BJCP Examination Types
The BJCP currently offers three major types of judge examinations; the BJCP Mead Judge Examination, the BJCP Beer Judging Examination, and the BJCP Beer Judge Written Proficiency Examination. The rules for scheduling the different examination types are detailed below.
Plan on scheduling the exam at least six months in advance. Since there are limits on how many exam sites are allowed in any given month, you may need to scheduled even farther in advance. There are also limits on the number of participants at an examination site. Finally, a single registration must be for only one exam type - beer (tasting), beer (written), or mead.
It is also strongly recommended that the sponsor collect a non-refundable deposit to ensure that there are enough participants committed to take the exam.
Beer Judge Examinations
The BJCP Beer Judge Examination offered before April 1st, 2012 is referred to as the BJCP Legacy Beer Examination and consisted of a written portion and a tasting portion that were combined in a 70/30 ratio to determine an overall exam score.
The current BJCP Beer Examination consists of three parts:
- The BJCP Beer Judge Entrance Examination - a web-based examination.
- The BJCP Beer Judging Examination - a proctored tasting examination that requires judging six examination beers.
- The BJCP Beer Judge Written Proficiency Examination - a proctored written essay examination.
Mead Judge Examination
In general, at least five examinees are required to schedule a BJCP Mead Judge Examination. The BJCP Mead Judge Examination is only given as a combined essay and tasting examination. Participants must take both portions at the same examination time. Retakes of individual portions are not allowed.
Scheduling BJCP Beer Examinations
Scheduling the BJCP Beer Judge Entrance Examination
The BJCP Beer Judge Entrance Examination is a web-based examination that can be taken by participants at any time. It does not need to be scheduled with the BJCP. This exam may be accessed at http://bjcp.coursewebs.com/.
Scheduling a BJCP Beer Judging Examination
When you schedule a Beer Judging Examination, you are not scheduling a Beer Judge Written Proficiency Examination. Combined exams are not automatic; you must schedule each exam type with a separate request.
A minimum of six participants are required to schedule a BJCP Beer Judging Examination, and the date and administrator must be approved by the BJCP Exam Director. An exam can only be scheduled by submitting an Exam Data Approval Form (EDAF). The maximum number of participants for the BJCP Beer Judging Examination is twelve, with very limited exceptions made by the BJCP Exam Directors. In some cases, it may be possible to increase the maximum number to twenty as described below under Registration Limits.
All participants taking the BJCP Beer Judging Examination must have either passed the web-based BJCP Beer Judge Entrance Examination or scored higher than 60% on the written portion of the BJCP Legacy Beer Examination (given prior to April 1, 2012). These participants should bring their BJCP-ID, BJCP certificate, or e-mail confirmations of passing so that the exam administrator can verify their status. Any exam submitted to the BJCP for grading that was written by a participant that was not eligible to take the exam on the date it was written will not be graded and the exam fee will not be refunded.
Scheduling the BJCP Written Proficiency Examination
A minimum of six participants are required to schedule a BJCP Written Proficiency Examination; however, the majority of the Written Proficiency Exams in the United States will be regional exams administered annually. Check the BJCP Exam Calendar for scheduled exams. There will also be a Written Proficiency Exam administered in conjunction with the AHA National Homebrew Conference. Additional Written Proficiency Exams may be scheduled at other US and international locations by submitting an EDAF along with confirmation that there will be at least six qualified participants.
All participants taking the BJCP Beer Judge Written Proficiency Examination must have achieved a score of at least 80% on either the BJCP Beer Judging Examination or on the tasting portion of the BJCP Legacy Beer Examination and they must have amassed at least 10 BJCP judging points. If the exam administrator is uncertain about the credentials of the written exam candidate, he or she should request approval from the BJCP Exam Director. There will be no exceptions to these rules. Any exam submitted to the BJCP for grading that was written by a participant that was not eligible to take the exam on the date it was written will not be graded and the exam fee will not be refunded. At least six participants will generally be required to schedule a BJCP Beer Judge Written Proficiency Examination, but exceptions will be made in special circumstances.
