Forty-seven per cent of trainees pass July NQJ exams

Forty-seven per cent of trainees who sat the National Qualification in Journalism (NQJ) exams in July achieved the qualification. This is the lowest pass rate since the NQJ was first sat in 2013.

A lower number of candidates sat the exams on Friday, 6 July across five centres, a total of 36 candidates compared to 53 in July 2017.

Of the 36 candidates who sat the exams, 17 were successful in all four parts – media law and practice, news report, news interview and e-logbook – achieving ‘senior journalist’ status.

There was an improved pass rate of 77 per cent in the media law and practice exam, up from 65 per cent in the previous sittings in March.

The exam tested defamation, contempt, absolute privilege, copyright law and some ethical elements. The moderator said: “A pleasing set of papers, with few outright failures and a couple of excellent papers”.

The July NQJ also saw a return of the 100 per cent pass rate for e-logbook, the fourth in succession since July 2017. The moderator commented: “An excellent round of submissions showing that trainees have a clear grasp of what is required from the logbook key tasks.”

The news report exam asked candidates to report on a story about twin brothers arrested on suspicion of drug smuggling in Peru, and produced an overall pass rate of 47 per cent.

The moderator attributed the lower-than-usual pass rate to poor shorthand, and candidates not blending both existing and new information into one comprehensive story.

The news interview paper featured a story about raiders who broke into an auction house and stole artwork and jewellery worth £1m in an incident which lasted just 10 minutes. The exam had a pass rate of 59 per cent, with 19 successful candidates from the 32 who sat the exam.

Poor shorthand was again noted as an issue, alongside candidates not reading their work back, but the moderator added: “There were some good pieces submitted by successful candidates who showed they understood the chronology of the story and also constructed their copy so it was readable and easy to follow, containing the drama, all the relevant facts, and backed up by strong quotes.”

You can now read about the award winners and see the full examiners’ report.

The next National Qualification in Journalism exam will take place on Friday, 2 November 2018. The closing date for enrolment is Friday, 21 September 2018.