Tuesday, 8 May 2012

WSET Diploma: Day Six

Hot on the heels of Day Five, the sixth day of the WSET Diploma was not one that any of the students had been too excited about, since it began with the Unit 2 examination.
It's a long time since I've sat an exam, and it was a strange but familiar sensation to sit in the room prior to the exam as people frantically read through their notes one last time. The exam focusses on viticulture and vinification, subjects which were covered extensively in Day Two and Three.
Having survived the exam (actually I did quite well, thanks for asking), I would like to offer the following revision advice:

  • There is more material to cover than you think. Double the length / number of your intended revision sessions, and start sooner than you were going to!
  • Stick to the handbook: literally everything you need to know is in there, and often in the precise wording which is used in the exams. Whilst reading around the subject may well help with comprehension, for the exam the handbook is your friend
  • Check and double check: the downside of my previous point is that, sadly, there are a number of errors in the handbook. I would suggest making a note of any errors and contradictions and asking for clarification from your tutor well in advance of the exam
  • The devil is in the detail: learn, and learn well the characteristics of different rootstocks, pest and diseases, pruning methods, yeasts, vinification methods, filtration and clarification. The handbook does this very well - there is nothing in there that doesn't need to be, and it seemed to be to be put together in proportions which reflect the exam
  • Don't be scared. But do be prepared!
After all this it may seem rather mean to tell you that a full afternoon of lectures followed, but I'm afraid that is exactly what happened. Fortunately, they were very interesting. We had the pleasure of Michael Paul presenting the subject of Marketing of Alcoholic Drinks. Michael has a wealth of experience in the area and was able to bring the subject to life with a great many anecdotes.
For day six you do not need to take any glassware. You do, however, need to take photographic identification (passport / drivers license) or you will not be allowed to sit the exam. They aren't even joking - one chap actually had to go home and get his. Fortunately for him he lived very close by, for anyone else it would have been a total waste of hours and hours of effort.
Days Seven & Eight coming next...

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