How to Pass a Transcription Test


Unlike 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 time limit or you will fail. But don’t let pressure or anxiety slow you down.

Here are some steps you will have to follow to prepare yourself to pass the transcription test.

1. Prepare a Resume

If you meet a company’s qualifications, you can send in your resume and they may contact you for a test if they like your qualifications. Important experience to mention on your resume include 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.

2. Make sure you’re up to speed.

Check what the company’s minimum required typing speed is. If your typing speed is not your strongest point, you might want to practice first to improve it. Get more info on increasing your typing speed with typing tutorials.

Make sure to check the grammar and spelling before sending the finished transcript back to the company. If you have done well with the test, they will contact you for transcription work when available. Some companies will contact you pretty quickly will others may take weeks to get in touch with you.

3. Grammar

Brush up on your grammar if needed.

4. Get transcription equipment and software 

Make sure that you have the equipment and software ready to do the test. 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.

5. Practice 

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.

6. Follow directions

It’s very important to follow the company’s 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. You’ll fail the test if you don’t.

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 contract fairly quickly. Sometimes it can take weeks or months. A lot of companies only hire periodiacally so you have to hit it right, and who knows when that is. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear from a company after testing or applying to them. Sometimes you’ll never hear back, sometimes you may hear back months later. You just never know.

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. One company mentioned that you need to delete your original application and then reapply with a different email as their system will detect that they already have an application for you and it won’t let you reapply with the same email. So, 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.

You can find general and business transcription practice files at

Resources to learn transcription

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