Regarding the Advanced Knowledge Assessment

I am in a moral dilemma, and I wanted to get feedback from this community.

My fiancee and I both just took the Advanced Sommelier Exam last week in Portland for the first time and did not pass. We knew going into it that passing would be difficult, but we both are very excited to try again in the future, now that we know what it's like.

That said, we are not planning to try to sit again until 2021, due to wedding planning all next year. My dilemma is that now that the CMS changed how to apply and who gets into the Advanced Exam, would it be wrong of me to sign up to take the Knowledge Assessment to gauge where I am in my studies, knowing full well I am NOT going to take the exam next year and that if I were offered a spot, I would decline it?

I'd like to get some thoughts on this matter. Thank you. 

  • Don’t decline a spot offered, as that May weigh into a decision to let you into a tight spot in the future...

  • That’s always been conventional wisdom, but the new rules appear to be black and white. Everyone is weighted on their performance on the assessment as the only qualifier. If that’s not true, then there is still a veiled back channel that we’re not privy to. As with all of these similar posts, an email to the CMS will get you actual answers vs speculation here. 

    I see no moral issue with this at all, since the people you score higher than you move up when you decline. It seems to me to be wasteful since it will cost you $100 and you literally just got to gauge where your studies are versus the actual exam- which is far more telling than the assessment.  

  • Hi Cory,

    I don't see a moral dilemma, since if you decline a spot it will go to someone else. I agree with Jeremy that having taken the exam itself is a far better measure of your preparedness than anything else. 

    Also, if you were offered a spot, you may change your mind and choose to go for it. Everyone has to make the decision for themselves whether they are able to put in the work & sacrifice necessary to pass the Advanced exam, but there's a chance you could find a way to balance studies with wedding planning. This year I got married in the midst of the MS exam (after Theory & before Tasting & Practical). While I wouldn't suggest that's what everyone should do, I realized that life isn't going to slow down and I only get one shot a year at this test.

    Good luck on whichever path you choose to take & congratulations on the engagement!

  • If you really want to gauge where you are in your studies it would be best to ask for feedback From your test from  You can email him and set up a phone appointment and he will go over all the parts of your test with you. It help me tremendously after my first failed attempt. 

  • Seems strange to use the assessment to gauge your studies, isn't that what the advanced theory in Portland was for? Meaning you should have a clearer understanding where you sit with all 3 phases after just taking the exam. IMO there is nothing wrong with taking the assessment and not accepting a seat if it were offered to you though.