I Passed the Certified Cicerone® Exam

On Christmas Day 2018, I learned I passed the Certified Cicerone® exam. It turned a good Christmas into a great one.

I took my first attempt at the Certified Cicerone® exam in November. As noted elsewhere on this blog, I came away from the experience less than enthused. I hear upwards of 70% of first timers do not pass. I was certain I was destined to take it again. While I waited for my scores to arrive, I had taken to looking for test locations in summer 2019.

The Cicerone organization informed me that it could take up to 8 weeks to get the tests graded and scores posted. They were going to inform test-takers of the results via e-mail. I have been checking (and rechecking) messages fervently for the last two weeks or so. No results. So, I continued to wait.

But, on Christmas Day, I happened to log into the Cicerone website and discovered I had passed with a minimal score of 80%. I think I cried.

So certain was I that I did not pass, I had determined to buy more study materials. That is what drove me to the Cicerone site Christmas day…I was looking for more study guides. When I logged into my account, I saw a badge listed on my profile proclaiming “Status: Certified Cicerone®” with my score of 80% listed in green and the words “Passed.”

Looking at the data posted to the site, I could tell it was a really close call. Based on the numbers Cicerone provided, I scored 80% on the written exam and 78% on the tasting exam. I was surprised by the tasting score because I felt I did better than that, but the 80% on the written exam seemed like a miracle. I can only figure that the answers I was felt shaky on ended up being correct. In any event, I’ll take it.

The section I did best on? Keeping and Serving Beer (the bartender stuff). I got 91% correct.

The section I did worst on? Beer Styles = 72% correct. This followed the pattern of my sample tests. I always scored the lowest on those portions, much to my chagrin. I really want to master that area of the syllabus/knowledge base. It’s the largest amount of material to learn and I gather the most challenging. I better get drinking.

So, now what?

I’ve dedicated nearly every free second in the last year to studying beer. I went from a total novice to Certified Cicerone in 11 months. I mean, I don’t work in the beer industry; never have. I could tell that others taking the test with me were brewers. At least one was a distributor. [I could tell by the polo shirts] They live this stuff. Me? I just like beer. And writing about beer. [Thus, this website.]

So, again…now what?

More study!

Since I did poorly at the beer styles section, my next goal is to master different national styles. I have acquired Cicerone’s Road to Cicerone study guides for German and British beers. I’ll take the next 11 months getting certified in those styles.

Note to potential test takers: Having looked at the Road to Cicerone books, I can offer this: At the end of each book, there is a page of sample Certified Cicerone® exam test questions. They are not actual test questions, BUT…from my experience, these are very helpful in preparing you for what might be on the exam. I would purchase and review these Road to Cicerone books prior to taking the exam, not doing it the other way, as I did. Might save you some heartache!