Today, I took my second Certified Cicerone® practice test, in anticipation of taking the real thing in November. I scored 74%. Not a stellar score and it still puts me on the outside looking in (I likely would not pass the real thing), but it is an improvement over my first practice effort from March, where I scored a 62%. For this practice run, I didn’t do any extra studying. I just took it cold. I find that helps me really understand where I am at in my pursuit of Cicerone certification and what I can improve upon.
I’m using The Beer Scholar’s practice tests, which give sample “fill-in-the-blank” tests and a few sample essays. It took me just over one hour to answer all questions on the written portion of the practice test, excepting the essays. I have no metric to compare that to, but I feel it puts me at a good clip. On the actual test day, I should have plenty of time to answer.
Reviewing the exam, I find that I missed questions from all parts of the knowledge base: serving, styles, ingredients, brewing. Since my first practice test (and passing the Certified Beer Server exam last month) I feel I mastered some of the required topics and have stopped studying them. Not a good strategy. There were a few questions where I felt I should know the answer, but just didn’t.
The way the questions are worded regarding beer styles is just really difficult. There are some 40-ish styles you need to know for the exam and the practice tests ask questions about half of them. I found myself doing mental gymnastics trying to solve the questions via process of elimination. Did I already use that answer? Would they ask about a style twice? Augh!
At least 74% is a step in the right direction. I did feel I was familiar with almost all the questions (I had no idea there were different kinds of mash…) but I know I can do better. Clock is ticking, less than three months to go. I will register for the exam next week (Cicerone just announced the exam location here in AZ: Mesa, at Crown Crescent Distributing on Friday the 16th of November).