Accredited Speech-to-Text Reporter (ASTTR) Exam


Next Scheduled Examination Date: TBC

Ensure you have read the information below then APPLY ONLINE.


To comply with the Articles of Association, any person who desires to be admitted a Member of the Institute must:
(i) Submit to the Secretary an application form together with examination fee (this may be online via the form on this page).
(ii) Satisfy the council that they have been taking notes, scoping or transcribing audios for not less than three years, or have undertaken a bona fide course with appropriate mentorship (shadowing), or webinars, as agreed by Council.
(iii) Satisfy the Council that they have had a good general education. (For this purpose, please forward copies of all relevant certificates).
(iv) Provide an independent shorthand speed certificate of 180 wpm minimum, or 60 wpm typing.
(v) Pass an examination in practical notetaking of up to one hour’s duration, for AV, or STT examination, or 20 minutes’ audio recording for AT examination, or 30 minutes’ audio for AS examination, conducted by an Examiner appointed by the Council.
(vi) Submit a transcript within three weeks of the date of the examination.
(vii) Candidates for the VR or STT examination must also provide a first draft computer print-out of the test piece (no editing/scoping).
(viii) Pass a written examination designed to test editing/comprehension skills.
(ix) There should be no conferring or sharing of examination audios or papers with other candidates.
(x) There should be no posting of the examination material on social media.
(xi) The completed transcript for any examination should be the candidates’ own work, i.e., with no conferring with other candidates, though case papers and the Internet may be used to assist the candidate in their transcript preparation.
(xii) If a candidate wishes to undertake, for example, the Scopist exam in both Eclipse and Case CATalyst, a discount of 20% will be allowed for candidates undertaking two tests at the same time. I.e., £50 for the first one and £40 for the second.

BIVR Examination syllabus for Membership for Speech-to-Text Reporter (ASTTR)

Prerequisites for undertaking STT examination:

Before undertaking the examination candidates should provide evidence of at least 180 wpm shorthand speed. In-house training speed certificates are not acceptable.

Ongoing speed practice is recommended. There are many free on-line dictation sites.

Candidates should have undertaken up to 20 hours shadowing work with a BIVR-qualified verbatim reporter/mentor prior to sitting the examination.

Candidates to keep a diary of their shadowing work to provide to the Examiner to indicate all the areas and timings of practice they have undertaken.

Candidates should be familiar with their chosen CAT software.

Candidates should have read the BIVR Guide (formerly the Manual), updated August 2019, available on the BIVR website.

For those who are unfamiliar with court proceedings, there is free online video and audio available, namely:

The Supreme Court:
We must caution candidates that it should be noted that the use of these videos is for training purposes only and under no circumstances should candidates post information about them on social media!

BIVR has speed dictation on the members’ area of its website.

Candidates for examination will have access to the BIVR website for the purposes of accessing audios and the BIVR Guide.

There is also live timed dictation practise offered, for a small fee, by the Incorporated Phonographic Society (

There is also a plethora of information about court hearings on YouTube. This is just one example:

Candidates should Google for other examples should prospective STTR candidates wish to get a flavour of court proceedings.

The objective of the examination is to ensure that candidates are proficient in their skills as Speech-to-Text Reporters to be able to take down proceedings with a full and accurate note without any significant dropping. Also, to be satisfied that they have sufficient background knowledge and technical ability.

The use of a backup audio recording may be used.

A first draft transcript is required immediately (or certainly within a few hours) from candidates. This is effectively the transcript hot off the press, before any editing has been undertaken. The purpose of the first draft is for use in the event the Examiner needs to confirm the editing ability even though a transcript, whether a first draft or an edited version, may not usually be provided to the client.

The final, edited, transcript should be submitted to the Examiner as soon as possible, but not later than three weeks after the date of the examination. An extension of time will be granted only in exceptional circumstances. If the transcript is not delivered within six weeks of the date of the test the examination will deemed to have been abandoned.

The STTR examination will consist of:

(i) A practical examinations in a real work environment of continuous prose or evidence or discussion delivered at a reasonable speed. The examination will be between 30 and 45 minutes’ duration.

In the event of the nature of the proceedings proving not to be satisfactory for test purposes, a further test may be taken without additional payment.

Preparation material will be provided to the candidate by the Examiner a few days in advance of the examination. The case papers and the Internet may be used to assist the candidate. In the transcript preparation.

(ii) A multiple-choice theory examination. This will be provided to the candidate at the time of the examination.

The time for answering part (ii) will be 30 minutes.

Candidates may not under any circumstances share their theory test papers with other candidates.

The competencies are:

  1. Follow the style guide
  2. Transcript formatting
  3. Spelling and grammar
  4. Working to a deadline
  5. Knowledge of software (not CAT specific)
  6. Accuracy of content, i.e., the candidate did not drop significantly
  7. Proofreading

The marking criteria:

The main emphasis is on the accuracy of the notetaking and candidates may have an examiner attending to observe the candidate’s realtime output, but will be graded on the final product, namely, the transcript.

The scoring is from 1 to 5 marks for each of the seven competencies.

The candidate may request to see their marked transcript.

The examiner, who checks the finished transcript, will indicate on the transcript where, if at all, the candidate has scored a mark below 5. For instance, where they have not followed the style guide. Thus the candidate should clearly see the point at which they have been given the lower score and why.

Core Competency scoring

5 VHA – Very High Achievement Has demonstrated a very high level of skill competency in this area
4 HA – High Achievement Has demonstrated an acceptable level of skill/competency but could be developed
3 SA – Sound Achievement Has demonstrated some weaknesses in the skill/competency, although these could be overcome by training and development
2 LA – Low Achievement Has demonstrated considerable weaknesses in the skill/competency. More training in that area needed
1 VLA – Very Low Achievement Has demonstrated major weaknesses in the competency

In the following example of scoring, the candidate did not follow the style guide on two separate and distinct occasions, hence they have had 2 marks deducted from that competency.

Followed style guide 3
Transcript formatting 4
Spelling & grammar 3
Working to a deadline 2
Knowledge of software 4
Accuracy of content 3
Proofreading 1
MINIMUM SCORE NEEDED (e.g. no less than 3s) 21

Some examples of poor proofreading could be evidenced:
• If different fonts are used;
• names are spelled differently throughout the transcript;
• extra line spacing;
• double words wrongly left in (which should be found on a spellcheck.)

Note: A name spelled wrongly throughout, which could have been checked from the case papers, will only attract one mark deducted provided it is spelling in the same wrong way throughout the whole transcript.

The result will be conveyed to the candidate within three weeks of receipt of their transcript.


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