Good Afternoon everyone! I passed my intro a few months ago, and I'm finally in a good position to begin studying for my certified. It's my understanding that that I will need to create a study plan. I think I have read everything I can find on guild somm related to making a study plan, but if there are any recommended podcasts/pervious post/articles that I might not be aware of I would love to listen/read them.
Starting with France, I was planning on using Sotheby's Wine Encyclopedia, and supplementing with guild somm, Wine atlas, and other books to create an outline with every region, AOC, varietals, Geography, Wine laws,..ect, not sure if this is going to be a good approach as it seems like a lot of information to cover, but I need to condense it somehow.
As far as thing I think I 100% need to know: Champagne prestige cuvee, 1855 classifications(1st growth, 2nd growths, and prominent 3rd growths), Burgundy grand crus/premier crus, Single vineyard AOC, Well known producers from each region, and I'm sure there is much more. (Recommendations here would be lovely)
I can dedicate a minimum of 20 hour a week to study, and I have no deadline. I will probably sign up for the test when I feel confident I will pass, and then dedicate the last months to review. I currently work in upscale/fine dinning, and we're going to get a tasting group started soon. I'm really trying to focus on theory at the moment. I will probably start practicing CMS service in the next few months, but I have no solid plans concerning that at the moment.
Any advice, tips, tricks, concerns, recommendations, and grammar corrections would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for reading.
I'd recommend knowing the most important of all the things you mentioned above, not all of it. I feel that a lot of people go down a lot of rabbit holes preparing for their exams. Go an inch deep and miles wide. Knowing the wards of Cape Town isn't going to do you much good when you can't remember the Grand Crus of Gevrey Chambertin. Information that is presented to you in books like the Wine Atlas, Wine Bible and study guides on guild somm is info worth remembering. Good understanding of cocktails, beer and spirits is easy to learn and will come up during your service exam.
Take the deductive tasting workshop! https://www.mastersommeliers.org/courses/list This is absolutely the best thing you can do in preparation for the tasting portion of the exam and it is well worth the cost – also find an advanced-focused tasting group to join, there's nothing more helpful than studying with people who know more than you! There's so much information on this website, just be sure you get the full membership if you haven't done so already. Feel free to send me an email (email is in my profile) and I'd be happy to share the timeline I used, some study guides, maps, study tips, etc.
Just like Erik said, make sure you know your classic cocktails, beers, and spirits for service. Be sure you know vintages for service (if you recommend a wine you need to have a vintage in mind for it), don't worry so much about anything before 2000 for certified.
Know your soils (think main soil types of Champagne, goldridge soil, terra rossa, not so much memorizing all the soils found in the Napa Valley), rivers, currents, winds, mountains, vine diseases, etc.
Yeah, I do find it amazing some of the sacrifices people think were necessary to study for the level two exam judging by what gets posted on these forums.Sure, we're all different and learn at different paces, but studying for years, taking months off of work, reading eight books at once, laminated maps in the shower. It can really psyche you out until one of the Masters at my Intro examination said level 2 should really only take three months of studying if you were over-prepared for Level 1. It certainly is an achievement, but I don't understand why people try to make it sound harder than it is.
Is there a possibility I could have that timeline and study resources? I'm in a bit of a doldrum when it comes to studying at the moment. Any advice, help or nudge in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.
Im really trying to avoid any rabbit holes, but sometimes i just find myself getting really interested in a certain topic, and it can be hard to move on.
I think you have the right idea here. It's okay to go down rabbit holes, just don't stay there for too long. For what its worth, I'm obsessed with the Rhone Valley and to say that I went down a rabbit hole would be an understatement -- but I was totally asked for CDP producer and vintage recommendations during service and I nailed it! So sometimes those rabbit holes can be beneficial.
I passed the certified last month and what I can tell you is that this test is hard. I was given a lot of advice and help from somms that passed it years ago, and based on their advice and what I experienced live...the Court has made huge updates to this exam. Our test in Houston was about a 50% pass rate and they said that the tasting portion knocked most people out. So know your classic grape profiles very well. During tasting it feels like the time goes by super quick. It's pretty shocking. For theory there are really no magic bullets here. You either know it or you don't. Just try to absorb as much information as you possibly can while you study (which is why I think rabbit-holes are good sometimes -- you retain what you're interested in a lot better). And for service -- PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE and just know that you will be thrown curve balls even when you think you are in a good place. Just stay poised and don't lie if you don't know the answer to a question.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Hi Alexandra! Feel free to send me an email and I'd be happy to help you get started with a solid study plan.
I'm going to be taking certified in April and was going to shoot you a message but it looks like your profile isn't set to accept them from non-friends.
Hello Miranda. I'm kinda in the same boat in trying to find a good study plan for the certified exam. May I email you as well?
Hey Daniel it should be good to go now. Or feel free to shoot me an email.
Thanks for the advice!