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Coronavirus forces cancellation of MW exams

The Institute of Masters of Wine has cancelled this year’s exams in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a letter to all MW students, the Institute said that the global challenges brought about by coronavirus have forced it to review and rethink all its activities.

As a result, it has cancelled this year’s ‘closed book’ exam, as well as the stage one assessment (S1A).

‘These are not decisions that we have taken lightly, but ones that we feel are necessary for health, safety and quality reasons,’ said the Institute’s head of study programme and development, Sarah Harrison.

‘We have continued to monitor the situation closely and the most recent guidance suggests that restrictions on gatherings and travel will still be in place in June.

‘We, therefore, do not feel confident that we can run the closed book exam and S1A whilst keeping MWs, students and the IMW executive team safe.’

Several countries have effectively introduced lockdowns in order to limit the spread of coronavirus, also known as Covid-19. The UK became the latest country to do so last night (23 March), telling people to stay home except for food and medicine trips, and one exercise session per day.

What happens next with the MW programme?

Stage two MW students, who will have missed their opportunity for the closed book exam, will be able to defer their place on the study programme and sit the S1A in 2021, said the Institute.

‘This year (2020) will not be considered an attempt and you will not be required to repeat coursework you have already completed this year,’ said Harrison.

The Institute said it has emailed all students outlining their options. It hopes to be in a position to plan next year’s study programme and seminars as soon as students have responded.

Students have been asked to state their preferences before 6 April.

‘We recognise how hard you have all worked to prepare for the June exam or the S1A and appreciate that this will be difficult news for many of you,’ said Harrison.

‘As such, our discussions have been focused on ensuring that the solutions that we offer you all are guided by fairness, empathy and compassion, while maintaining the quality and integrity of the closed book exam and S1A.’

WSET advice for students

Separately, the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) has closed its London school until May. It also said that many of its course providers around the world have also closed their doors for the time being.

In an update on the WSET website, it recommended contacting course providers for updates on exam timings.

The WSET courses are seen as a precursor to the MW.

There are 396 MWs in the world,with the latest seven only announced one month ago.

See also:

Bordeaux en primeur cancelled – what happens now?

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