All You Need to Know About Test Files

Taking the Scribie Test

You need to submit a passing test file in order to get certified as a transcriber with us here at Scribie. Some get discouraged because it’s not what they expected the test files would be like. Some get tired of waiting for test files because it takes too long to see one. And others wanted to know how to improve their chances of passing.  You’ll find the questions related to those problems and the solutions for them right down below.

Test Overview

Test All Qs

Basic Details of Test Files

Every test has a different process and criteria. Some are pre-made, some are exam types, and some are live tests. You’ll get to know more about our testing process and criteria by reading through the questions and answers below.

What are test files?

Test files are raw transcription files applicants at Scribie need to pass to get certified with us. Submitting a passing test file assures us that you are up to the task to take on transcription work and are skilled enough for the job. The test files are live customer files thus test files also show you what you would expect the work would be like once you get certified with us.

Do all customer files become test files?

No, only a small proportion of the orders we get daily become test files.

Which customer files become test files?

The customer files that become test files are a fraction of the live files that have medium to high difficulty levels.

What language are the test files in?

We only have English files here at Scribie. Our Freelance Transcription Program involves transcribing English audio/video files into English text, no other languages are supported at the moment. We also do not offer translation services. If there is non-English audio in a file, we tag that portion as [foreign language].

Is there a waiting list for test files?

None, that is a remnant of the old application process we had that no longer applies when we updated the application process.

Are all available test files valid test files?

Not all available test files are valid. If a file is blank, only contains background conversations, contains non-English audio, or only contains music, these files should be reported instead of being transcribed. Even if you transcribe them and submit them, they will not be graded and will be rejected instead. This is one of the reasons why we provide 10 attempts.

What are valid test files?

Valid test files are those that are around 6 minutes in duration, have at least 400 or higher word count, and with minimal or no foreign language or non-English language.

Why is a test required?

It serves as an assurance that you would be able to deliver quality transcripts to the clients and that you are eligible for the job.

Is the practice file the same as the test files?

No, they are different. Practice files are only for practice, to check if the job works for you, to become familiar with the online Editor (the tool used to transcribe), to check how your work compares with what we have on file, have an idea about your accuracy, and also to learn how it works. For the practice files, once you click on Submit, you will be shown the diffs or comparison between your file and the QC’ed version we have on file so you can see if you are meeting the accuracy requirement for test files (this means 11 or less major mistakes for a 6-minute medium difficulty level file, 5 or less for a 6-minute low difficulty level file, and 23 or less for a 6-minute high difficulty level file).

Please note that not all those in reds or greens are considered major mistakes, these can also be minor changes. The only ones considered major mistakes are the mishears and those changes that alter meaning. In the diff output, the green portions indicate additions and red the portions indicate deletion/changes. 

Test files, on the other hand, are live customer files or files that are ordered by customers, and it will only get graded once it has been submitted to the customer so the result is not instantaneously after submission, as it will go through the usual 4-step transcription process. 

Thus please note that the term “practice test” is a misnomer, as it could only be either a “practice file” or “test file”.

Test File Availability

We get asked about this a lot and you are most probably here because of the same reason. If not then you’ll probably be asking about it sooner or later so please go through the questions, answers, and suggestions listed below.

Why am I not seeing any test files?

This is the most frequently asked question by applicants so detailed below are the 4 reasons why.

Not Seeing Test Files

Why are there no test files when I received an email saying there are available files?


We don’t suggest relying on notification emails. They only notify you that there are test files that are not selected by others yet so when you check it’s most likely that it’s already taken. Due to the large number of applicants we have, most test files are selected almost immediately. Additionally, email notifications may no longer be triggered if the files get taken by others almost immediately upon their becoming available. 

Is it possible to wait for many months with no available test file?

Yes, it is possible if you do not regularly check as we have many new applicants each month. It is mostly by chance that you would be able to see a test file. The reason is that there may be no orders suitable for testing yet and/or the test files are already taken by others around the time you are checking. Because there are many applicants applying day by day most files get taken almost immediately the moment they appear.

Tips to Get a Test File

Below are some tips for you to get a higher chance of selecting a test file.

Tips to Get a Test File

How It Works

Now that you have a clear understanding of what test files are and how to get a test file, you’ll probably be wondering what to do when you do see one. Below are suggestions and some tips on how to go about it.

How do I select a test file?

When test files become available, they will show up on the Test page ( You can play the blue round button on the left side of the page (we call it the preview button) to hear a sample of the audio first before deciding to work on it or click on ‘Select’ immediately. We recommend clicking on the preview button several times as it will play random sections of the test file each time it is clicked.

