General Journalism / NCTJ

End of exams and the NCTJ. Part 1.

After a very stressful couple of weeks, all the NCTJ exams are over and I am preparing to go travelling! I keep meaning to blog about the exams, after documenting my whole fast-track journey on here but life has taken over, and with only a couple of days before I jet off, I have had loads to sort out.

LUCKILY the dreaded snow managed to sort itself out and I was able to do all my exams with no worries. Trains were a bit dodgy and delayed, but the organised side of me made sure I was there early every day, so delayed trains couldn’t cause me any problem!

So here is how they all went…

Shorthand

In the dreaded exam week, we had a shorthand exam on the Friday afternoon. The one thing about shorthand is constant practice, but with so many exams that week that needed a hell of a lot of revision, it was hard to make time for shorthand practice. I tried to do at least one passage a day at 100wpm to prepare me, even though the 80wpm was on the Friday. Anyway, all went well in the end because I passed 80wpm with 100%. Yay! It was a nice passage actually and a lot of people did well on it. It wasn’t until the following Friday that we had 100wpm, which we don’t get the results until Tuesday for, when I will be in Thailand. It wasn’t the best passage, and it wasn’t the worst either. I did manage to get it all down, but reading it back was tricky and coming out the classroom I know for definite I’ve made at least 5 or 6 mistakes, we can only have 9 to pass. FINGERS CROSSED.

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Brand new shorthand notebook and pen for my final 100wpm exam!

Law, Court Reporting and Public Affairs

I want to put these together, because we have already got out provisional results back. Public Affairs was on the Tuesday and both the law exams were one after the other on the Wednesday. We didn’t have the best PA paper – although the majority of questions were okay, they all had small parts of them that I didn’t really understand and ended up blagging and waffling on about, but TYPING exams was almost my saviour as I managed to get loads down, whatever I remembered about the subject. My provisional grade is an A, yay!! The first Essential Law exam I found surprisingly okay, I had never done a full mock paper timed before either, but with each scenario I read I was surprised that the law was coming straight to my head, with the section, and the detail! I don’t even know if I would be able to remember anything now though… Court Reporting was a lot shorter exam, and although I thought it was harder, I managed to do better in it! I got A’s in both law exams too, I was absolutely buzzing when I got my results!

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Bye bye books…

Production

This was a weird one, as it was near the end of the week when all the hard exams were over. You can’t really revise for it and we knew what we were expecting. It is subbing down copy to fit the box, proof reading and writing headlines. Headlines isn’t my best skill so I tried to make them as plain and as obvious as possible. I tried hard on the proofing exercise to use all the symbols and to find every error I could. I quite enjoyed this bit, I find it easier than the other questions to notice the mistakes and so I hope I brought up my grade on it. The rest was very standard, cutting out words and replacing errors. Although my computer did crash half way through and luckily we managed to save it and move onto another computer before anything was lost! Not sure when results are out, these are externally marked.

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Example subbing part a.

Reporting

Just awful. Reporting was always going to be the worst exam. It was the first one, and the worst one! I have always managed to complete the paper within the time limit, if not before, during the mocks but for some reason I ran out of time in the real thing! I wasn’t happy with my angle, I noticed mistakes when I was printing it off AND it took about 20 minutes for me to cut down one of my stories to the required word limit! I wasn’t happy with it at all but it seems so long ago now that I have blocked it out, hence why I left it last to write about! I know I will have to retake, which is possibly an option when I come back from travelling to try and get the gold standard!

Portfolio

The final grade we will be getting back is our portfolio, although I am not sure when, or how… time will tell.

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The wonderful moment my portfolio was submitted!

 

I can’t believe the course is finally over after only 3 and a bit months of studying. It has been such a whirlwind, so stressful, and very time consuming, but more about that on my next post!

Also my revision wall… very much empty now!

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