Certified Exam Best Resources?

Hi all!! I'm beginning to study for the certified exam and am feeling a bit overwhelmed anyone out there find any books that was most helpful?

  • Hi Martha,

    Think of your study for the Certified as an extension of the foundation you built during the Introductory Course. Work with the study guides on this site in whatever way works best for you: notes, flash cards, drawing maps, etc. Take breaks periodically to make sure you are able to digest the information. 

    In my opinion, the most helpful resource after GuildSomm is the new edition of the World Atlas of Wine. The Oxford Companion to Wine is a great reference to use as well. 

    Be inquisitive. Don't just try to memorize information, engage with the material and find our the 'whys' and 'hows' that make each wine style & region unique. 

    Good luck!

  • Second Mr Renshaw that the study guides on this site are the best resource to use to create a knowledge base.

    If the guides seem to go more in depth than is easy for you to follow, I would use the Wine Bible as a primer first.

    World Atlas of Wine is great for Certifed-level if you use it right. It's HIGHLY recommended that while you're studying a particular region, have that region's map open so that you can put the information in a spatial context. The essays from the Atlas that accompany each map are great for an overview, but the Guildsomm study guides are MUCH better for making a flashcard bank.

    Also, make sure to mix in some producer studying. The producer profile pages on this site are great to give you a foundational knowledge of top producers in major regions. You should have decent command of top producers in at least: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Piedmont, and Tuscany.

    Happy hunting.

  • Guilsomm study guides, the Compendium (Especially for blind tasting), and something that really helped me was finding a wine region coloring book. Many I struggled to memorize sub-AOCs because I didn't have a concept of where they were spatially; however, with the coloring book It make it much easier. Also, look out for acronyms that people have created i.e. Some Japanese Canadians Marry French Canadians Making Really Beautiful Children (Beaujolais Crus North to South)

  • I just passed my Certified a few days back. Though I did in Greece and not in US however I think they (US and UK) are almost on the same page. 
    if you think that’s ok then I shall share my experience too and what I used to study for my Certified. 

  • For me the study guide I received as part of the introductory course had the majority of information I needed.  I also used the Windows on the World book for producer specifics.  The quizzes on here are great for testing knowledge.

  • Where did you find that coloring book? Link?

  • I took a different approach- I studied for the Certified like I was going for the Advanced.  I wanted to know more than anyone else at the Certified. I read the entire recommended reading list for the Advanced Exam when they used to have it posted on the CMS website- I knew every Ward in South Africa, etc..  You don't have to take the Certified the day after your Intro!   Remember, it's a journey, not a race.  

    Also, figure out how you can gain extra study time in your every day.  I gave up watching TV.  I came home and studied every night, rather than going on Facebook, etc.  If you're in line at the bank, what can you study?  I have a glass shower door- I taped maps and the 1855 Classification of Bordeaux to them, etc.  Think about every stupid moment you have- I'm a girl and I take about 15 minutes every day in the shower- that 15 minutes adds up to 90+ hours of study time.  My travel time to and from work was 45 minutes each way- I planned what I was going to memorize or go over when I was driving.  When I was counting down the bar drawers each night, I watched the Bobby Stuckey videos for Champagne service and decanting every night. 

    It all adds up and will make you pass the Certified like a rock star.

  • I took the same approach. I find its better to set your own personal bar much higher than you expect the courts expectations to be. Although I fell short of my own personal goals and expectations (by a long shot) I still had done enough to pass Certified and Advanced. Learning HOW to study (not just read !) is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome. 

  • I took the time to outline the Guildsomm study guides, and the complement that by reading the same chapters in the Wine Bible. The themes consistent between the two highlighted what was most important to know.

    I found the podcasts immensely helpful for blind tasting. I've listened to them all at least 4-5x over and seeing the deduction process explored inside and out really helped me become a more methodical taster. Bring those lessons to your blind tasting sessions and you'll be much better off for it.

  • Reread this and realized I forgot: add Napa to that list of regions where you should have strong producer knowledge.