Unlike some other careers, you don’t have to worry about getting a degree to qualify for transcription work.
If you want to work as a general transcriptionist with no experience, you will typically have to pass a transcription test.
Transcription companies want to be sure that you can do the job correctly and to check your skills they will give you a transcription test before they will consider you for transcription work from home.
So, how do you pass a transcription test?
Passing a transcription test
The transcription test will be one or more audio files you must transcribe within a certain time span. The number of tests and the difficulty level of the tests vary from company to company. Some companies will give you a 5-15-minutes audio file to test, while others may give you several longer audio files.
You have to finish transcribing your test within the required time limit or you will fail. But don’t let pressure slow you down.
Here are some steps you will have to follow to prepare yourself to pass the transcription test.
1. Make sure you’re up to speed
Check what the company’s minimum required typing speed is. If your typing speed is not very fast, you might want to practice first to improve it. Get more info on increasing your typing speed with typing tutorials.
2. Get transcription equipment and software
You need to have a computer, high speed Internet connection and transcription software.
Express Scribe is popular transcription software. You can download this free transcription software online. This is the only software you’ll need to do the test with most companies. After downloading the software, make sure to install it. Make sure to check their requirements before starting the test.
A foot pedal will speed up your transcription. Most companies will not require that you have a foot pedal to do the test. You can use free transcription software to start, stop and rewind. But having a foot pedal will help you transcribe faster.
I also recommend that you invest in a high-end headphone. This is not required to do a transcription test but a good headphone will block disruptive sounds and you will also hear the audio files more clearly.
At the very least, practice transcribing. Get used to the software and to listening and transcribing audio. You can download free audio files from the Internet to practice. Practicing will help you prepare for transcription tests and will help you perform better on the tests. Your chances of passing the test will improve dramatically if you are well prepared.
If you’re getting serious about getting a transcription career, you can check out my general transcription practice files here. Practicing with real-life tapes and seeing the finished transcripts will make you feel more self-confident about your transcription skills and you can see how well you’re doing.
4. Prepare a Resume
Some companies want to get your resume to see if you meet their qualifications before you can test with them.
Important experience to mention on your resume includes any typing-related and administrative skills and experience, your typing speed and proficiency in English. Mention relevant experience even if you acquired it through volunteer work.
5. Check Spelling and Grammar
Make sure to check the spelling, grammar and punctuation before sending the finished transcript back to the company. Some companies will contact you pretty quickly after you pass their test while others may take weeks to get in touch with you. Brush up on your grammar if needed.
6. Follow directions and style guides
It’s very important to follow directions. Read the directions of each company you want to test for. Instructions will vary depending on the transcription company, client and industry. They may include formatting instructions and a style guide. Whether the company has a formal style guide or their own rules, make sure to follow them. The main reason people fail transcription tests is because they don’t follow the company’s instructions and style guide. You must strictly adhere to a companys guideline to pass their tests.
7. Spellcheck before submitting
Don’t forget to spellcheck and proof your work before submitting it. Speed is important but accuracy counts even more.
8. Be Persistent
Just test, test, and test and don’t become discouraged. Sometimes you can land a transcription job fairly quickly. Sometimes it can take weeks or months. A lot of companies only hire periodically so you have to hit them at the right time. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear from a company after testing or applying to them. Sometimes you may hear back from them weeks or months later and sometimes you’ll never hear from them.
Apply and to a test today. You may actually do better than you think you will. If you don’t do well, practice a little more and then re-apply.
Some companies will let you retest many times. Check their policies of reapplying before doing a test.
Good luck with your transcription test!
Find out how to get home-based transcription work without knowing medical terminology and without specialized training. Get my free report, How to Avoid Transcription Scams. Visit General Transcription Work from Home.
Resources to learn transcription