Scheduling Procedures

Last modified: March 18, 2019

Processes for exam sponsors to schedule BJCP exams. We have separate instructions for administrators giving BJCP exams and for examinees registering and studying for BJCP exams. 

BJCP Exams

Exam Tiers

The three tiers of exams given are:

  1. The BJCP Entrance Examination, on online exam to screen prospective candidates. Passing this exam allows an examinee to register for a judging exam, but does not grant membership in the BJCP.
  2. The BJCP Judging Examination, a practical tasting exam of six beverages in a competition-like setting. Passing this exam grants membership in the BJCP, and awards basic certifications.
  3. The BJCP Written Proficiency Examination, a written examination used to award higher levels of certification.

The Entrance and Judging Examinations are given for beer, mead, and cider. The Written Proficiency Examination is only available for the beer judge certification.

 

Exam Subjects and Languages

The BJCP tests on the subjects of judging Beer, Mead, and Cider. 

The BJCP supports exams given in English, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, and Simplified Chinese. Support for other languages is under consideration.

Exam Types

The combination of exam tiers and subjects results in several distinct exams. The scheduling procedures are the same for each exam subject within an exam tier, but not all exam tiers have exams for each subject. The current exam types that sponsors can register are the Beer Judging Examination, the Mead Judging Examination, the Cider Judging Examination, and the Beer Judge Written Proficiency Examination.

Scheduling Entrance Examinations

The BJCP Beer, Mead, and Cider Entrance Examinations are online and do not need to be scheduled by a sponsor or administrator. Individuals can take the exams directly at any time; see our full instructions for more detail.

Scheduling Judging Examinations

Requirements

The vast majority of exams given by the BJCP are judging examinations (particularly Beer Judging Examinations). Due to the high demand for exams, the BJCP has several restrictions in effect for scheduling judging exams:

  • Exams may not be scheduled for more than 24 months in the future.
  • Exams must be scheduled at least four months in advance. Late requests may be denied or deferred.
  • Exam sites (individual exam locations) are restricted so as to not overly stress the grading pool. When the monthly quota for exam sites is reached, no new exams can be scheduled for that month and the status will be indicated on the exam calendar
  • A minimum of six qualified examinees is needed to give an exam.
  • The number of examinees per site is limited to 12. There are procedures for requesting additional seats.
  • Exam subjects (e.g., beer, mead, and cider) and tiers (judging and written) may not be combined within a single exam site registration. Each type of exam requires a separate registration.
  • The Exam Administrator must be BJCP National or higher-ranked Judge.

For exams outside the United States and Canada, or in any locations where there is little BJCP infrastructure, the rules are more lenient; exam sponsors are encouraged to contact the Exam Directors directly to discuss their situation.

These restrictions do not apply to exams directly sponsored by the BJCP, such as those given each year at the AHA National Homebrewers Conference.

Procedures

  1. Check that you meet the requirements for registering an exam.
  2. Check the exam calendar to make sure there is an open exam slot.
  3. Complete the Exam Data Approval Form (EDAF) and email it to the  Exam Directors.
  4. Respond to any questions from the Exam Directors. The exam date, exam administrator, and exam proctors must be approved by the Exam Directors.
  5. Once the exam is approved, additional materials will be emailed to the sponsor at least two weeks before the exam date.
  6. The exam administrator has additional responsibilities and should review the Exam Administration Guide.

Best Practices and Other Rules

  1. Plan on scheduling an exam site at least six months in advance. Check the exam calendar to there is an open exam slot in the month you want to hold the exam; you may need to schedule even farther in advance. The proposed exam date must be approved by an Exam Director.
  2. Make sure you have sufficient examinees interested in taking the exam. You may wish to collect a non-refundable deposit from examinees to ensure participation. Exam sites not meeting minimum requirements may be cancelled, grading might be significantly delayed, or administrative credits may be withheld.
  3. Make sure examinees are qualified to take the exam. See the exam requirements for details.
  4. If you want to hold multiple exams, fill out an Exam Data Admin Form for each exam.
  5. The BJCP does not handle registration of individuals for specific exams. The sponsor has the responsibility to register individuals for their exam.
  6. Sponsors may not require examinees to take a training course, or to belong to a specific homebrew club or organization. Any qualified person is permitted to take a registered exam.

