06:41:55 AM »
I'm due to take my BJCP exam in just over a week's time, and I have a query about what is required in a full answer. The Study guide does not suggest that it is necessary to give vital statistics for styles, but I looked at Gordon Strong's presentation from a few years back that suggested that you do.  Which is it?
« Last Edit: January 20, 2011, 06:43:34 AM by alikocho »
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Offline bonjour

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2011, 07:23:31 AM »
You do not NEED the numbers to answer the style questions, though they do help.
What is essential is to answer the question completely.
All style questions MUST describe the style, this includes
Aroma
Appearance
Flavor
Mouthfeel
Two of the possible questions are (paraphrased) Pick & describe (see the study guide for the wording) 3 different top fermenting styles that have a min OG of over 1.070/ 3 different top fermenting styles that have a Max OG of under 1.040.

Obviously you need to know the numbers well enough to pick the correct styles.


hope that helps some.
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Offline alikocho

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2011, 07:26:38 AM »
You do not NEED the numbers to answer the style questions, though they do help.
What is essential is to answer the question completely.
All style questions MUST describe the style, this includes
Aroma
Appearance
Flavor
Mouthfeel
Two of the possible questions are (paraphrased) Pick & describe (see the study guide for the wording) 3 different top fermenting styles that have a min OG of over 1.070/ 3 different top fermenting styles that have a Max OG of under 1.040.

Obviously you need to know the numbers well enough to pick the correct styles.


hope that helps some.


Thanks for the response. I know the numbers well enough, but wondered if I actually needed them or not.
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Offline tumarkin

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2011, 07:40:44 AM »
especially if you know the number, put them in. it can make a difference in your score - particularly if you're aiming at National or above. another issue is time management. as Fred said, it's crucial to answer the questions completely. that can require a lot of writing. including a chart in your answer with the statistics is a good way to show you know the details but can be quicker than writing that all out. a good friend gave masters level answers on the questions he completed, but didn't complete the exam because he ran out of time. still got a good score, but missed National by a point or two.
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Offline phillamb168

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2011, 07:42:02 AM »
I'm due to take my BJCP exam in just over a week's time, and I have a query about what is required in a full answer. The Study guide does not suggest that it is necessary to give vital statistics for styles, but I looked at Gordon Strong's presentation from a few years back that suggested that you do.  Which is it?

Do they do the exams in London or elsewhere? I've been interested in trying to do this.
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Offline alikocho

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2011, 08:00:27 AM »
I'm due to take my BJCP exam in just over a week's time, and I have a query about what is required in a full answer. The Study guide does not suggest that it is necessary to give vital statistics for styles, but I looked at Gordon Strong's presentation from a few years back that suggested that you do.  Which is it?

Do they do the exams in London or elsewhere? I've been interested in trying to do this.

The exam is going to be in London - it's the first BJCP exam in Europe. I expect there will be more, not least as if it only happens once, there won't be that many judges knocking around.

In answer to another post above, while achieving 80 would be great, at this stage I'd be happy just to pass the exam (which I hope I can do)
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2011, 08:14:23 AM »
Be sure you've practiced writing judging descriptions.  I made a certfied score on the questions, but ended up with "recognized" because of the weak judging.  Cover all your bases, and throw in plenty of specific descriptors.  My excuse is that I'd never entered, attended or judged a contest before.  I'm focusing now on getting some actual experience.  Though for me I kind of took the exam to see how much I actually knew about brewing.  It knocked me down a notch or two but you are in a better place to proceed when you know what you don't know.
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Offline johnf

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2011, 08:28:06 AM »
I got a 93 written without writing down the vital statistics on any of the style answers. If you know them I would write them down but I would say it's not a great place to spend a large amount of study time.

Offline richardt

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2011, 08:33:11 AM »
Spouting Stats and making tables helps if you can recall the data.  They are quick ways to get the info across.

The most important thing is Time Management.  Nearly everyone runs out of time before they can write down all their answers.

If you want to do well, I suggest you practice limiting your written answers to no more than 125 words max.

Do not write 300 word or 400 word answers to questions.  You will run out of time.

There is no way to write down everything you know.

