The Life of an MW Student – Nineteen

This morning, I made the mistake of looking up how many days remain until the MW exams begin. 47. Forty flipping seven. My study group has now largely disbanded – many have fallen by the wayside and dropped out or deferred. The rest of us are going solo, in our individual study bubbles.

I am under no illusion that it is likely that I will not pass the exams this year. In 2021, the theory exam had a 20% pass rate, and the practical exam just 8%. In the interest of full disclosure, this was lower than in previous years, which we can ascribe to candidates not having the same opportunities to taste and travel when studying under lockdowns.

It is also worth pointing out that many of the students taking the exams will have been doing so for the second or third time, so the chances of passing first time are even more slight.

The name of the game between now and the end of July, then, is building confidence. When I focus on the things I still don’t know (of which there are many), I want to lie down in a dark room in the fetal position. So I’m not thinking about them. Much.

What I am doing is trying to focus on how far I have come since September 2019 when I joined the programme. I can now explain, in detail, how the pH of grape juice influences practices in a winery and the resultant wine profile. I understand trends in fine wine investment, and how fluctuations in supply and demand impact the broader wine market. I can, more often than not, taste a wine and tell you where it is from, how it was made, how old it is, and how much it should be sold for.

When I think about these things, I feel a little glimmer of hope. I’ll need a lot of luck to pass this year, but I’ll certainly be giving it my best shot.

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