Late last week, I received my Advanced Cicerone exam results.
As I predicted, I did not pass. I missed it by a total of 9 points.
A few weeks ago, someone asked me how I did and I said I thought I did well on the exam, but not enough to pass. He chastised me for "being negative." I've found that people often confuse pessimism and negativity with being realistic and honest. I get it - it's uncomfortable to take a good hard look at life sometimes and honestly assess where you are, but it's so much more worthwhile in the end.
The same week I took the exam, the Cicerone program announced an Advanced Cicerone exam in November in Charlotte, which is where I live. I was already thinking that I likely did not pass, so I signed up for and received a seat for the November exam. I'm not going to lie, after getting my results and thinking about retaking the exam in a few months, one of my initial reactions was a sinking feeling about having to go through all that studying and rigmarole AGAIN. Did I really want to go through all that?
Yes, yes I do, so I told myself that I would take a few days to not worry about the exam and then start the studying process all over again. This time, though, I know the areas I need to study the most and what areas I can review from time to time to keep them fresh in my mind. The two biggest areas on which I need to focus are memorizing the quantitative ranges for each beer style listed in the BJCP and improving my flavor descriptions.
Some high points of my results:
Apparently I am not too shabby at developing three different meat-based dishes and pairing each with beer. As someone who doesn't eat meat (and has never had the specific protein in the exam question), I was pretty happy with that feedback. The feedback also serves as further proof to me that a vegetarian can develop food and beer pairings: most of my dishes focused more on the preparation and other components of the dish supported by a basic understanding of the protein in question.
Ray Daniels said I did a good job on my tasting with him. Mic drop. Day made.
So I begin the process again. This time, however, I have the advantages of knowing what to expect on the exam day as well as what areas specifically need more of my attention. I'm concurrently working towards the BJCP written exam, which I may even be able to take toward the end of this year, so I have the additional benefit of being able to study for both at the same time.
Now for the Successories ending: "Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently."