NCTJ exams to be made 'realistic'

The speech section of the NCTJ’s professional qualification for newspaper reporters has been revised to make the exam more "realistic".

The National Certificate Exam’s (NCE) updated format, called news report, will feature a longer briefing paper, followed by a five-minute speech that tests the candidate’s ability of selective note-taking.

The revised test, developed by the newspaper journalist examination board, headed by David Gledhill, was rolled out last Friday at 17 centres across the UK. As part of additional administrative changes, candidates will get their results on 31 May, 10 days earlier than in previous years.

Joanne Butcher, NCTJ chief executive, said that in consultation with editors, the council found that trainees would continue to be tested on their ability to report the spoken word using their shorthand and ability to spot an angle. "But the speech exam needed modernising and making more realistic," she said. "Candidates have to take information from at least two sources and merge them into a clear, vigorous and balanced news story in one hour."

Candidates need to achieve an average of 60 per cent across the four sections of news interview, news report, newspaper practice and logbook to pass.

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