Certify This …

Monette’s Musings is a blog containing information for busy professionals, students and individuals who are fearless and seek to create their success each day.

Certify This …
By Monette Benoit

Copyright by Monette Benoit, All Rights Reserved.

If you registered for a NCRA, National Court Reporters Association, or a state court reporting examination take a deep breath and think big.

Write your name with your initials of the certification on a piece of paper. Make two copies. Post one on your bathroom mirror; this will be the first and last thing you see each day.

Put the piece of paper with your certification on your fridge. I want you to prepare a blueprint in success to prioritize this event. Prepare as an athlete.

Proper nutrition enables individuals to persevere. And competing is what you’re doing. (You’re competing with skills that enabled you to join the professionals in our occupation.) People who do not eat properly, work long hours, and worry about money become overwhelmed.

When I speak to groups, tutor, coach students and court reporters, I share the mind/body approach. Many do not understand why they need to eat breakfast. Eat breakfast. Physical exercise is important; nutritional preparation is essential.

Proteins and carbohydrates sustain elevated blood sugar levels during work, tests and stressful situations. Bananas, peanuts and dried fruit are healthy, enabling a person to focus and improve concentration. Pack a small bag with non-salted pretzels, carbohydrates; include non-salted peanuts for protein. Snacking on this combo improves your attention to detail and your stamina. I have snacks in my desk, briefcase, car, CART realtime case and usually in my hand as I race through life.

Two nights before your test, eat a protein dinner to build energy. I recommend fish with vegetables. The evening prior to the examination, dine on complex carbohydrates. Carbs remain in the blood longer, building stamina. Athletes eat whole wheat spaghetti the night before competition. They understand the importance of nutrition. (I eat yams.)

Vitamins are important. Include amino acids, Vitamin C, E, and B complexes. Sublingual B-12 can be placed under your tongue before any test. Hatha Yoga improves concentration, building strong back and arm muscles; great for people hunched most of their day. Learn exercises which permit you to quickly send fresh blood into your spine and brain. And this ‘fresh blood’ calms nervous energy.

Court reporters understand that there are two parts to many national and state certification tests – a written and a skills portion. Court Reporter Reference Books & CDs has a textbook, a workbook and a study guide — plus a ‘CRRT’ CD Software Program, Court Reporter Reference Tutorial, to assist you to prepare for the written portion of your court reporting certification examinations.

The books and CD will teach you how to take a test. You will learn about the ‘d/a’ – distracting answer. Currently, there is only one textbook on the market to assist individuals to pass national NCRA RPR, RDR and state CSR, CCR written tests.

The ‘CRRT’ CD, Court Reporter Reference Tutorial, combines three books and has mock tests preparing individuals to study in realtime. The ‘CRRT’ also assists NCRA CBC, CCP preparation as does the ‘CATapult’ CD Series, which will hone your writing skills to assist you to pass your goal toward certification.

The link for the ‘CRRT CD’ is http://crrbooks.com/index.php?cPath=52
The link for the test prep books is http://crrbooks.com/index.php?cPath=26

Individuals using CRR Books & CDs material have a 95% successful pass rate on national and certification written exams passing the WKT, written certification test, the first time. If you are studying alone for the test or working to improve your skills, www.CRRbooks.com would be honored to assist you with the written portion of your state and national certification.

The second portion of the test concerns speed and accuracy.

Reporters and students building speed want material to be faster, faster, faster. But accuracy is built on the ability to write with control.

The push for higher speeds, in my opinion, should be in short spurts, not long practice periods. Start with material that’s comfortable. Build your speed while reading back and writing slower speeds for control. Your goal is to write comfortably 10-wpm, words per minute, to 20-wpm above the test speeds.

All reporters experience reading bad notes. When you’re struggling, I highly recommend reading those notes. Fingers have patterns. Many students and reporters have a finger that drags or slips. Study finger patterns. Adjust your steno machine on that specific key for a lighter or heavier touch.

Analyze your bad notes, enjoy your good notes, but focus on finger patterns. Many students and reporters do not want to type tests. You learn more from bad notes than good notes. With a positive attitude and focus, you will learn something you did not know about your fingers, your dictionary and your work. You’ve taken the time to prepare; you shouldn’t walk from any test.

NCRA national speed contenders do not write perfect notes. They compile and complete exceptional tests; a skill perfected over years.

Listen to tapes 20-wpm higher than scheduled speeds while you drive to work or school. (One of my students listened to a tape 40-wpm higher than her speed; she “got” lost on the way to school — Honest.) Increase your ability to listen, “carrying information.” When you carry for spurts, you’ll gain confidence.

I believe listening is more essential than writing, especially for tests where we have to “recall” verbatim material.

When practicing, remember numbers are important. Witnesses state his/her address, zip code, phone numbers (cell, home, office), social security numbers. Numbers often are included in tests.
Should you use briefs or should you learn to write every word, sound by sound? Use what works best for you. NCRA has a great book, “61+Ways to Write Faster, Speedbuilding Tips.”

