Facing down the D3 (Unit 3) exam? I’ve polled my Diploma Prep students who’ve recently been successful in their exams, to see what they found helpful as they prepared.

Here are the most popular suggestions:

1) Start At The End

This is a big exam, and the curriculum is massive. Sometimes, it helps to orient yourself at the end before beginning your studies. That means, reading the Candidate Assessment Guide, and reviewing past exams to look at exactly what is being asked of you in the exam. That way, as you complete the readings and take your notes, you will be doing it with an eye to the exam.

Action Step: Review the CAG and past exams. Make a list of past exam questions by question type.

2) Use Your ‘Spare’ Time

Having a regular study schedule, and ideally a dedicated study space, is very important. But there’s also time in your day that you can fill with studies. That means, downloading podcasts for the train, having youtube videos playing while you cook dinner, and flashcards while waiting for just about anything. This ‘found’ time adds up. One app suggested as a time filler by several students is Voice Dream (you can add all kinds of documents and have the app read them out loud to you - such as chapters of the OCW or your unit’s reading materials. Bonus: you get to choose the voice!).

Action Step: Add podcasts, videos, and apps to your weekly study list. For some ideas, see Resources.

3) Cut Out TV, Internet Browse Time & Most Social Media

This won’t be very popular, but cutting these out, or reducing them, will add significantly to your study time. Social Media can be a time suck, try sticking to focused and topical browsing (think tasting events and wine critics, not pictures of your cousin’s new boat).

Action Step: Choose your ‘can’t miss’ media, and cut out the rest.

4) Low & Slow, or Cram Plan

There are two main paths to the D3 (Unit 3) Diploma exam, slow and steady, or desperately and all at once (hands up, all procrastinators!). The students who’ve performed the best overwhelmingly come from the Low & Slow group. Yes, you can cram for a few weeks before the exam and might pass, especially if you have a strong wine background. However, studying a little each day, consistently each week, several months in advance is the way to succeed.

Action Step: Create a weekly study calendar and stick with it.

5) Positive Mindset

A student had tried several times to pass their exam but been unsuccessful. Maybe they should give up? Never! My advice, is to write on your mirror, on your fridge, put it on your wallpaper: “I’ve passed the D3 exam with Distinction”. WSET students have to adopt this type of positive thinking, visualizing their success regularly, in order to keep up the motivation necessary for all the studying. Yes, it’s a little unorthodox, but it works.

Action Step: Write positive statements about your success, everywhere!

If you want some extra help preparing for your exam, be sure to check out the D3 (Unit 3) Prep Course. It’s a system to guide you through your studies in an organized and strategic way, with the ultimate goal of passing your exam successfully.