In the early days of the BJCP, judges were expected to master the body of knowledge by reading third-party books and practicing their judging skills. Several senior BJCP judges later developed their own study guides based on their experiences studying for the exam. These materials were widely shared online, and became the basis for a BJCP-sponsored study guide that was first published in the mid-1990s. This guide was modified several times to incorporate changes in BJCP practices, particularly as the style guidelines were revised and the exam format updated. As mead and cider exams were created, separate study guides for those topics were produced.

This BJCP Beer Exam Study Guide is not meant to be a complete tutorial on beer, brewing, and judging. Rather, it is designed to summarize material relevant to the types of questions asked on the BJCP beer exams. As the BJCP has expanded and matured, a much broader set of information is available through the BJCP website than when this guide was first written. The BJCP Beer Exam Study Guide is meant to complement these resources, as well as the extensive list of external readings. 

We understand that the body of knowledge continues to expand and that written documentation does not always keep pace. Users of this material should use good judgment if portions of this guide appear to be out-of-date. We also understand that study guides are sometimes used as a substitute for actual learning the material; we strongly recommend that examinees read the references, acquire actual brewing skills through brewing their own beer, and develop practical judging skills through judging in actual competitions.