Last Updated on August 17, 2023 by Jeremy
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So, you've taken a WSET exam and got your results. Hopefully you have received positive news that you passed. But if you didn't, or are simply looking for more information on your scores, you have some options!
WSET has a little talked-about form where you can request your score breakdown (WSET Level 3 or WSET Diploma only) or “challenge” your result with a re-evaluation (all levels). For those who fail a module, you also are able to request feedback to get insight from evaluators before you re-sit.
So in this one, we thought we'd discuss why you may want to receive a score breakdown and give more details on how the process works.
Note: Prices in this one are based on the listed fees after my last exam in 2023. It is entirely likely that prices will rise over time and may not be reflected in this article. Likewise, note that deadlines may also be liable to change.
Why Would You Request a Score Breakdown?
When it comes down to it, there may be several reasons why you would like to request your exam scores in the WSET program.
First, and perhaps the most logical case, is that you failed and want to see if you were close to the bar of passing. For those who are close and want to challenge the result, WSET has a separate application where you can apply to request an “Enquiry and Feedback on Examination Results” in which another evaluator will look at your exam one more time.
While it is not a guarantee, it has happened several times that students have submitted this form (and extra fee), another evaluator reviewed their test, and a failing grade has been overturned to become a pass. As this one comes with a much higher fee associated, which is only refunded with a successful grade change, paying for a percentage breakdown request in the interim may indicate if paying the higher fee is worth the attempt or not outright.
Would I pay £100+ to challenge a grade if I failed by 7-10 points? Probably not. Would I pay that to challenge a grade if I failed by 1-2? Absolutely. The lower, £26 fee to request a score may be a good first start to determine if it is worth pursuing outright.
Second, you may simply want feedback on how well you did. In my case for WSET D3, for example, I passed two theory questions with merit, passed two only with a pass, and failed one. On tasting, I passed two flights with merit and two with only a pass as well. While this was more or less on par with what I expected after walking away from the exam, curiosity got the better of me, and I wanted to know my exact points.
I know the question I failed was my weakest, but did I fail by one point or several? I had to know. Likewise, knowing my overall score for D3, I could calculate my odds of finishing the entire program with a merit classification or just a pass. With one distinction (≥75%), four merits (≥65%), and a pass (55%-64%) in the six modules, I was probably right at the line. Admittedly, I could have also just waited for the final certificate to come out, but hey, I'm impatient and love data science.
- As of my last exam in 2023, the weighting breakdown for your final Diploma score is 20% for D1, 10% for D2, 50% for D3, 5% for D4, 5% for D5, and 10% for D6. Based on my minimum scores in the previous five modules (merit/distinction), and the large weighting of D3 outright, my D3 score really put me right at the edge.
Finally, some students simply like seeing the score breakdown as a vote of confidence before moving into Diploma or future modules outright.
Did you barely pass Level 3 or were you closer to merit? That difference could be enough to help you decide to move on to Diploma outright. Did you pass D1 with merit that was closer to Distinction or closer to only just passing? In some cases, simply knowing where you fell within your score band could give you peace of mind that you're on the right track in your studies or motivate you to switch up your habits for the next module (as always, note we have tips for every exam on our site from WSET Level 2 through every Diploma module linked in our navigation menu!).
We're not going to judge the reason you may have for requesting a score breakdown, so instead, let's move on to the process of making that happen!
How to Request a Score Breakdown in WSET
As of my final exam in 2023, students in Level 3 classes (Wine, Spirits, and Sake) and all Diploma modules can request a score breakdown after their exam results come out. APP's (your local school) typically receive score breakdowns for Level 1 and 2 classes, so this typically does not apply there- our school told us our actual results when we passed Level 2.
Local APPs can send you a “Request for Percentage Breakdown of Examination Mark” form that you can fill out and return to WSET's London office within 10 business days of the issuing of examination results. The form notes that requests received after 10 days will not be processed. As such, those who do not live in the United Kingdom will do well to send this form electronically over mail to ensure it is received in time.
- As the form can change over time, we are not uploading it here. Reach out to your school to request this directly as soon as you receive your exam results. As of publishing, some of the forms were also available for download, here. However, it appears the enquiry form for Diploma was not listed at the time of publication.
