As I sat down to prepare for the WSET Level 3 Wine exam, a whirlwind of emotions engulfed me. The weight of anticipation, coupled with a healthy dose of anxiety, had me questioning my readiness. The journey from self-doubt that I was going to do the taste test (lost some of my sense of smell to Covid), uncertainty to (over)-confidence, followed by the nerve-wracking wait for results, has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride.

Anxiety Leading Up to the Exam

The weeks leading up to the WSET Level 3 Wine Exam felt like a marathon of studying, self testing (thanks Brainscape), and self-doubt. The vast expanse of wine knowledge waiting to be mastered seemed daunting. The mere thought of facing of blind-tasting challenges and in-depth questions about regions, grape varieties, and production methods stirred up a sea of anxiety within me.

Every flashcard, every tasting note, and every late-night study session seemed like a step closer to a precipice. The pressure was real, and the fear of stumbling during the exam loomed large. Anxiety became a constant companion, a reminder of the magnitude of the challenge ahead - because I knew I could pass, if I kept my focus and didn’t allow things to distract me.

Feeling Confident After the Exam

As the day of the exam dawned, something remarkable happened - I entered the exam room and was totally calm, I realised that the work had been done, the knowledge was there - just don’t panic. The anxiety that had gripped me for weeks began to recede.

The identification of aromas and flavours in blind-tasting samples became an exhilarating exercise in ability to recall American Chardonnay and my favourite, French Gamay.

Describing the nuanced differences between Old World and New World wines felt like second nature. I was navigating through the intricate labyrinth of wine knowledge with a newfound clarity and assurance. Walking out of the exam room, I was filled with a sense of accomplishment. The arduous journey had transformed from a challenge to a triumph, and the satisfaction of overcoming self-doubt was immeasurable. Now, I could only wait.

Nervous Anxiety Waiting for the Results

Yet, as one chapter closed, another opened. The post-exam period was characterised by a different kind of anxiety—the nail-biting wait for the results. Each passing week felt like an eternity as I replayed moments from the exam in my mind, wondering if my pencil writen exam papers had been lost, and had my responses met the standard set. Apparently fifty-percent still fail. Ugh.

The anticipation was both thrilling and agonising. The results would not only validate my efforts but also determine the direction of my wine journey. The oscillation between hope and trepidation was a testament to the significance of this accomplishment in my life.

As I reflect on this rollercoaster journey - from anxiety and self-doubt to confidence and anticipation - I realise that the WSET Level 3 Wine Exam was not just a test of knowledge. It was a test of resilience, determination, and the power of pushing past one’s comfort zone.

I learned so much and revised quickly with Brainscape and their WSET Level 3 Flashcards.

Get started for FREE today, but you can unlock all the flashcards and SAVE 20% with this special discount code DAMIENWINE.

Meet the author

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Damien Saunders
WSET3 award - Has been on a journey to learn more about wine, viticulture since I started travelling. Every country has something to drink.