DPSI scholar

My DPSI Journey

DPSI Alumni 2021 – I did it! Are YOU ready?

There’s been lots of talk recently amongst interpreters about raising qualification levels and joining police and MoJ interpreter lists. You may be considering doing so, but perhaps the thought of the DPSI exam is making you feel nervous. 

As an interpreter who has only recently been through this process, I thought I would share my own experience about my preparation towards DPSI and sitting the exams online with ISL.   

Having worked as an interpreter for several years, I realised that to gain access to most lucrative jobs I needed to take the final step and obtain the Level 6 Diploma in Public Service Interpreting. The journey with another, (London-based) provider of DPSI qualifications, did not look appealing as I live over 200 miles away from London and the cost for the centre fees coupled with travel costs made their exam process quite pricey, in my opinion.  I was delighted to come across the International School of Linguists, who offer remote learning, an online examination process and monthly instalments. All I needed was the time to study! With COVID-19, my usual workload decreased and allowed me to focus on studying.   

How I gained learning support and online resources: 

Once registered with the ISL, I engaged with the VLE forum and asked other learners to team up to practise the Role Play. I made couple of good friends and gained a lot of practical knowledge. My colleague was just like me, a busy Mum and we used to practise a Role Play every Saturday. We both purchased the past papers and the simultaneous practise from the ISL School’s resources page – and we practised and practised. We had a lot in common, sharing the same language and traditions; we had some anxiety about the exams too, but we both encouraged each other, often just bursting out with laughter during Skype role plays.  

How I benefited from the live Webinars: 

I knew that the school provided a number of valuable subject-specific live webinars. I decided to concentrate on the Police and Legal terminology and during my 6 months preparation time, I attended 4 webinars. They offered professional fundamental knowledge, provided me with specific terminology and glossaries (which I ended up using during my exams, as paper-based glossaries and resources are allowed for Units 2&3 and Units 4&5). 

How I revised:

I set out 3 days of the week for self-learning, approx. 2 hours per day + Saturdays. I studied approximately 6 to 8 hours per week, including repetition of simultaneous interpreting (I got to hear and understand every little detail of ISL’s online passages). For written Units, with the assistance of old past papers, I would write the English version, check it accordingly and then re-write the text into my language. I would then summarise and rewrite the tricky translation words up to 5 times (!) – I went through 3 sets of highlighters during this time!   

How I coped with the stress: 

Not that well, to be honest – I found it very stressful, but thanks to my preparation, I knew what to expect on the day of the Exam. I was based in my own home office, and I just treated it as high-profile remote assignment. The invigilators were all very helpful and understanding, they allowed repetition and clarifications. They knew I was trying my best and that I am only a human! 


With previous interpreting experience in Public Service Sector & Community Interpreting and a decent amount of preparation, it is possible to gain a DPSI in just 6 months! My personal DPSI preparation & learning path: 

Or, if you need advice, just call ISL – and good luck!