National shorthand exams

National shorthand exams are held for external candidates in September, January and May.

The next available National shorthand exams take place on Friday, 16 September at 100wpm (10.00am) and 60wpm (11.30am). Bookings will open at 1pm on Monday, 18 July and will close at 5pm on Friday 19 August. Please ensure to book your exam(s) in good time, as the NCTJ are unable to accept late booking requests.

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

Shorthand National exam timetable:

National exam date Speed(s) Time Bookings open Booking deadline Results (by 5pm)
Thursday, 12 May 2022 100wpm/60wpm 10am/11.30am Monday, 21 March 2022 Friday, 15 April 2022 Tuesday, 24 May 2022
Friday, 16 September 2022 100wpm/60wpm 10am/11.30am Monday, 18 July 2022 Friday, 19 August 2022 Tuesday, 27 September 2022
Thursday, 19 January 2023 100wpm/60wpm 10am/11.30am Monday, 21 November 2022 Friday, 23 December 2022 Tuesday, 31 January 2023
Thursday, 18 May 2023 100wpm/60wpm 10am/11.30am Monday, 20 March 2023 Friday, 21 April 2023 Tuesday, 30 May 2023
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Further information

Shorthand exam dictation is delivered by the NCTJ in a recorded audio format, to ensure consistency for all candidates. Transcription is conducted in the Cirrus online assessment platform.

Exam dictation at 60wpm is four minutes long and split into two passages (2mins + 2mins) with an error tolerance of 3%.

Exam dictation at 100wpm is four minutes long and split into three passages (2mins + 1min + 1min) with an error tolerance of 3%. In the final passage, a key quote must also be identified and transcribed accurately.

Click here to read the marking guide for full details of how the exams are assessed.

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