Completing the BJCP Exam Data Administration Form
Any club, individual, or other entity can schedule (i.e., sponsor) an exam. The sponsor should first contact the Exam Directors to request a tentative exam date. The request should include a completed Exam Data Administration Form (EDAF). Please remember to include the appropriate mailing address and contact information. For Beer Judging Examinations and Mead Judging Examinations, the sponsor should also identify potential proctors when scheduling the exam date, since the suffessful administration of the exam hinges on the availability of qualified proctors. More details are given below in the Exam Roles section.
In order to arrange for suitable volunteer graders to be available, it is extremely important that you complete and return the EDAF at least four months in advance of the exam. If this form is not received by the exam director in the specified time frame, the exam director may, at his/her discretion, cancel or reassign the exam date. While initial applications can specify an indeterminate date within a month, a firm day within the month must be provided at least four months prior to the actual date. Once the firm date is set, it may only be changed with advance approval by the Exam Director.
To ensure the participants actually are committed to take the exam, the sponsor should consider collecting the entire exam fee as a non-refundable deposit from the examinees in advance. When an exam is potentially over-subscribed, this method is strongly recommended.
You must schedule an exam at least four months in advance, since this is when new scheduling will be closed for that month. The proposed exam date must be approved by a BJCP Exam Director. Note that the number of exams per month is limited. Please don't ask to schedule an exam before checking the list of scheduled exams to be sure the schedule is not full or the month has not been closed for the exam month in question.
On May 19, 2010 the BJCP Exam Directors changed the limits related to scheduling BJCP examinations. The new system reduces the number of people allowed to sit for the examination at a given exam site but increases the number of sites allowed per month. The grading of larger exam sets causes delays in the grading and review process. The scheme is intended to make the BJCP examination more widely available but reduce the grading burden somewhat.
The BJCP Exam Directors handle the scheduling of examination sites. Examination sites should be scheduled at least four months in advance. The list of approved examination sites is shown in the exam calendar. Note that when the schedule says a month is closed, it means it is now too late to schedule an examination site in that month. If a month says it is full, it means we have reached the limit of the number of examination sites for that month and no more sites can be registered in that month.
The BJCP Exam Directors do NOT handle the registration of the individual examinees for a given site. That is the responsibility of the listed contact person for an examination site. Please contact that person to find out if there are still seats left at the site. Also contact that person if you need to know the exact location and/or time of the exam. Examination sites are limited to twelve people sitting for the examination.
The Exam Directors will occasionally approve some sites to sit as many as twenty people for the examination. However, that approval is expected to be rare and is unlikely to be granted more than six months in advance. Further, in months where there are approved twenty seat sites the overall number of examination sites may be reduced since these larger sites impact the grading system.
The standard process by which the maximum number of seats may be increased to twenty is if the local exam administrator recruits BJCP exam graders to fill two lead grader and two second exam grading slots. The motivation is that the graders help sustain the exam program while contributing to the growth of the BJCP in their region. The Exam Directors will schedule the recruited graders just like other grading volunteers. Their grading assignments could be on a different twenty exam set, or two standard twelve exam sets. They will not be assigned to grade the exams from the associated site. These recruited graders must complete their portion of the grading assignment BEFORE the exam site’s limit will be increased to twenty. Since it takes time for the grading process to complete and because the recruited graders may have to wait to receive their exams to grade, applying for the increase needs to happen at least four to six months before the scheduled exam date.
To make it clear which limits apply to which exams, the site limits will be shown in the exam schedule.
The Exam SponsorIn addition to registering the exam, the Exam Sponsor is responsible for obtaining an Exam Administrator for the BJCP Beer Judging Examination and for the BJCP Written Proficiency Examination. The Exam Sponsor is also responsible for obtaining Exam Proctors for the BJCP Beer Judging Examination. Proctors are not required for the BJCP Written Proficiency Examination.
