I looked at the BJCP exam schedule and found out the closest exams to me where held a few miles north in Frederick, MD. In April of 2012 (10 months out), I contacted the exam organizers to get into the exam in February of 2013...it was already full and I was placed into the 12th spot on the waitlist - Wow! I knew you had to sign up early, but didn't realize it needed to be that early. I was then informed another exam would be administered in September of 2013 - I signed up.
Fast-forward to this spring and the organizers contacted everyone and let them know of a tasting course they teach to prepare people for the exam. The class was 12 weeks long, meeting for 2 hours once a week. We went through all of the BJCP style guidelines trying a dozen or so beers at each meeting. The teachers also graded sample scoresheets for us and halfway through the course we took a practice test. We had a few "flaw" sessions which were critical as I came to learn that some of the descriptors for a certain off-flavor were not the tastes I would natural associate. For example, DMS to me tastes like regular V8 tomato juice.
|Entrance Exam Completion Certificate|
As you can see above, I passed the new online entrance exam - required before you can take the tasting test. I took the tasting exam the last Sunday in September and was pleased with how I think I did. After the exams were handed in, the proctor told us the judges consensus scores and what beers we had. I was only 5 points off the judges consensus scores at worst, and one of my beers was within a point and a half! Being the nerd that I am, I looked up the scoring guidelines and it looks like my scoring should average around 16.8 points in the scoring accuracy part. 16-17 points on scoring accuracy is required for a "National" ranking. I figured this will put me fairly close to the score of 80 which is what I am striving for as this score will make me eligible to take the written exam (after accruing the necessary judging points) and to try to become "Nationally" ranked.
Now I just have to wait for the exams to be graded. This will take a couple of months as it is all volunteer based and a very time intensive process. In the meantime, I can get back to brewing!