Oops, I Did It Again

You know Einstein’s definition of insanity, right? “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Well call me crazy. I retook the Advanced Cicerone written and oral exam two days ago in Allen, TX with the expectation that I’ll pass. Like I said after my first attempt, it’s going to be close. Last time I got a 78, two points shy of passing overall. At least I (barely) passed the tasting exam on the first attempt. This time, I felt like I squeezed out those few extra points to put me over the line, but we’ll see what the graders think.

You can read about my previous experience last February here:

This time around was different but still arduous. I went in feeling under prepared because doing it once made me aware of the high bar set before me. After I had received the exam, I looked at the essay questions and felt I could handle them. I settled down one hour in and felt confident that I could give it my best shot. That might be enough this time.

Retaking the written/oral exam also removed the fear of the unknown. The day’s routine felt familiar to me, which helped to calm my nerves. For first-time exam takers, the 9 to 5:45 day can feel just shy of a death march. You will leave completely exhausted and brain-dead.

Fortunately, passing the tasting on the first attempt made the retake much easier.  I didn’t have to spend many hours of preparation on tasting and could concentrate on preparing for the written/oral sections. Also, it made the day a lot shorter. I got a refreshing two-hour break and went to In-N-Out Burger for lunch (Yes, they are in Texas now!). Then I went back to my hotel for a short power-nap. I started the afternoon session rested and calmed, not half-exhausted.

I gave it my best, fingers crossed. If I don’t pass, I’ll have to reconsider my study methods and make some substantial adjustments. I thought up some new preparation strategies for the exam that I wasn’t able to use because I didn’t have the time. Let’s hope it never comes to needing them. It’s going to be a long 6-8 weeks until I get my results. Maybe before then, I’ll hear if I passed the BJCP tasting exam!

Big thanks to the Cicerone crew for conducting another great exam, and without the convenience of being in your own offices. Also, thank you Andrews Distributing for hosting the test. Your facilities are great!


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