The Exam Administrator
The Exam Administrator should be BJCP National or higher-ranked Judge. This requirement can be waived at the discretion of the BJCP Exam Director, if sufficient cause warrants it (e.g., geographic or scheduling considerations). The administrator must be approved by a BJCP Exam Director. The Exam Administrator cannot also take the exam. While the Exam Director can assist in finding potential administrators, the responsibility ultimately lies with the Exam Sponsor.
The Exam Administrator is responsible for handling the exam materials and, in the case of the BJCP Beer Judging Examination, preparing and describing the exam beers.
It is also the Exam Administrator's responsibility to make sure everyone taking the exam is of legal drinking age under the laws in effect in the location where the tasting exam is given.
The Exam Administrator receives non-judging experience points and GMSR credits for their efforts. However, if the Exam Administrator goes forward and gives an exam with less than the minimum number of participants without prior approval by the Exam Director, the Exam Director may withhold the experience points and GMSR credits. Further, the start of grading of such sets smaller than the minimum may be delayed for three to six months, at the discretion of the Exam Director. This delay is to allow the small set to be potentially combined with another small set for grading.
The Exam Proctors
Administering the BJCP Beer Judging Examination requires a minimum of two Exam Proctors in addition to the Exam Administrator. The Exam Proctors' role is to score the exam beers with no additional information beyond that made available to the examinees other than allowing the proctors to use the BJCP Style Guidelines. The Exam Proctors are to provide scoresheets not biased by information not available to the examinees, that is why the Exam Administer does not also function as a proctor – the Exam Administrator selects/prepares the exam beers and generally knows too much about the beers.
Grading tasting examinations requires high quality proctor score sheets. To ensure this, the Exam Proctors must come from a pre-approved proctor list drawn from the pool of "active" National and Master judges found on the BJCP web site. This page is dynamically generated when the BJCP database of judge scores and experience is updated. If the Exam Sponsor is not able to obtain Exam Proctors from these two lists, they MUST contact the Exam Director at least two weeks prior to the exam to get advance approval to use alternative Exam Proctors. In special cases, such as when the exam is in a remote location or there are a large number of examinees, the BJCP Board of Directors may grant stipends to facilitate the travel of experienced Exam Proctors to the exam location. Requests for travel stipends must be made to the Exam Director at least three months prior to the exam date.
The BJCP Exam Director can grant waivers from the proctor rules but such exceptions are expected to be rare. The use of a proctor with less than National-level rank, including the use of judges with minimum tasting score of 80 and more than 10 judging experience points requires pre-approval by the Exam Director. We further desire that at least one proctor be a Master-level judge (or higher) or a judge with a minimum tasting score of 90 and with at least 20 judging experience points. If one or more of the proctors is Master-level, then a third proctor can be used that only has a Certified-level rank.
The fee for the BJCP Beer Judge Entrance Examination is US$10.
The fees for the BJCP Beer Judging Examination are US$40 for first time takers and US$15 for subsequent retakes.
The fee for the BJCP Beer Judge Written Proficiency Examination is US$15.
The fee for the BJCP Mead Judge Examination is US$50 for non-BJCP members and US$30 for existing BJCP judges.
Thirty percent of the fee for each exam is designated for expenses related to holding the exam, and may be split between the sponsor and administrator. If there are to be additional expenses such as room rentals or transportation, please get approval from the exam director prior to the exam, and if approved, send receipts to the BJCP Treasurer for reimbursement.
The sponsor or administrator, at their discretion, may reduce individual exam fees by waiving a portion of their allotment. This is acceptable as long as the BJCP receives $28 (70% of $40) or $10.50 (70% of $15) for each participant.
Examinees should pay the Exam Administrator (if using checks, make them out directly to the Exam Administrator). The Exam Administrator then submits the payment using PayPal directly to the BJCP at 70% of total fees. No cash or checks, please. The payment system is at http://www.bjcp.org/apps/exam_pay/exam_find.php. The PayPal system is for Exam Administrators only; do not advertise this link to examinees.