Select Test

What happens after I select a test file?

The following window will appear showing the instructions, the estimated accuracy of the automated transcript, the remaining time, the Open Editor button, and the Cancel Test option. Please click on Open Editor to launch the online Editor and start editing the automated transcript.

Test Open Editor

Can the support team assign test files?

No, they cannot, thus there is no need to contact the support team since they will not be able to assign you files. Test files are first come first served and whoever selects them first will be the one to work on them. 

Availability of test files depends on our workload and the types of files our customers order for that day, thus the number of test files each day or each week varies due to this.

What is a passing grade for a test file?

A test file will pass if it has a grade of 3 or higher. The grade ranges from 0 to 5. That means as follows:

  • For HD (high difficulty): it will pass if it has 23 or fewer major mistakes for a 6-minute file
  • For MD (medium difficulty): it will pass if it has 11 or fewer major mistakes for a 6-minute file
  • For LD (low difficulty): it will pass if it has 5 or fewer major mistakes for a 6-minute file

Please note that the allowed major mistakes above are adjusted proportional to the audio duration. Major mistakes include soundalikes, mishears, omissions, and misspells. The minor changes do not affect the grade and these include fillers, false starts, style changes, and subjective changes. Punctuation and capitalization mistakes only become major mistakes if the meaning is changed due to incorrect punctuation and incorrect capitalization.

What can help me pass the test?

Please try the following tips and best practices.

Test Tips

I want an Indian (IN) accented test file, can I request it?

No, as we do not assign test files. If you want an IN-accented test file (or other preferred accents), please wait for such a file to become available. However, most files ordered at Scribie have American accents.

Can I select more than one test file?

You can only select one test file at a time. Only if you cancel the file, it times out or got rejected that you will be allowed to select another test file. 

Can I cancel my test file?

You can cancel your test file if you find it too difficult, but please note that once a test file is selected it counts as 1 attempt. So if you cancel the file, you will lose 1 of your 10 attempts.

Thus we recommend that it is better that you preview the test file first before selecting it so you do not lose your attempts inadvertently.

What happens if I was not able to attend to my test file because of an emergency?

The test files have a turnaround time of two hours with a one-hour extension if requested but it will timeout if you are not working on the file for 30 minutes, that is, 30 minutes from the last saved time. Thus you cannot take a break that is longer than 30 minutes as the file will timeout.

Can I ask someone else to take the test for me?

No, as this is a breach of our Terms and Conditions (, under the Delegation clause. 

Are punctuation mistakes and capitalization mistakes major mistakes?

Yes to both, but there are exceptions. Punctuation mistakes become major mistakes and will affect the grade of your test file if the meaning of the thought expressed by the speaker is changed due to the punctuation you added. If the meaning is not affected by the punctuation that was added or removed, then it is counted as a minor change.

Examples: “Help a thief.” vs “Help, a thief!”; “Let’s eat Grandma!” vs “Let’s eat, Grandma!”

Regarding capitalization, the rule of thumb is to review the standard capitalization rules and if it is not covered by those rules, then please google/research how it is commonly rendered and transcribe it as such.

Many companies, organizations, brand names, etc., use unusual spelling, spacing, capitalization, or punctuation on their websites. Some technical terms also have unique rendering. For cases like these, research or look up proper names and go with whatever styling that company or organization prefers.

Who decides whose test submission passes or fails?

The grading at Scribie is not made by a person but is algorithm-based. Once your file is delivered to the customer it will be compared to the QC’ed (Quality Check) version or the final output. The system lists all the changes and categorizes the changes whether they are major or minor changes. Only major changes affect your grade. If you get a grade of 3 or higher, then you pass the test and get certified with us. 

If my test fails, can I dispute the decision?

Test files cannot be disputed. We only provide the dispute option for our certified transcribers.

For regular files, once the diffs are available, then the changes can be disputed if incorrect as stated in the Transcriber Guide ( However, test files cannot be disputed so it’s best to make as little to no major changes as possible.

Why does it still say ‘Pending Review’ when it’s already past the date?

Test files as well as regular files get graded only after the file is submitted to the customer. If the date keeps changing or has elapsed it means that the file is taking longer than usual to get submitted to the customer. It’s usually the case with high-difficulty files since we sometimes do the proofreading and QC process not just once but twice or thrice, thus delaying the completion of the file. Nonetheless, it will still get graded eventually so please wait until then.

Test FAQs in the Transcriber Guide

Here are the other Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) already listed in the Transcription Guide for quick reference.

Test FAQs

Random Facts About Test Files

Test Random Facts

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