Hello. I'm currently studying for WSET Diploma and have thus far finished Units 2, 5, and 6 all via self study. I'm contemplating the in person courses for Unit 3 (Light wines) which range over 4 weekends in a city I need to fly to (flight, hotel, transportation, etc.). I wanted to see if anyone had perspective on how helpful the in person classes are vs following the syllabus and studying by oneself. And which parts of the in person are most helpful; theory, tasting, etc. Thanks!
Congratulations on your progress. I have only taken the online course for Unit 3 so I am unable to speak to classroom time. I would assume that it depends on the quality of instruction at your chosen school. I took Units 1 & 2 as a 2 day class and the speaker for viti/vini was incredible but the presenter for unit 1 didn't come prepared and was 20 years out of date on current issues. If you can ask your WSET provider for some former students as references, you may have a better idea if it is worth the extra time and money. The other consideration is where you are in terms of tasting. If you have a tasting group that will help prepare you for the exam, that makes the online much more feasible. If you don't have a committed WSET format tasting group, the in class tastings may be worth the travel. Feel free to DM me if you would like to chat.
If you have the option with your APP to combine the online and in-person class that would be ideal, otherwise I personally recommend to take the Unit 3 in-person. I studied Unit 3 at the Napa Valley Wine Academy, we had 2 x 4 days intensive workshops with Gus Zhu, MW candidate (he successfully obtained the Master of Science degree in Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis and passed both the theory and tasting portion of the MW exam on the first attempt in 2018). It is super helpful to do the tasting with other students and with an expert, who can help you to finalize your tasting skills. In addition to the workshop, the Napa Valley Wine Academy offered Mock Exams (Tasting and Theory) prior to the exam. Even if you have a tasting group you meet regularly, it is helpful to taste with an expert to make sure you are on track with your tasting notes.