The Life of an MW Student – Forty Four

This year I had a much better game plan for exam day. First, my accommodation actually had a window (last year’s hotel choice was rather restricted due to realising at the last minute that I had booked the wrong dates) which meant that at 6:00 I had some curtains to throw open. A strong cup of coffee and nutritious breakfast later, I was ready to hit the flashcards.

2024’s exam was held at a new venue; one I had never visited before. I was delighted about the change, since almost every one of the many, many wine exams I have taken in my life have been held at the frankly depressing Royal National Hotel in Bloomsbury. As you can imagine, this is not a place that holds fond memories.

I set off with plenty of time, my exam survival kit fully stocked (wine glasses, chalk pens, both still and sparkling water, mini babybels, flashcards, headphones, motivational playlist). I felt ready; my only concern making sure I found the venue. After ten minutes of walking, I started to see an increasing concentration of nervous looking people carrying large boxes of wine glasses and knew I was in the right place.

My playlist of ‘motivational music’ consisted largely of a bizarre mix of 80s rock, Italian opera and 00s pop. The memory of standing, pacing, at the back of the exam hall with Pavarotti belting out Nessun Dorma through my headphones will stay with me for a long time. I felt ready. I knew I had worked hard. There was nothing left to do but stay calm and taste.

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