Exam details and structure

Shorthand is an elective module on the NCTJ Level 3 Diploma in Journalism. Exams are offered at speeds of 60, 70 and 80 wpm which are four minutes long and split into two passages. Each passage is two minutes with a thirty second interval after the first passage.

Shorthand exams are also offered at speeds of 100, 110 and 120 wpm which are four minutes long and split into three passages. The first passage is two minutes long followed by a thirty second interval. The second passage is one minute long followed by a fifteen second interval. The third passage is one minute long and contains the quote. Only the quote will be marked from the final one minute passage.

All NCTJ shorthand exams are taken and transcribed in the NCTJ's online assessment platform, Cirrus.

Marking guide for 60-80wpm exams: 2 minutes, 2 minutes – four minutes total with no more than three percent error:

60 wpm 70wpm 80 wpm
240 words 280 words 320 words
7 or fewer errors 8 or fewer errors 9 or fewer errors
25 minutes transcription time 30 minutes transcription time 35 minutes transcription time

Marking guide for 100-120wpm exams: 2 minutes, 1 minute - first 3 minutes with no more than 3% error and the quote must also be be transcribed accurately in order to achieve a pass:

100 wpm 110 wpm 120 wpm
300 words 330 words 360 words
9 or fewer errors 10 or fewer errors 11 or fewer errors
45 minutes transcription time 55 minutes transcription time 65 minutes transcription time

Please see the below sample transcriptions as guidance to the difference in format of a 60-80wpm exam and a 100-120wpm exam. The marking guide is also provided to demonstrate how the module is assessed.