Shorthand exam format to change from September

The format of NCTJ shorthand exams at speeds of 90 to 120 wpm will change from September so trainees can “hit the ground running” when they enter their first newsroom.

The revised format will include a key quote in the second half of the four-minute exam, which students must identify and take down accurately to pass. 

The exams have been redeveloped in response to employers wanting to ensure trainee reporters listen to and understand what has been said while recording it accurately in shorthand. 

David Rowell, group editorial development executive of Johnston Press, supported the change at the Shorthand seminar in June. 

He said: “This is a massive challenge because it means changing the shorthand learning and examining culture, but it is critical if you are going to provide editors with journalists who can hit the ground running from day one.

“This means changing the emphasis of the NCTJ exam format – it can only be for the good of our future journalists – and journalism.”

Sample exams at speeds of 90-100 wpm will be uploaded onto the NCTJ’s website at the end of August. This will give students and trainees the opportunity to experience the new format first hand and to develop their selective note-taking skills.