Certified Specialist of Spirits
The Certified Specialist of Spirits (CSS) Exam is a rigorous exam, which tests a candidate's spirits knowledge and mastery of key elements within the world of distillation and spirits production. This certification is widely recognized and regarded by the international wine and spirits industry.
The CSS Exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions, all the material for which is drawn exclusively from the CSS Study Guide. The CSS Study Guide is included with the cost of a CSS Certification Exam sitting, and will be sent to you from the SWE Home Office upon purchase.
Candidates are provided with one (1) hour in which to complete the exam. There are no prerequisites required to take the CSS Exam. Successful candidates who achieve a score of 75% or better are entitled to use the CSS post-nominal as part of their professional signature. They will also receive a certificate (suitable for framing) and a CSS lapel pin.
CSS exams are available only at Pearson VUE testing centers. Candidates will be sent an authorization code after purchasing the exam credit on the SWE Website. With the authorization code, a CSS Exam may be scheduled through Pearson at the candidate’s preferred time and place. Pearson VUE Testing center locations are in almost every major city in the United States and available worldwide. Exam registrations are good for one full year from the date of purchase.
As of April 11, 2016 the current 2016 edition of the CSS Study Guide is available in a paperback version (included with the cost of the CSS exam). The 2016 ebook will be available soon – a release date is forthcoming. A CSS Workbook to accompany the 2016 version of the CSS Study Guide is in the final phases of publication and should be available by June 1st.
If you have already purchased the CSS Exam and received the 2015 Study Guide, your authorization code is for the 2015 exam. In other words, when you purchase the exam, you receive an authorization code based on the version of the Study Guide you received. CSS exams based on the 2015 version of the Study Guide will be available at Pearson Vue Centers until June 1 of 2017. The 2015 version is now available as an ebook on Amazon.com, and iTunes – however, before you purchase the ebook, please make sure you intended to buy the 2015 version.
The Society of Wine Educators offers many additional resources for CSS Candidates, including the following:
SWE is pleased to offer monthly SWEbinars based on the CSS Study Guide. SWEbinars are offered free of charge and available to the public. For more information and a schedule of our SWEbinars, please see our webpage at: http://winewitandwisdomswe.com/swebinars-2/swebinars/
Guided, 10-week online prep classes are provided, free of charge, to individual Professional Members of the SWE. You can find more information on the classes here: http://winewitandwisdomswe.com/csw-online-review-class/
The Online Spirits Academy is a supplemental online course, designed to aide candidates in their studies. It covers the same topics as the CSS Study Guide, while providing automatically graded quizzes and tests that help an individual understand what they need to study. Please note, though, that all questions on the CSS Exam are drawn from the CSS Study Guide.
The SWE also has a free mobile app, SWE Wine and Spirits Quiz, for iOS and Android devices. All of the questions in levels 1-5 are taken from the CSS and CSW Study Guides, everything in levels 6-10 are "CSS/CSW and beyond."
Click here to download the App for IOS!
Click here to download the App for Android!
The Society offers special rates for partnering corporations, private wine schools and accredited culinary schools and colleges/universities. Contact us for more information.
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