Tomorrow is a big day and it has nothing to do with the Pope. No, tomorrow is all about 100wpm and my first attempt at a shorthand exam (I have already sat one but didn’t submit so it doesn’t count).
However this isn’t just any shorthand exam. It’s a new version and guess what, it’s easier. The new format has just recently been rolled out and the exam on Friday is the first of its kind to be held at my training centre in Wimbledon.
The first two minutes are the same as normal, followed by the usual 30 second break. However, it’s in the second half of the exam when things take an unusual twist as there is a further 15 seconds rest between the third and fourth minute.
But the biggest change of all comes in the final minute which contains a very important quote that you are expected to get down word for word, no mistakes. But get this, that’s all you have to get down; the rest of the minute doesn’t even have to be transcribed.
Now in light of recent articles questioning the use of shorthand and its necessity in modern journalism, I can’t help thinking that the NCTJ aren’t helping themselves by making the exam decidedly easier.
Do they think this is a better test of the skill, or do they just need a boost in the pass rate? I know many of the people who have already passed on my course feel that the exam can be passed now with less effort than before. In truth I am not sure how the change benefits the future journalist. But as all I need to do is pass, you won’t hear me complaining.
Now, if only I could keep up for the first two minutes….