How to pass Introductory Exam and randoms...

I passed the Intro exam yesterday at CIA, and thought I'd offer some guidance to anyone preparing.  Experiences differ, so use proper judgment if you continue reading...


  • Yes, the test is difficult
  • Yes, people failed
  • Yes, I studied my ass off
    • ~60 days, 2 hours most weekdays, 6 hours weekends
    • Depending on your experience, you could easily spend more time


Every page of the Intro book is covered in class.  It's intense but done with premier professionalism by seasoned Sommeliers.  First class.  Terrific experience. 

I read somewhere to expect hints to test answers during class - this is partially true.  100% of my test was from the Intro book and the Somms covered every page of the book so...yes, they do highlight certain facts but honestly they say so much I would not rely on them telling you exam answers to pass - see bullet two above.


  • 70 questions, multiple choice, 45 minutes
  • Paper - don't forget a pencil

Generally, questions were from the entire book - easy right.  You need to know almost every element because it might show up on your test - yes, even questions from beer, sake, and service/hospitality.  You don't have to serve, but questions are fair game.

Let me sum it up...memorize the entire - However, start with the key terms, countries, regions, sub regions, vineyards/appellations, and the grapes for all.  After you have that down, proceed to the rest because there'll be questions on all that too.  You have to really know this stuff if you want to pass.

Feel free to ask questions.