How to Study for the 2022 SAKE DIPLOMA Exam


For those who are taking the Japanese version of the SAKE DIPLOMA certification exam, we have released the trends and strategies for the 2022 exam, which includes information that will also be useful for those taking the SAKE DIPLOMA International certification exam, which we will share.

Review of the 2021 exam

We conducted an independent survey of 149 students who passed the first round of the exam in 2021. Here are the results, broken down by category.

Q. What was the difficulty level of the 2021 exam?

About half of the respondents answered that the difficulty level was “as expected,” the same as in FY2020. This can be attributed to the fact that it has become easier to gather information on the Internet and that teaching materials such as question collections have become more complete. As a result, the number of respondents who answered “it was difficult” dropped 6 points from the previous year. However, the difficulty level is expected to increase in the future due to an increase in shochu problems and changes in the question format.

Q. Which areas did you find the most questions in?

Until FY2020, most of the questions were taken from “Brewing methods and types of sake” and “Profiles of major production areas,” but in FY2021, many respondents said that the questions were taken from “Profiles of major production areas” and “Shochu”. In particular, the ratio of questions from “shochu” increased, with more than 70% of respondents saying that “shochu” stood out.

Q. What kind of impression did you get after taking the actual test? (Free answer)

  • There were more questions about shochu than I expected; almost 20 questions made me think I was taking a shochu exam!
  • Many of the questions asked about the events of each year of shochu.
  • About 20% of the questions are related to shochu, so how you score on shochu will determine whether you pass or fail.
  • There are many questions that cannot be answered unless you remember the characteristics of each major production area.
  • Many of the questions were about Aomori, Tochigi, Shizuoka, and Toyama.
  • Rather than asking about the year in which the event took place, many of the questions seemed to ask about what happened in that year.

Trends and Strategies for 2022

In the 2021 exam, the difficulty level of the questions themselves remained the same as before, but the number of examinees who felt that the difficulty level had increased due to the diversification of the question formats increased. In the past, most of the options were words, but from the 2021 exam, many of the questions seemed to be sentences. In order to cope with such questions, it is more important than ever to read the textbooks, because it is not possible to cope with such questions only with question collections. Therefore, it is more important than ever to read the textbooks.(However, this trend does not apply to the SAKE DIPLOMA International exam because it is not a multiple choice exam but a writing exam.)

The number of questions related to shochu is on the rise, so it is necessary to study shochu as well as sake. In addition, the number of questions about pairing with food has also increased from “compatibility between shochu/awamori and food”. It is not realistic to memorize all of the sake and food pairings, but there is no harm in memorizing all of the shochu because there is only a small amount of information about shochu.

On the other hand, there is a decreasing trend in year number questions. In the past, most of the questions asked students to choose a year related to an event, but from the year 2021, the number of questions asking students to choose an event related to a year has increased. In the past, most of the questions asked students to choose the year of the event. In any case, it is important to memorize the most important historical events and year numbers as a set.

In the year 2022, it is important to read the textbooks over and over again from an early stage. You will be required not only to memorize, but also to organize the information in your mind and put it into practice. I believe that the change from memorization-based examinations to comprehension-based examinations will become more pronounced in the 2022 examinations.

As a graduate of SAKE DIPLOMA, I would like to support everyone who will take the exam in 2022. If you have any problems or would like to discuss anything, please do not hesitate to contact us. I would be happy to provide you with useful information based on the data obtained from last year’s development of teaching materials and examinees.

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