OCW Links for WSET Diploma Students

Well worn course materials

Well worn course materials

As a WSET Diploma student, the most important theory course materials are the red Study Guides which are created by the WSET for the course, and the Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson.  The Study Guides contain largely summary information about the content of the course, along with maps, sample question, and space for notes.  The largest runs to almost 200 pages.  The OCW contains a huge amount of material, though only a subset of it is within the Diploma curriculum.  The edition I have runs to over 800 pages, but if you subscribe to the Purple Pages at jancisrobinson.com (and there is a student discount), there is also an online version.

Each Study Guide contains a list, or in some cases several lists, of terms the student is expected to reference in the OCW.  If you have both books in front of you, study can consist of looking at a list in the Study Guide and then reading the corresponding entries in the OCW.  I subscribe to the Purple Pages, and therefore didn’t have to carry my OCW with me when I was travelling, but there were no online versions of the Study Guides or of the lists of terms.  Halfway through the course, I bit the bullet and made my own list for the Sparkling Wine unit by hand, with each entry being a link to the online OCW, so I was able to go back and forth between the list of terms and the OCW entries on a computer, tablet or smart phone without needing to actually carry a Study Guide.

When we started on Unit 3, I thought about doing the same, but for Unit 3 there are roughly 2,000 such terms across nearly 40 lists, and I decided it would be too much work to do by hand.  However, a few months later I revisited the problem and with a little bit of programming I was able to generate a working version of the Unit 3 lists with links into the online OCW.  I used it extensively in the months leading up to the exam, as did my wife (who I should mention beat me on the theory part of the Unit 3 exam with a Distinction, the swot) and a few other students in my class.  However, since the Study Guides are the intellectual property of the WSET and the OCW belongs to Jancis Robinson, I didn’t feel comfortable sharing the lists any further.

However, since then I’ve been in contact with the right people at the WSET and with Jancis Robinson and both parties seem happy for me to publish the pages of links for Diploma students to use.  The OCW entries themselves are only available to Purple Pages subscribers, so it’s not useful in the least unless you subscribe, but students do get a discount on membership with a promotional code available either through the WSET or through contacting subscriptions@jancisrobinson.com , and as far as I’m concerned it’s a small price to pay to avoid having to tote around the massive tome.

Right now I have the lists for Units 3, 5 and 6, with the exception of the lists in the “How to use this Study Guide” section of Unit 3 – they will be added soon.  Also, the usual disclaimers apply – I provide these pages as a third-party and they are not in any way official course material nor supported by the WSET.  They are designed to duplicate the print versions thereof as closely as possible, but any errors are mine.

So please, if you are a WSET Diploma student, have a look at the lists and if you think you might use them, subscribe to the Purple Pages and have at it.  Let me know in the comments if you spot any errors.

3 thoughts on “OCW Links for WSET Diploma Students

  1. I am loving all your insight into the Diploma exam- thank you! I was wondering how much detail you feel we need to know? I am reading the entry for Gevrey-Chambertin and thinking to myself, do I really need to know how many ha each grand cru vineyard is? or just the over all style of wines from the area? Would really appreciate you (and your wife’s) insight!

    • Technically, I think you should consider yourself responsible for the level of detail provided in the OCW. That said, in terms of what to memorize, I’d have a look at past questions on Burgundy and consider how you would make use of (or not) that level of detail. If you had to write a paragraph about Gevrey-Chambertin in the context of contrasting paragraphs on Pinot Noir producing areas around the world, probably not. If you had to name three Gevrey-Chambertin grand cru vineyards and comment briefly on the factors in the vineyard that determine their style, quite possibly. While I think the first of those possibilities is much more likely than the second, the last thing I want to do is tell someone not to memorize something only to have it come up on the exam.

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