10 Useful Tips To Pass Any Transcription Test

Passing transcription tests seems like an uphill task. But if you have the right transcription skills, this should be a walk in the park. You should be able to pass any transcription test without breaking a sweat.

When doing transcription tests, you will notice that different companies have different style guides to be followed. Here are 11 incredibly useful tips that will enable you to pass any transcription test.

1. Read and Understand the Style Guide

Each and every company has its own style guide, which means there are some rules to be followed. When you’re given a transcription test, make sure you have understood the style guide so well. Most of the time, what the company is looking for is someone who is able to follow rules and pay attention to details. You will notice that even if you’re a great transcriber, and you’re poor at following rules, it will be hard for you to pass any transcription test.

So, before you even think of listening to the transcription audio test, make sure you have gone through the guide thoroughly, and you have understood what is expected of you. You can go through the guide several times until you are comfortably understood everything.

2. Listen Keenly

Having a keen ear is important for every transcriber. When you’re given a transcription test, make sure you have gone through the audio first to understand what the context of the file is. Listen carefully to what the speaker is speaking about, also make sure you’re able to decipher words. 

Make sure that you’re focused on the transcription test without any distractions. Typing so many words at ago can affect your accuracy, you should make sure that you’re grasping just a few words at ago as you transcribe them bit by bit until you’re done with the file.

There are instances where you might not get some words, in which you’re allowed to use the inaudible tag [inaudible] or [unintelligible] or whatever the company’s style guide allows you to use. Note that most transcription tests are timed, so you will need to use your best judgment to move as fast as you can.

3. Transcription Tools

As an independent freelance contractor, you will need to invest in the right transcription tools. Each and every job has its online work tools, and transcription is no exception. First, you need to have a computer with Internet connections and a pair of headphones, and other transcription tools or software. 

Headphones are better than earphones as they’re much more comfortable and one can be able to concentrate on the transcription test better as they bar the surrounding distractions.

Here are some of the 9 transcription software that will help you increase productivity.

4. Typing Skills

Every aspiring transcriber should have great typing skills. Being a touch typist will help you greatly, as every company sets its own standard for the required typing speed. You should aim to have at least a 60 wpm typing speed. On the other hand, it’s very possible to pass the transcription tests with 35 wpm speed if your typing is accurate, meaning you have minimal errors while typing. Any other speed which is lower than that can be challenging.

It is very helpful to practice your typing speed from the audio files that you enjoy, as this creates excitement. There are a lot of free resources online where you can get free practice files to help you with this. If you really want a career out of transcription, acquiring great typing skills is a must. Here’s a free typing training resource.

Also, keep in mind that accuracy comes before speed, but both are equally important. When you have a great typing speed coupled with great accuracy, you will be able to deliver work on time without missing deadlines.

5. Proper Punctuation

Punctuation seems to be a big challenge to many transcribers. This can be a tricky topic since different transcription rules are applied depending on the purpose of the file by different sources. It also depends on which English you’re using, you will notice that the UK English commas are placed outside quotes while the US English commas are placed inside quotes. So, while handling the transcription test, it’s important to understand the method that you’re required to use depending on where the test is based.

It’s easy to get confused when to use proper English rules if you read a lot of literature. So, to be on the safe side as a transcriber, you should practice audio transcription using the standard English grammar rules for testing. Then follow the client or the style guide rules.

6. Understand Transcription Formatting

In order to pass any online transcription test, you need to have a clear understanding of the transcription formatting. Different companies/clients require different formats, which means you will have to review their style guide to have a good understanding of the formatting required.

Typically, you should leave one blank line between paragraphs, and use a single space after every punctuation, to identify speakers. Sometimes you can be requested to save your file using the audio file extension name, such as Test.mp3. Some other parts of formatting are font size and style and margins.

7. Spelling and Grammar

Proper spelling and the use of standard English grammar are very crucial while undertaking any transcription test. You should also make sure that you’re utilizing your spell-checking tools to gauge your file accuracy. 

Also, make sure that you understand the basic English grammar rules. Here are some of the basic English word classifications.

  • Interjections (these are emotional, standalone words)
  • Prepositions (these are words that are related to another)
  • Conjunctions (thought connecting words)
  • Adjectives (these are words that are descriptive)
  • Verbs (these are action words)
  • Adverbs (expression of how something is done)
  • Nouns (places, things, or persons beyond pronouns)
  • Pronouns (relate to people)

8. Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is very crucial for any transcription work. Your sentences should make sense, and in some instances, you will have to make decisions on what the speaker is saying in the context of the words used by the speaker. Since many words have different meanings, you will have to make a decision about what the speaker is talking about.

You should also be able to differentiate between homophones where words sound similar, e.g. error and era. Be proactive to also think critically as you work on your file.

 9. Research

Even though you are not required to do a lot of research work while transcribing, it’s important to make sure that you’re doing research on the words that you’re not sure about in order to get the correct spelling and meaning. Google is a great search engine that you should utilize for your research.

You should make sure that you’re doing a correct Google search which should be within the context of the file as we have mentioned above, different words sound the same but have different meanings.

10. Proofreading

It is very important to proofread your work thoroughly to make sure you have no errors on your file before submitting the file. Make sure you’re reading the audio against the transcript. Always thrive to deliver client-ready transcripts for every transcription test that you take. This will guarantee you a pass on the test.


Passing any transcription test should not be a nightmare if you prepare yourself so well. Your main focus should be to capture the speaker’s words as accurately as possible, then follow the style guide.

However, it’s good to understand what transcription entails as far as the tools involved and the requirements before attempting any test. If you need to get professional transcription training, feel free to sign up for our online transcription course here – Learn Online Transcription From Scratch.

Also, feel free to leave your comment below if you have any questions.

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