Last summer I wrote about all of the roles I hold professionally and what some of my future goals might be. Included in the list was the role of student. At that point I had just begun the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level 3 certification course.
This 15-week program involved weekly drives to Boston for an in-person class and many, many hours of at-home studying. I wrote (and whined a bit) about it back in October. This course does require a good amount of commitment to pass the exam.
I took the exam on Tuesday, December 3rd in Boston. Mother Nature decided to torment me and make it a snowy day, but thankfully it wasn’t snowy enough to delay the exam. With all the time and energy I’d spent on preparing, I really didn’t want to go through more days of studying and waiting for the exam.
At the exam, the director of the school, through which I took the course, explained that results are ready in approximately three months. 3 MONTHS! As I took the exam, I felt cautiously optimistic. For both the tasting and theory portions of the exam, I was able to proceed at a reasonable pace and still had time to review my answers before closing my booklets. In fact, for the theory portion, I was able to leave about 30 minutes before the exam ended.
In the days following the exam, many people asked how I felt I did. I was hopeful that I did well, but I also was hesitant to be too confident. For me, I would prefer to be modest, hoping I did well, than to be boastful and do worse than I thought. Plus, I realized on the drive home that for the tasting portion I had practiced tasting many times and discussed correct answers but never discussed how the written answer should be formatted. My process was to create a grid of the things I was to note and then fill in my answers. My concern was that perhaps it should have been written in sentences. I decided not to research that. If I didn’t format the testing portion correctly, I would learn that when I got my results.
Fast forward to the evening of Friday, January 31st, as I was about to get out of the car and enter a restaurant for dinner with my husband. I decided to do one final peek at email before ignoring my phone for a while. There was the subject line I’d been awaiting: WSET Level 3 Exam result. I clicked and scanned. In the body of the email were words I dreamed I might see:
When taking a WSET exam, there are four options. Fail; Pass; Pass with Merit; Pass with Distinction. I scored in the highest possible category. All of the time that I put into studying and learning was rewarded. I don’t know that I stopped smiling that night. I probably didn’t stop smiling all weekend.
Now it’s time to begin using this certification. I have a couple ideas in mind. If you check back in the coming weeks, I should have an update. Here’s to a new role in the world of wine!