I completed my CMS Introductory level, but am now thinking of going along the WSET path, as I think it will better suit my overall objectives based on the research I have done between the two.
My question is - would it be best to go into Level 2 first, or does the knowledge I have from the CMS Introductory level sufficiently prepare me to start directly in Level 3? Looking for your advise. Thanks in advance !!
To be blunt, and having taken level 3, I think you would be better served by asking a different question.
First, remember how low the bar is set to pass the first few classes at WSET and the Court. What counts as a passing grade in either track is a failing grade in any academic setting, even in the 1st grade. Which is another way of saying that the profitability of offering these classes might be as important as certifying genuine compentency. What was your grade in level 1? If it was lower than a 70%, then any respectable academic setting would not allow you to pass to level 2, much less 3. How prepared you are to move straight into 3 is radically dependent on your grade in level one. And given how easy the content is in level 1 and 2, a grade on these tests speaks speaks more to motivation than the difficulty of the knowledge content of these classes. If you passed level 1 with at least a B+ (at least 87%), then you are probably sufficiently motivated to pass level 3, without taking level 2.
Second, what are your goals? Are you interested in moving to level 4? If so, then the point is to acquire a solid foundation rather than merely getting through level 2 and 3. These classes are split between book and tasting knowledge. I seriously doubt the actual book knowledge in either level 1 or 2 little more than basic. For me, it was the tasting knowledge taught in level 2 that made a fairly boring class worthwhile. So it might be far more important to ask if you want to missing acquiring the tasting skills in level 2 rather than the book knowledge. It clearly can be done, but what do your goals tell you about the option of skipping level 2?
Third, I think there are reasons to claim that the first 2 classes at WSET are geared to the general public and the 3rd class is more geared to somebody in the industry. This means that the first two classes are geared to making money from the general public. And the third class is the first class for anybody seriously interested in wine. So presuming that level 3 is the first class for people seriously interested in wine, then there is an argument for level 3 functioning as the first class to take. Yet it is also important to say that level 2 might teach very important tasting skills that are needed for level 3. With this in mind, how prepared you are for level 3 depends on your tasting skills, more than the book knowledge?
In summary, I think the question of were somebody should start varies with each person. I chose to start at level 2, before I took level 3. And with my hoice, I think level 2 was important for the tasting knowledge but offered little help with book knowledge. In regards to you, I think your question of can somebody move from 1 to 3 is not the best question to ask. It might be better to ask: given my grade in level 1, and my current tasting knowledge skills with my long term goals, should I skip 2 and move directly to level 3?
Thank you very much, Lance. I appreciate your candour and you have highlighted many important questions that I have indeed been asking myself as I researched this topic. Until only a few days ago my main question was on moving to WSET level 2 from CMS. I didn't even realize initially that going straight to level 3 was even an option. Just another set of criteria to consider when evaluating and making my decision.
Again, thank you for providing your point of view, it is greatly appreciated.
I’ve done levels 2 and 3 and a Lance says the jump up is enormous. His assertion that levels 1-2 are for the public are pretty spot on. I think level 2 would also be a good basic option for wait staff. Level 3 really ramps up the knowledge requirement. I studied quite a few hours each week and didn’t taste as much as I should have done. My opinion differs fromLance in that I think you should jump straight to level 3 if you have a decent level of experience and if you haven’t gotten all of your wine knowledge from the CMS. But be prepared to really gear in for the level 3. Do not take it lightly.