My Final Cicerone Practice Test

Part of my motivation for starting this website and blog was to provide a resource for me as I prepare for the Certified Cicerone┬« exam. In addition to (hopefully) being a resource for great beer in Arizona, this site provides me an outlet as I study for the exam and learn about beer. As an educator, I know the best way to learn new information is to transform it–turn the info into something new. Thus, this site and blog affords me the chance to take what I learn and transform the information–to turn it into blog entries, brewery reviews, and so on.

Last year, when I first got the crazy idea I wanted to be a Cicerone, I knew very little about beer. I had heard about the Cicerone organization and was familiar with a few styles, but I could barely tell a Pilsner from a Belgian. I had attended a few beer festivals over the years but my beer knowledge wouldn’t earn me even a D+ on the most basic of beer exam. I’ve never been a home brewer either. But if I was seriously going to do this, I needed to study right. I came across The Beer Scholar, purchased a study guide and dove in. I started AzBeerTraveler and started writing. Over the last year, I’ve taken four practice tests. On my first practice exam in March, I scored 64%. By August, that had climbed to 74%. Now, on the eve of the actual exam, I upped my score to 91%. As I took this most recent practice exam, it was the first time I felt really comfortable and in command of the material.

As I reflect upon the past year, I realize it has taken me more than just practice tests and beer sampling to get me to this point. Here’s a short list of all the study strategies and techniques I have employed in the past year to prepare me for the exam:

Books I’ve read:

  • Tasting Beer, Randy Mosher
  • Brewmaster’s Table, Garrett Oliver
  • Ambitious Brew, Maureen Ogle
  • Beer Companion, Michael Jackson
  • Certified Cicerone Study Guide, Chris Cohen

Practice Tests:

Media files created:

  • Four Infographics (Brewing Beer, Beer and Technology, Off-flavors, All About Hops)
  • Five PowerPoint Tutorials (Malt Profiles, Brewing, Beer and Food Pairings, Ingredient Profiles, Off-flavors)
  • AzBeerTraveler created (!)

Other Things:

  • Joined Untappd
  • Attended an Off-Flavor Tasting
  • Attended a Cicerone Beer Savvy Boot Camp
  • Flash Cards from The Beer Scholar
  • Hosted two beer dinners (special thanks to my wife for putting up with them!)
  • Attended two beer festivals
  • Bought a beer faucet
  • Made great friends at Growler USA, High Street

So, this Friday I take the exam for real. I won’t know the score until around Christmas. Hopefully, Cicerone will give me a great present this year!