I received news from fellow Stage 2 MW students earlier this week. Unlike me, a handful had been brave enough to directly continue their quest to pass this arduous qualification, re-sitting exams earlier this year. A few passed theory for the first time. A couple succeeded in practical having already passed theory the year before. I feel genuinely euphoric for their successes and wish them every happiness in celebrating these milestones.
As for me, it’s back to the drawing board (but with more gusto compared to my last blog). Following a much welcomed year off study, I came to realise multiple shortcomings from my previous attempt. My approach was not focused until one month before the exams. I didn’t limit my intake of new information. I didn’t know every fortified production method inside out. The biggest realisation? I lacked confidence and authority on theory papers 4 & 5, and practical paper 2. If I don’t believe I can pass these exams, I never will.
Now that my professional circumstances have changed, meaning I work full time at Itasca Wines (where I am pictured) and continue to run Tipple Talk, I need to box clever with how I organise my time to ensure study is meaningful. Thanks to Mike Best MW’s excellent advice (best mentor ever) I know I need to streamline/improve my notes into 1 concise double side of A4 for each of my 40 theory topics. I have every week between now and the exam dedicated to a different topic, spending 2 sessions a week improving my notes and 3 sessions a week editing/writing essays. I wouldn’t consider myself a morning person, and yet I am most productive and knowledge-retentive first thing. I also cannot face studying after a full working day (brain = porridge). So I wake up at 6am to study for 1.5 hours before I head to work. I then do my best to listen to podcasts during my commute that relate to the topic I am studying that week. If that isn’t possible, I listen to The Big Vin Theory (great work Bob) or Suzie and Peter’s Wine Blast.
My husband has agreed to pour mini flights (2-4 wines) for me every Saturday morning, focusing on red and fortified wines in particular. Today’s tasting went terribly. I ran out of time, thought a Pinot Noir was a Malbec and knocked over my spittoon. Every day is a school day.
Despite these rather messy set backs, I feel more capable than ever of overcoming tastings that go wrong and essay questions that, at first glance, seem impossible to answer. After a deep breath, re-read of the question, highlighting key words and jotting relevant examples down, clarity of thought emerges and meaningful words begin to appear. I dare say, I am starting to enjoy the MW programme’s frugal approach to writing and look forward to tackling the exams again in June 2023.
With that in mind, I will finish this blog with a motivational quotation, most definitely for my benefit.
“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable” - Christopher Reeve.