National exams

National examination dates are offered in April/May, July and November/December each year. These dates are open to anyone wishing to sit an NCTJ Diploma in Journalism exam. They are the exam dates for distance learners, trainees and those who are no longer on course and need to re-sit an exam.

Candidates should apply direct to the NCTJ by completing the application form on the left hand side by the stated deadline. Applications received after this date may not be accepted. Candidates must ensure that they are ready for, and are able to sit the scheduled exam before submitting an application. All exam fees are payable on application and are non-refundable.

** Candidates taking up an approved deferral of an examination MUST book the required exam(s) as above and forward the approval document to the NCTJ on application.

National exam dates for 2017-18 are as follows:

Exam 2017 2018 2018 Time
Essential Journalism 13 November 23 April 16 July 10am - 12pm
Essential Media Law 15 November 25 April 18 July 9.30am - 12pm
Media Law Court Reporting 15 November 25 April 18 July 2.30pm - 4pm
Public Affairs 17 November 27 April 20 July 2pm - 3.45pm
Sports Journalism 12 December 15 May   10am - 2pm
Production Journalism 14 December 17 May   2pm - 4.30pm
Business of Magazines 7 December 10 May   2pm - 3.45pm
Videojournalism for Online 8 December 11 May   10am - 12pm
Broadcast Regulation   30 April   2pm - 3pm
Broadcast TV News   1 May   10am - 12pm
Broadcast Radio News   2 May   10am - 11.30am
Business and Finance 17 November 27 April   10am - 12.30pm
Newspaper Magazine Regulation Test 13 November 23 April 16 July 1pm - 1.30pm

To download this table, please click here

Click here to view the national exam dates for 2018-19.

The NCTJ will allocate candidates to the centre where they will sit the exams. A local/preferred centre cannot be guaranteed due to availability/demand. Candidates must be prepared to travel to sit exams.


When an exam application is received, the NCTJ will confirm your entry by email.

Approximately two weeks prior to an exam date, reporting instructions and a timetable will be sent to you by email confirming your centre and exam details.

Results are issued by email within six weeks of the exams.

Newspaper Magazine Regulation Test:

A - 10/10

B - 9/10

C - 8/10

D - 7/10

E - 6/10

All other modules:

A - 70% +

B - 60 - 69%

C - 50 - 59%

D - 40 - 49%

E - 30 - 39%

Sitting exams abroad

Those not studying/based in the UK may enquire about sitting certain exams at a British Council abroad. Candidates wishing to sit Diploma in Journalism exams abroad should approach the British Council offices in that country regarding their ability to host NCTJ exams.

If the British Council is able to host the applicable exams please send contact details to to finalise the arrangements.

Exams are scheduled to be held at UK time and may not be altered. The NCTJ will confirm examination times for locations abroad.

The following exams cannot be sat abroad due to software requirements and the technical support needed:

  • Essential Journalism
  • Newspaper Magazine regulation test
  • Production Journalism
  • Broadcast Radio News
  • Broadcast TV News
  • Videojournalism
  • Shorthand