Some of my more popular topics have been the revised BJCP exam. We don’t currently have people chomping at the bit for the written exam, but the taste exams have wait lists a mile long. Finding an open seat is a chore for some, but I still see people dropping like flies at the last-minute before a taste exam and I’m not sure why that is the case. It’s super simple to prepare for the judging exam. Drink beers and fill out score sheets as you sample them. If you find you are not filling up the white space, be more descriptive. Use words which appear in the style guidelines. In the Aroma, Appearance, Flavor and Mouthfeel sections do not speak about style, speak about what is perceived and what is not perceived. In the Overall Impression section then speak to style or what would improve the beer to better emulate the style as well as how to correct any perceived flaws. Focus on flaw correction first and foremost. If you aren’t awarding all 50 points, and you won’t, then the Overall Impression must have some indication why the points are missing. Just saying “Excellent beer” and giving it a 39 shows a lack of experience.
Over the next few months I hope to detail how to study properly for the BJCP Written Exam. It is similar to the legacy exam, but with some definite changes. I noted the changes in BJCP Exams, one more time. The written exam has 20 T/F questions and five essay questions in 90 minutes. The T/F questions do not count toward your score, but for every incorrect answer 0.5 points will be deducted. The essay consists of two style-related questions, one recipe question, and two technical questions related to ingredients or brewing process. I’ll begin to break down each of those topics as best I can in the coming months. If you are contemplating taking the written exam, stay tuned and I hope something I write will help you prepare for the exam.