I'm writing this one week ahead of a WSET Diploma exam session. At this late stage, students tend to fall into one of two groups:

  • The well-prepared reviser, now focusing on the the detail

  • The under-prepared panicker, trying to remember the big stuff

The extra time that is built into the exams for the new Diploma is designed to allow students to show that they can make the links between different areas of the syllabus. It is not about allowing more time simply to regurgitate facts. 

So whichever kind of student you are, it is worth spending time now evaluating (by which I mean assessing advantages and disadvantages) the main categories of wines of the world. You need to go beyond the variety, climate and wine-making to really look at where those wines sit in the market. 

So, for example, if you are evaluating Chenin Blanc in South Africa, you need to look at the advantages and disadvantages of the variety not only in terms of style, but also in terms of who buys it and why. It is more valuable now to form your arguments around such broader topics than focusing on the specific technical details of each district, region or ward. Of course the more technical detail you have, the more likely you are to achieve a Merit or Distinction in the exam. 

If you are struggling to take in any more new information, then make sure you have locked in the stuff you already know. Why not combine it with tasting practice and explain to anyone nearby why the wine looks, smells and tastes the way it does. Describe the target market for that wine and why the wine succeeds or not. 

These sorts of activities are quick, simple and fun, but make you think in a Diploma way. 

It may sound silly, but make sure you answer the question

As in any exam, answering the question you really are asked is key. Make sure you pay particular attention to the verb that is used in the stem of the question. Words like ‘define’, ‘describe’, ‘explain’, ‘analyse’, ‘compare’, ‘evaluate’ and ‘conclude’ are telling you exactly what the examiner wants to read from you. 



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©2018 by Jim Gore's Global Wine Academy.