3. The BJCP Cider Exam

The BJCP Cider Judge Entrance Examination consists of 100 questions to be answered in a 30 minute time period. There is a mixture of multiple choice, true-false and multiple answer questions that are designed to test a prospective cider judge’s knowledge of cider styles, cider characteristics, and the cider making process.

The key reference for the style-related questions is the BJCP Style Guidelines, and prospective judges are encouraged to become very familiar with this document before attempting the entrance exam. The exam questions are drawn from a larger pool so each examination will potentially be different. The BJCP will not publish the list of questions in the pool as that will invalidate the quality of the examination – a published pool would be too easy to query for answers without the examinee actually learning the material. The BJCP will monitor for questions that are made public and will work to remove said questions from the examination pool.

The BJCP Cider Judging Examination is closed book and requires the judging of six ciders as if one were at a competition, with the scoresheets evaluated on the basis of scoring accuracy, perception, descriptive ability, feedback and completeness. Grading is done by volunteer National and Master judges, with their scores and feedback reviewed by both a BJCP Associate Exam Director and a BJCP Exam Director. These reviews ensure that the scores from different exams and graders are consistent between different exams and with the criteria expected for the different judging levels.

3.1 Cider Exam Details

There is no prerequisite for taking the BJCP Cider Entrance Exam. The exam is open to BJCP judges and those not in the BJCP. Passing the BJCP Cider Entrance Exam is a prerequisite for taking the BJCP Cider Judging Exam. Anyone who passes the BJCP Cider Judging Exam will receive a BJCP Cider Judge pin and certificate. Cider Exams do not count towards program (rank) advancement. An existing BJCP judge may not advance in rank based on the score received on the BJCP Cider Judging Exam. Non-BJCP members passing the BJCP Cider Judging Exam may not advance in rank without taking the BJCP Beer Exam. More detail on the Cider Judge designation can be found in Section 4.

3.1.1 Cider Entrance Exam Detail

Questions on the BJCP Cider Entrance Exam cover the following topics:

  • The BJCP Cider Program
  • BJCP judging procedures and ethics
  • Cider Balance and Style Attributes
  • Varietal Apple & Pear Identification and Usage
  • Non-Apple & Pear Ingredients in Cider
  • Identifying/Troubleshooting Cider Characteristics and Faults
  • Cider Making and Process Control
  • Cider Faults and Troubleshooting
  • Judging Scenarios

3.1.2. Cider Judging Exam Details

Examinees will judge six ciders as in a competition using variants of the standard scoresheets. Ciders judged should include varieties outlined in the Cider Judging Examination Procedures document.

3.2. Cider Entrance Exam Question Pool

The questions in this exam are comprised of an assortment of True-False (TF), MultipleChoice-Single-Answer (MCSA) and Multiple-Choice-Multiple-Answer (MCMA). The MCSA questions will always have one selection that is the best answer to the question, while the MCMA questions will have one or more selections that are correct.

Some of the questions on this exam are difficult, and answering a sufficient number of them correctly will require thought and advance preparation. There is sometimes the perception that an exam with multiple choice and TF questions will be easier to pass than a written exam; this is not the case with the BJCP Cider Judge Entrance examination. A prospective judge who would not have been sufficiently prepared to pass the BJCP Beer or Mead Judge Entrance Examinations will likely not pass the BJCP Cider Judge Entrance Examination.

Those who pass the BJCP Cider Judge Entrance Examination are provisional cider judges and must take the BJCP Cider Judging Examination to become a BJCP Cider Judge. Due to the nature of the web-based BJCP Cider Judge Entrance Examination, the complete list of questions will not be made available since that would facilitate the creation of an answer key that would defeat the objective of having an entrance exam that tests on knowledge and understanding rather than rote memorization.