Scheduling Written Proficiency Examinations

Requirements

The Written Proficiency Exam can be scheduled in the exact same manner as the Judging Examination, with the same restrictions in effect. However, since many locations will have difficulty meeting the minimum examinee requirement, there is a much easier alternative approach:

  • The BJCP selects one date and time each calendar quarter to hold a Beer Judge Written Proficiency Exam. An exam may not be held on any other date and time that quarter.
  • Any active BJCP Exam Grader can register a Written Exam site, and administer the exam. No proctors are necessary.
  • There is no minimum number of examinees for a quarterly written exam.
  • Examinees must be qualified to take the exam.
  • The exam site must be registered at least six weeks prior to the exam date.
  • The sponsor must pay for the exam at least one month in advance or the exam site will be cancelled.
  • Examinees cannot be added to the site after payment has been submitted.

The BJCP generally sponsors a Beer Judge Written Proficiency Exam at every AHA National Homebrewers Conference.

Procedure

  1. Check the exam calendar for quarterly written exam dates.
  2. Secure the participation of a qualified exam administrator from our list of active exam graders.
  3. Complete the Exam Data Approval Form (EDAF) and email it to the  Exam Directors.
  4. Respond to any questions from the Exam Directors. The exam administrator must be approved by the Exam Directors.
  5. Once the exam is approved, additional materials will be emailed to the sponsor at least two weeks before the exam date.
  6. The exam administrator has additional responsibilities and should review the Exam Administration Guide.

Best Practices and Other Rules

  1. The quarterly written exam is much easier to schedule since it is not subject to monthly quotas or examinee minimums.
  2.  If there are multiple examinees in a metropolitan area, work together to pick a common location rather than scheduling exams for each individual.
  3. Examinees pay the sponsor, and the sponsor pays the BJCP for all examinees at the registered site; examinees do not pay the BJCP directly. Do not ignore the advance payment requirement!
  4. The sponsor is responsible for registering individuals for the exam; the BJCP does not handle registration for individual examinees.
  5. There is no option to change the date or designated time of day for the exam. If the schedule does not work for an examinee, they will have to take the exam in a different quarter.

Additional Information

Requesting Additional Exam Seats

Examination sites are limited to twelve people sitting for the examination. Exams are normally limited to 12 seats per site. For information regarding increased seat limits for Beer Judging Exams (and only for Beer Judging Exams), see the:

Exam sponsors can request a higher seat allocation for a beer judging exam, but they first must recruit new graders who must complete a grading assignment before the quota can be raised. Considerable lead time is required as exams can take 10-12 weeks to grade, and additional time is necessary for scheduling.

To obtain a higher seat limit, additional teams of graders must be recruited. One team is two people: a lead grader and a second grader. Lead graders are experienced graders who are qualified to become lead graders; second graders can be novices. Both must meet the normal requirements for becoming an exam grader, including passing the grader training course. The graders must be new to their role, and they must finish a separate grading assignment (not the site being expanded). The grading team’s work is considered finished when completed RTPs are submitted to the Associate Exam Director and accepted.

There are several restrictions related to increasing the seat limits:

  • The graders must complete their grading assignment within one month of the scheduled completion date for their set.
  • The graders must complete their assignment at least three weeks prior to the scheduled exam date.
  • The quality of the RTPs produced cannot be subpar in the judgment of the Associate Director and the Exam Director handling the set.

