First the bad news. If you are thinking that the multiple choice will "carry" you through a rough short answer it aint gonna happen! You need to pass both multiple choice and short answer by at least 55%! With almost 90% of students passing multiple choice and less than 60% passing short answer guess where your focus should be? This means get through multiple choice as expediently as you can to have ample time to devote to short answer.
The "short answer" section is almost everyone's bane. Don't expect one sentence answers to suffice. These approach essay length in response requirements, often needing a couple paragraphs to properly address. You can expect a full 70% of the marks available to come from the Learning Outcome 2 (see your Specification!) topics. That said, there is always a short answer question dealing with sparkling and/or fortified, often to 25% of the short answer points. Be able to explain not only what tank fermentation is but why Prosecco often uses this method. Be able to explain the difference between a Fino and straight PX sherry.
Also common are questions involving comparing and contrasting two regions using the same grape but with different styles or target markets. This can be bulk Aussie Shiraz vs Cote Rotie or Premier Cru White Burgundy and large production California Chardonnay. Be sure to include everything from shoot to shelf where appropriate. Yields, trellissing, harvesting, fermentation, maturation, price and quality.
We suggest writing bullet points on all your short answer questions on your scrap paper before starting the actual answers. Don't write full answers and copy back to the exam as you will likely put yourself in a time crunch. Having an outline of answers to come back to often provides the framework for well written and comprehensive answers. Trust us, it works and gives you that moment to rethink and reread the question before starting the actual answers! A question that asks you "why foudres don't dramatically impact the aromas of wine in Alsace?" is NOT asking you about the Vosges Mountains, nor the grapes of SGN, or altitude, or sunshine hours at latitude, or even really about Alsace. This is a question about foudres, two sentences covering ratio of oak contact to wine volume, old oak imparting less flavor, and tartrates coating the insides to reduce contact will get you the points you need.
Many students anxiously re-study all the regions as a focus before the exam. Don't forget to re-read the viticulture, winemaking, maturation etc chapters. Its very likely this information will be needed on multiple short answer questions.
One more consideration for those of us in the U.S., you may feel that the our domestic wines and wine market are under represented by WSET. Don't forget that from an export standpoint, Chile far exceeds the US. and warrants focus. South Africa even exceeds the US with this benchmark.LVL 1 Wine Sample Questions & Tips
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