Approximately two weeks before the exam, the Exam Administrator will be sent the exam questions (if a written exam will be administered), the participant information form (PIF), beer scoresheets (judging exam) and other documents that are needed for the exam. You will need to make copies of these forms for each exam taker. On the PIF, please place sequential numbers (1, 2, 3, etc.) after the four digit, four letter exam code (e.g., 1204-CALA) to identify the examinees. This ensures anonymity throughout the grading process. The exams will be copied before they are sent to the graders, so please use standard size (8.5 by 11) ruled paper and instruct the participants to write on only one side and to NOT write in the margins – the originals need to be photocopied for the graders and copy machines tend not to copy all the way to the edges of the original. The exam director will also provide a lined answer sheet template that may be used if ruled paper is not available.
If you do not receive the exam paperwork at least one week before the exam, please contact the Exam Director immediately. Likewise, sponsors are expected to notify the exam director promptly if a scheduled exam is cancelled or postponed.
We make every effort to return the exam results in a timely manner, but due to the demands on our graders, it realistically can take from three to six months before exam results are available. The bulk of this time is used by volunteer National and higher-ranked judges to do the initial scoring of the exams. Their scoring and feedback is then reviewed by both an Associate Exam Director and the Exam Director before being sent to the Assistant Exam Director for processing. Since the number of exams administered annually has been rising steadily, we had to impose limits on the number of examinees and exam sites. We are often short of qualified graders, but we do the best we can.
BJCP CEP credit
For anyone teaching an exam study course, remember that to receive CEP credit, you must follow the procedures found in the CEP section of this website.
Administration and Proctor Points
Exam administrators must be approved by an Exam Director. The administrator receives two non-judging experience points and ten GMSR credits per exam, regardless of the number of exam takers. This system was revised in 2005 as part of the implementation of new GMSR rules. The administrator may not proctor the exam, unless the administrator has no knowledge of the exam beers or meads being served. One person may not receive both administrator and proctor points for the same exam.
Two proctors are required for the tasting exams with no more than three allowed. Each proctor, who serves as an independent taster of the exam beers or meads, receives one judging point for completing detailed scoresheets. The proctors are to evaluate the beers or meads with only the same information that is given the examinees — namely the style in question. They are not to consult and resolve scoring discrepancies. The proctors should be informed that their scoresheets will be evaluated by the graders and director for quality, and points may not be awarded if the proctors' work is substandard. Similarly, some or all of the administrator's points may not be awarded if it is apparent that these instructions were not followed, or the exams are not received within ten days of the exam date.
Other Info for Potential Examinees
- With the exception of the BJCP Beer Judge Entrance Examination, the beer examinations are closed book so the BJCP Style Guidelines can not be used.
- Most essay questions can be answered in about 1.5 to 2 pages. If the participants are writing significantly more or less, adjustments should be made. Partial credit is given for incomplete answers, so instruct the participants not to skip any questions.
- The details on the BJCP beer judge examinations are described here.
- The mead exam format is described here.
- Good time management is needed to complete the exam in the time allotted.
- The exam requires payment in advance.
- The test beers and meads are evaluated as if they were entered in an AHA/BJCP sanctioned competition.
- Examinees must legibly complete the participant information form. It is otherwise difficult to return the results.
- Examinees with physical disabilities or limitations should contact an Exam Director prior to registering for an exam to see if their limitations can be reasonably accomodated. Disabilities that prevent a potential examinee from performing the core duties of a judge (i.e., assessing the sensory aspects of a beer or mead and conveying the information in a limited amount of time using handwriting on a BJCP scoresheet) are unlikely to be accomodated.
Use of the following electronic devices is not allowed during the BJCP examinations:
- Calculators, except for basic "four-function" models that do not have the ability to store programs or data for redisplay.
- Laptop or desktop computers.
- Cell phones. In the case of an emergency, phones may be left with the Administrator with instructions for answering.
- Walkman/iPod or other listening devices.
- Headphones of any type.