I can't wait until the format changes to a multiple choice format--it would test more of your knowledge areas and be easier to grade. 
Sensory training is important--think about how you would comment on each style characteristics from a sensory standpoint.

Offline alikocho

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2011, 08:40:37 AM »
Thanks for all the advice!

I can probably not recall vast amounts of data on spec, but I am happy that I can get descriptors down. Part of this is understanding how my own mind works (I'm a History Professor, so descriptive works better for me).
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Offline denny

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2011, 08:55:44 AM »

Thanks for the response. I know the numbers well enough, but wondered if I actually needed them or not.

It's up to you.  The more info you provide, the better you'll do.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2011, 03:13:33 PM »
The most important thing is Time Management.  Nearly everyone runs out of time before they can write down all their answers.

If you want to do well, I suggest you practice limiting your written answers to no more than 125 words max.

Do not write 300 word or 400 word answers to questions.  You will run out of time.

^------ This!  ----^

Quote from: tom sawyer
I made a certfied score on the questions, but ended up with "recognized" because of the weak judging.  Cover all your bases, and throw in plenty of specific descriptors.  My excuse is that I'd never entered, attended or judged a contest before.  I'm focusing now on getting some actual experience.

Ditto.  I need to take just the tasting portion again to hit "certified" status.  I have the experience points, just need the higher tasting grade now.  I wish I'd had more experience filling out the judging form!
Dave

"This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our Maker, and glory to His bounty, by learning about... BEER!" - Friar Tuck (Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves)

Offline johnf

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2011, 03:50:48 PM »
I am wrapping up grading my first set and, yes, time management is where most people go wrong (also not answering exactly what was asked).

My time management tip is to think of the exam in terms of points per minute. Out of 100 aggregate points each essay question is worth 7 (10 each but essay is weighted 70%) and each scoresheet 7.5. You have 180 minutes on the exam or 1.8 minutes per question. My suggestion then is to spend 12.6 minutes on each essay question and 13.5 minutes on each scoresheet. To simplify things you can just say 13 minutes per. You'll note that 13 per actually takes you to 182 minutes but you should be able to answer the first essay question very quickly making up those 2 minutes and leaving yourself a few minutes to double check at the end.

The temptation is to write forever if you get to a question you know a lot about, but there are no extra credit points and you will have a hard time scoring well if you have to skip a question or not write very much on it.

Wear a watch and when you start a question or score sheet write down the time 13 minutes in the future and stop writing and move on when you get to that time. Also within questions think about how you are spending your time. If you get the gypsum, finings, krausening question you will do much better with a brief few points on each than if you write a brilliant game changing essay on finings and ignore the other two parts. In this case I would recommend outline form and making all of the major points first leaving plenty of space between them and then go back and fill in the details. Paper is cheap and I would actually use a fresh sheet for each part of the question.

Practice questions under exam circumstances (maybe answer 5 questions in one hour) can help you with the mechanics of time management as well as getting a feel for what the pressure feels like and how fast you can write.

I know people will disagree with me on this but writing with a pen is much faster and much less fatiguing than pencil. I used a pen for the essay questions and a pencil for the scoresheets. If you write with a pen and make an error, just make a single clear strike-through and move on. Again, paper is cheap. Pen is also clearer to read when photocopied. For the pencil get heavier lead than normal so you can write a nice dark line even if this isn't your normal preference in pencils.

Offline tom

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2011, 04:17:45 PM »
And charts are perfectly acceptable rather than all prose.
Brew on

Offline bfogt

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Re: BJCP exam - vital statistics needed?
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2011, 07:28:39 AM »
I was reading about a performance anxiety workshop at Julliard.  I know it sounds like it wouldn't apply here, but it just might help.  They teach that if you are going to feel nervous about something, practice is good, but practice under stress is better.  The only way to simulate the pressure you'd feel in the exam is to do something strenuous right before practice.  The example in the class was sending a pianist out to run up and down two flights of stairs twice and then return to the hall to play a piece. 

I'd also suggest having practice beers while practicing the written part.  Drinking under stress can have different effects than you would normally experience.  Maybe the graders have noticed some written slurring as they reach the last fifteen minutes of an exam.  Certainly on mine.