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National exams

National exams for the Diploma in Journalism are offered in Nov/Dec, April/May and July each year.

The next National exams take place in April 2024. Bookings are now open and will close on 11 March for exams in April.

Eligibility: National exams are open to external candidates only (e.g. distance learners, candidates on non-accredited courses, industry candidates, and those who are no longer on course with a centre and need to re-sit an exam). Candidates studying on a journalism course at an NCTJ-accredited centre are not able to enter National exams while still on course. Your centre will deliver your exams.

You must ensure you are ready for, and able to sit, the scheduled exam before booking. All exam fees are payable at the point of booking. In the event of a cancellation or non-attendance, exams are non-refundable. Deferrals will only be considered in exceptional circumstances, in line with the NCTJ reasonable adjustments and special considerations policy.

If you have any queries regarding National exams, then please contact exams@nctj.com or call us on 01799 544 014

National exam timetable:

Exam 2023-24 2024 2024 Time
Essential Journalism 13 November 2023 15 April 2024 08 July 2024 10:00 – 12:00
Essential Media Law 15 November 2023 17 April 2024 10 July 2024 09:30 – 12:00
Media Law Court Reporting 15 November 2023 17 April 2024 10 July 2024 14:30 – 16:00
Public Affairs 17 November 2023 19 April 2024 12 July 2024 14:00 – 15:45
Sports Journalism 5 December 2023 14 May 2024 10:00 – 14:00
Editing Skills for Journalists 7 December 2023 16 May 2024 14:00 – 16:30
Videojournalism for Digital Platforms 8 December 2023 24 May 2024 10:00 – 12:00
Broadcast Regulation 15 January 2024 20 May 2024 14:00 – 15:00
Business and Finance 17 November 2023 19 April 2024 10:00 – 12:30
Newspaper Magazine Regulation Test
(for the essential journalism
ethics and regulation module)
13 November 2023 15 April 2024 08 July 2024 13:00 – 13:30
Intro to PR for Journalists 30 January 2024 23 April 2024 14:00 – 16:00
PR and Communications for Journalists 25 January 2024 25 April 2024 Part 1: 09:30 – 12:00
Part 2: 13:00 – 14:30
Journalism for a digital audience 12 January 2024 23 May 2024 10:00 – 11:30
Data journalism 12 January 2024 23 May 2024 13:00 – 14:15
Practical magazine journalism 06 March 2024 10:00 – 16:00
Radio news 17 January 2024 22 May 2024 10:00 – 11:30

Book now.

Booking opening/closing dates

Exam sittings Bookings open (1pm) Bookings close (5pm)
November 2023 1 September 2023 9 October 2023
December 2023 1 September 2023 31 October 2023
January 2024 1 September 2023 7 December 2023
April 2024 29 January 2024 11 March 2024
May 2024 29 January 2024 9 April 2024
July 2024 22 May 2024 3 June 2024

Deferred exams

If you have had a previous exam deferred, you can book using our deferral form.

Further information

The NCTJ offers candidates the option to sit National exams at an academic centre, in-office if your company has suitable facilities available, or remotely at home.

When a booking has been processed, we will confirm your exam entry via email. Approximately two weeks prior to the exam date, reporting instructions and a timetable will be sent to you via email confirming the exam details. Results are issued by email within six weeks of the exam date.

Sitting exams overseas

Candidates not studying/based in the UK may enquire about sitting National exams remotely or in-centre at a British Council venue. Overseas candidates wishing to sit exams in-centre should approach the British Council offices in that country regarding their ability to host the exam.

If the British Council is able to host the exam, please send contact details to alison.puttock@nctj.com to finalise the arrangements.

Exams are scheduled to be held at UK time and may not be altered.

The following exams cannot be sat in-centre overseas due to software requirements and the technical support needed:

  • Broadcast radio news
  • Broadcast TV news
  • Editing skills for journalists
  • Shorthand
  • Videojournalism for digital platforms

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