Flunked ais exam? Whatever your age and level of education, the ais exam should not scare you. In fact, no final exam should scare you, but especially not thesommelier exam. Why? Whether you started the sommelier course out of passion or with the desire to make it a profession, you are certainly a wine enthusiast. And if you are a true wine enthusiast, it means that you really care about making the subject your own. That is why you should not make any of the mistakes I mention in this article: those really are a threat to make you become a sommelier. I would add that many enrol in professional or university courses with the sole aim of acquiring extra qualifications. These are the ones who have no command of the subject and climb into supercazzola mode when you ask them a question. You recognise them immediately: they are the ones who obsessively study from past AIS exam questions with the aim of memorising as many answers as possible. I sincerely hope you are not one of these.

Flunked AIS exam? Maybe you studied on questions from past exams?

Every week I receive e-mails from aspiring sommeliers asking me about the AIS course examination questions. It is one thing to share my experience or to create a facsimile to frame what may happen to you during the exam, it is another to think you only or mainly study on the AIS examination questions past years.

Firstly, the questions tend not to be repeated very frequently because the programme of the AIS course is really quite extensive. Secondly, this method of study is that of goats who care so much about the title and little about becoming good at the discipline they are following. This does not only happen at the sommelier coursebut also at university. And it is precisely because of these mediocre students that the efforts of good students are penalised. To me, who has always been a bit of a 'geek', they honestly annoy a lot. Taking a sommelier course is an investment of time and money, so you should take it very seriously or at least respect those who do it.

Love of wine

Failed the AIS exam? Don't make these mistakes again to become a sommelier!

Error #1: studying on past exam questions

As mentioned above, the AIS course programme is vast, so although you may find repeated questions, they will probably only be a fraction. Moreover, if you enrolled in the AIS course because you love wine and would like to learn more about this extraordinary world, why not study it properly? 

Practising a few past tests is useful above all to check your knowledge and understand how much time you have available to make the most of it. Practising, however, DOES NOT MEAN STUDYING. You practise when you have finished studying the whole syllabus and then, after practising on past tests, you study again those topics in which you made any mistakes. Studying directly on tests is just a clumsy, crude and cunning attempt to memorise without studying.

All this clashes with a choice made with love, don't you think?

Flunked ais exam

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Error #2: Endless re-reading of the same chapter

Rereading AIS books to the point of exasperation will do you no good. And even less will it help you to reread the same chapter ad nauseam. If you want to make the world of wine your own, just read it once in silence and then read aloud only the key concepts.

Reading the same chapter over and over again may help you memorise, but I am sure you will soon forget what you have covered. Studying and memorising is not an effective way of studying.

Diametrically opposed is the sniper technique, which takes its name from the snipers and suggests not creating crutches for your brain so as not to make it lazy. If endlessly rereading the same chapter only serves to bore your favourite neuron, thinking you only get one chance to read that particular chapter keeps it active and alert. So give yourself only one chance to read a chapter, read it silently carefully and repeat the key concepts aloud.

Flunked ais exam

Error #3: Failure to underline, highlight and write down key concepts

After studying on the AIS texts when you are at home and on my book when you are away from home (😄), you can fix the key concepts by writing them down in your own words in a notebook. For this purpose I recommend a A5 notebook like this one by Legamiwhich I find really perfect because it has a spiral, it is very comfortable to write on the front and back, the pen does not leak and it has a very handy pocket where I can put any mind maps or facsimiles of the tasting cards, dot cards and food-wine pairing graphics. By the way, this for incurable sommelier travel lovers with a map is my favourite, I just bought it to write down my English grammar rules.

When you have found the perfect notebook for you, write down the key concepts neatly and above all in your own words, without copying what you read in the book. Rewriting the same things from the book by omitting a few words only serves to waste your time. Rewriting key concepts and writing them down in a notebook is the best way to really study. Besides, A5 notebooks fit into any bag or purse and you can take them with you at all times for revision... even if you're waiting for the tractor after you've been stuck in a vineyard!

Failed ais study method examination

Error #4: Not developing key concepts aloud by creating coherent discourse

At this point you have read the books mentally and identified the key concepts in your notebook... so you are ready to develop them aloud to really make them your own. Be clear, you do not have to repeat what you have read in the book by heart: this is the best way to forget everything and fail the AIS exam. Studying well means reworking in your own words what you have read carefully and understood. To do this you can keep the notebook underneath with the key concepts and look at it until you feel confident. The objective of this phase is do further revision work to really understand what you are studying because when you have understood something you hardly forget it!

Flunked ais exam

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Chiara Bassi book sommelier illustrated manual

Sommelier: the illustrated manual

All my notes on wine and food in one book. Maximum portability to study where you want, when you want... and even with your smartphone unloaded! To all aspiring sommeliers... drink the wolf! 😄🐺🍷🍀

Chiara Bassi

Error #5: Do not make wine and food-wine pairing sheets every time you eat or drink

Put it away: you have to do AIS cards to the point of exasperation. Especially the food and wine pairing graphics is anything but trivial, so practising it every day by scaling a food, even if it is a biscuit or a sandwich, is essential. In the end, it takes no more than 10 minutes to make one and since you eat at least three times a day, you have no excuse not to get into this healthy habit. In the exam, you will be asked to draw the polygon of the food-wine pairing chart and create the AIS wine tasting card with all the entries from memory. So, after studying thesensory analysis of foodpractice with every wine you drink and (almost) every food you eat!

Failed ais exam tips

What if you have already failed the AIS examination?

If the ais exam rejection has already knocked on your door, don't inflict punishments on yourself like drinking brick wine for a month in a row. Processing failures with the right key is what distinguishes a loser from a winner in life. Let us start with a key concept: nobody is perfect and infallible.

If an exam or event does not go as it should first take your time: even the biggest obstacle seems less insurmountable after a glass of red wine and a good night's sleep. Don't blame yourself: it serves no purpose and only brings you down. Rather try to understand which phase of your study process was not effective. Try to process this small failure constructively to learn something new first of all from yourself: the only truly irremediable thing in life is an incurable disease, everything else is just a matter of perseverance. ☀️