After receipt, WSET will send a payment link for students to submit payment to receive a score breakdown. In 2023, the payment was £26 per request. Level 3 classes receive score breakdowns as part of one fee, whereas each module in WSET Diploma requires a separate fee. It is also worth noting that in WSET D3, the theory and tasting components each require a separate fee for results to be sent out- so £52 in total for both.
Per the form, WSET will then send out percentage marks within 10 business days of receipt. My results for D3 came a few days shy of the 10 day mark as follows:
For the D3 module, my questions each received their own score breakdown as you can see in the image above. I am not sure how other modules are reported, as I did not request my scores for these, but this gave me some solid feedback all the same- namely how my weakest and strongest questions panned out just like I expected.
Furthermore, since D3 was my final module, it also let me determine that I was mathematically a lock for hitting Merit on the Diploma program as a whole due to the weighting of each module (I used the minimum score for the other categories as a proxy). Hooray!
How to Request a Re-Grade for WSET Exams
For those who wish to have more information beyond a percentage breakdown, you will want to request an “Enquiry and Feedback on Examinations Results” form from your local APP.
Much like the score request form, this, too, must be returned to WSET London within 10-15 business days of receipt of your result- so from your initial receipt of exam results, you only have a limited window to send these forms in.
While I did not send in this form for subsequent results, as I was content with my scores overall, I asked for a copy from my local APP just to see prices and timelines.
Unlike the score request form, this one was applicable for all programs and all levels 1, 2, 3, and Diploma in wine and for options of just “Enquiry” (defined as a re-grade) and “Enquiry and Feedback” (re-grade with written feedback). While all students can request an enquiry, only those who fail can request feedback.
In 2023, the cost to submit this form was £44 for enquiry only for all Level 3 modules, with the fee needing to be paid separately for theory and tasting if you wanted both. Enquiry and feedback prices were £93 for theory and £60 for tasting, respectively. On the Diploma side of the spectrum, prices were £127 for enquiry and £185 for enquiry plus feedback for D1, D2, and D6, respectively, and £79 for enquiry and £127 for enquiry plus feedback for both the tasting and theory portions of D3, D4, and D5, respectively (so if you want an enquiry on both tasting and theory, you're paying double).
To make matters worse, D3 also has an additional layer that those fees are per question, whereas D4 and D5 are for the entire module.
So if you were to go for enquiry only for all questions and all flights in D3, you'd be paying £79 per question, for nine questions, totaling a grand total of £711. If you failed all of those questions and wanted feedback, your total balloons out to £1,143!
As such, this is one reason we think paying the much more nominal fee of £26.00 per exam for a score breakdown is a good first step- particularly at the Diploma level. If it comes back that you failed D3 by one or two points and have one or two questions that are clear outliers, being strategic in what questions you pay for may go a long way.
In my own case, I was only just a few points away from an overall Merit score in D3, and while I was bummed that it was that close, it didn't seem worth the effort to challenge seeing as how I already passed. (Furthermore, there is no indication that WSET would raise your overall ranking from a pass to pass with merit in the event of a successful enquiry- most students typically submit these to try and go from fail to pass. If you've done the former case, please let us know!)
Finally, it is worth noting that evaluation and feedback results can take upwards of 60 days to process after receipt, meaning the entire cycle from pass/fail issuance to this point may be upwards of three months. As such, those who go this route may miss the deadline for signing up for the next exam date. From the issuing of my original exam results to the deadline to signing up for the next D3 exam sit date, there was only a three-week window where, had I failed, I would have to decide to sign up for the next one likely before receiving an update to an enquiry.
If you did fail and are paying to challenge, this is where things can get tricky. While WSET will refund feedback fees with a positive grade change (e.g. fail to pass), there is no public language on what would happen if you had already paid a re-site fee for a future exam. In this instance, having a conversation with your local APP before signing up is advised!
Overall, we love that WSET has this program in place for students to find out exact scores and to challenge exam results in an enquiry. Although it would be nice if we all received our score breakdown with our original results, for those who want to know the details, this is a great option to consider.
Have you paid for score results or to challenge an exam result in WSET? How did it turn out for you? Comment below to share!