Certified exam...what should I be studying?

All, firstly let me apologize for asking a question that I am sure has been asked millions of times before...however, I can't seem to find a direct answer. With he Intro exam, you get a book...and the exam questions all come from the workbook. However, for the certified exam...what should I be studying? Are there specific books the exam is based on? Are we expected to know everything from everywhere? Any direction would be greatly appreciated!

  • I've been using the study guides here. I go through each one, make my own detailed notes, print that out and make flashcards based on those notes. Here's what the court recommends for study material: https://www.mastersommeliers.org/sites/default/files/Certified%20Recommended%20Study%20Resources-May2016.pdf

    I also made my own wine list to study for the service part of the exam, most of it is from the restaurant where I work, but I added a few other producers. I've been told going deep into Bordeaux is not a bad idea so I've been doing that. Try to put together a study timeline and stick to it. Definitely bring your notecards with you everywhere so you can go through at least a few of them when you have a minute. Good luck! If I can think of any other suggestions after I take my exam I'll let you know!

  • I most heavily referenced the Guildsomm study guides for the majority of my studying. I started off by reading through a couple of times and making notecards... make sure you are referencing maps to help contextualize what you are reading. There will be a lot of information in the study guides that is on a more advanced level than certified, so I would not focus too long on really specific info (especially on less prominent growing regions), but reading through it will help on the chance that you do get a tough question on the exam. Focus on your most notable growing regions, and know your key producers. 

    As far as service goes, study classic cocktails & be able to recommend 1-2 cocktails for each base spirit. Know their basic flavor profile, the main ingredients, etc. Have some wines in mind (vintage, producer, and region) to recommend as pairings, and be able to explain why they are a good pairing. Don’t forget about beer & sake. 

    Looking back, I studied a little bit too in depth for Certified, but that is not a bad thing and in the actual exam I felt really confident. I tried to put at least an hour in daily for about 5 months. Good luck! 

  • I follow someone on IG, Joanie Metivier. She has a book called How to Pass Your Sommelier Exam. What I like about it, is that its just the facts. It is mostly bullet points of important areas, grapes, topography and people. You don't have to sift through the info and think "Is this Cert level info or Advanced level info?" There are 3 practice tests and some maps you can fill out too. She also has a wine region coloring book which is fun, too. The Wine Bible is helpful but in some instances it doesn't have all the information necessary, and in other instances it has plenty of personal opinion in it. I also use the study guides and flashcards. Good luck.