If the graders do not meet the above restrictions then the site does not receive credit to expand their seat limit. If the seat limit is not increased, only original limit’s worth of exams will be graded from the site. If a site submits more exams for grading than their seat limit allows the Exam Director will randomly pick from the submitted exams the ones to be graded and the rest will be discarded (never graded)

Process for a 20 Seat Limit

To obtain a 20 seat limit for a BJCP Exam, the local exam administrator needs to recruit the equivalent of two teams of graders: two lead graders and two second graders. These teams must grade one exam set each.

Process for an Even Larger Seat Limit

Getting a site’s seat limit raised above 20 seats is more complicated than getting it raised to 20 seats. Again, the local administrator needs to recruit graders but a lot more graders will be needed. The graders are asked to take on a set of exams over and above their normal grading duties so as to not impact grading of other scheduled exams. The easy way for the Exam Directors to see that the graders identified here are handling grading beyond their norm is if they each sign up for two sets as part of this application.

The possible larger seat limits available are; 24, 36, and 48 seats. For 24 seats, the admin needs to recruit two teams of graders. For 36 seats, the admin needs to recruit three teams of graders. For 48 seats, the admin needs to recruit four teams of graders. Each grader taking on an extra set of exams.

Where this gets a little complicated is in considering what is an extra set of exams; for a novice grader the norm is zero sets of exams so one set is sufficient for them. The lead graders need to be experienced graders that are qualified to be lead graders. The graders will be identified on a special form that needs to be submitted to the Exam Directors – the form takes the names of up to four lead graders and up to four second graders. The lead graders will each be used twice to grade exams. If the second graders are experienced they will be used twice, if the second graders are novices they will only be used once.

Since the graders need to cycle through grading two sets of exams a long lead time is required to earn the larger seat limits.

Graders need to complete their grading assignments before the Exam Directors will raise the seat limits for a site – the BJCP Grading Process document describes how long the grading flow takes for a set. Because of the complexity of managing up to four teams each grading twice there are some fallbacks for the process. For example, if a site was trying to earn 48 seats but one of the four teams fails to complete their assignments then the site would only get to 36 seats. If two teams fail then the limit drops back to 24 seats and if three or more fail the limit drops back to 12 seats.

Tracking Progress of the Graders

Behind the scenes the Exam Directors maintain a detailed grading schedule that shows the graders and the progress of exams through the grading flow. The Exam Directors are also tracking which graders’ activities are associated with which future exam site. The Exam Directors will use this data to indicate to a local administrator when the seat limit can be raised for a site – when the associated graders have completed their assignments.

To request a 20 seat exam site, use the 20-Seat Exam Site Form. To request a 48 seat exam site, use the 48-Seat Exam Site Form. Please email the completed form to the Exam Director.

Exam Fees

Fees for Examinees

The BJCP price applies to those people who are a BJCP member (people who have taken a Judging Exam, and who have received a five-character BJCP ID). All others (including those who have only passed an entrance exam and who only have a four-digit certificate number) pay the Non-BJCP price.

Exam Type BJCP Price Non-BJCP Price
BJCP Beer Judge Entrance Examination US$10 US$10
BJCP Mead Judge Entrance Examination US$10 US$10
BJCP Cider Judge Entrance Examination US$10 US$10
BJCP Beer Judging Examination US$15 US$40
BJCP Beer Judge Written Proficiency Examination US$25 N/A
BJCP Mead Judging Examination US$15 US$40
BJCP Cider Judging Examination US$15 US$40

The online entrance examinations also have a 3-for-2 option (three exams for the price of two). Other types of exams do not have a similar discount for multiple attempts.

Payments to the BJCP

Thirty percent of the fee for each exam is designated for expenses related to holding the exam. If there are to be additional expenses such as room rentals or transportation, please get pre-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 70% of the nominal fee for each participant.

Examinees should pay the Exam Administrator (if using checks, make them out directly to the Exam Administrator not the BJCP). The Exam Administrator then submits the payment using PayPal directly to the BJCP at 70% of total fees. No cash or checks, please. The PayPal system is for Exam Administrators only; do not advertise this link to examinees.