After someone types, I study their notes. They always have words they wrote during dictation that they did not type accurately. Enhance your transcription skills; your test scores will improve.

Here’s my suggestions:

First, type from steno notes. Leave blanks on the computer screen or typing paper for “problem” areas. Valuable time is lost staring at a word or a flap. Often the word is repeated or reworded within the dictation.

Second, mark each flap or computer screen with an ‘x’ or pen as you transcribe to ensure you didn’t fold skip words or fold two flaps. (It’s happened in national speed championships.)

Third, check your typed notes for accuracy and punctuation.

Fourth, check steno notes to the typed material to find missed words. Too many people incur errors when they “had it” in their notes.

Fifth, go back and proof each page, each sentence, in a right to left pattern. This is where you proof each word for spelling. After you have completed steps one through five, then go back and stare at the problem spots and look for each ‘x’ on the computer screen to see each word was transcribed from steno.

Let’s address the nerve factor.

My opinion is that candidates who “initially mess up,” experience lack of confidence in their ability for write that particular speed. Those who “struggle” in the middle of a test or a take may suffer from lack of self-confidence and/or lack of ability for write that speed. Problems towards the end of dictation indicate that the person does not have stamina at that speed. Study your notes. Discover where you’re struggling; then build that area.

Gelsenium, homeopathy, and Rescue Remedy (Bach Flower Remedy) assists people with anxiety associated with public speaking and performance, test-taking, situations. Health food stores carry these items. They work wonders calming butterflies.

I recommend practicing 20 minutes. Readback, get up, stretch, sit down and get back to work. Maintain a schedule. Chart your progress.

Having problems with specific prefixes, suffixes? How about finger combinations? Finger drills are great. Robert McCormick, MBA, CRI, NCRA’s 2004 Teacher of The Year, created a CD, ‘CATapult BEEDs’ Software Program to specifically address issues individuals face when practicing for certification exams.

This ‘BEEDs CD’ will change the way you practice and advance in your schooling and career. BEEDs has finger exercises, numbers, essential words, names, and multiple free features to assist you to pass your certification skills portion of each examination.

The link for the ‘BEEDs CD’ is http://crrbooks.com/index.php?cPath=35

Results and testimonials from individuals may viewed at http://crrbooks.com/index.php?cPath=28

Practice when you’re most alert. Write during your anticipated test time to peak your mental and physical skills.

Act on your goals; know that you deserve to pass the test. After you’ve studied and honed your skills, relax and go play.

Train as an athlete. Concentrate on nutrition; focus on skills preparations. And when you surrender your state or national test, you should be able to say, “Here, certify this.”

Monette, named the Court Reporting Whisperer by students, may be reached: Monette.purplebooks@CRRbooks.com and Monette@ARTCS.com

Monette Benoit, B. B.A., CCR, CRI, CPE, Paralegal
Realtime Court Reporter, CART Captioner, Instructor, Columnist, Career Coach, Tutor
Multiple-Title Author of Books & Test Prep for the Court Reporting and CART Captioning Industry

** Purple Books: www.CRRbooks.com ** Blog: Monette’s Musings, www.monettebenoit.com

Purple Books “Done in One” has a 98% successful pass rate on NCRA and State exams with Purple Books Complete Set (4 books) or Purple Books Trio Set (3 books) as evidenced by thousands of court reporting students and professionals who pass their RPR, CSR, and RDR exams on the first test. Testimonials from students, instructors, program directors, CART Captioners, novice and senior court reporters: www.CRRbooks.com.

Purple Books are pedagogically sound, covering a wealth of material with facts, tips, and comprehensive information. Since 1990, Purple Books are time-tested and proven in the classroom with educators and with independent study.

Revised, Updated Purple Books Complete NCRA RPR, RDR, and CSR Prep Textbook has testing tips, and sections covering legal, Latin, court, English -multiple grammar, vocabulary sections, medical, computer technology, NCRA COPE Ethics, and review. *Learn the foundation of material.

Purple Books Workbook contains **2,002 practice questions. Purple Books Companion Guide cross-references every word in the workbook’s 2,002 multiple-choice questions -explaining why words are correct, incorrect, and may be used as distracting answers. *Reinforce your knowledge and expand your skills to pass the first time.

Monette will help you to pass your test and to exceed schooling and career goals. No two are alike. Specific custom-designed guidance efficiently assists you!

Tutoring and career coaching topics include: Motivational skills to keep you moving forward; Time-management; Process learning for more effective retention.

Who comes to Monette for tutoring and career coaching?
• Professionals who want to achieve their goals, advance their career, author their book, and to develop the dream within,
• Veteran and novice court reporters, CART (Communication Access Real-Time Translation) providers, and broadcast captioners brushing up on their skills for test-taking requirements,
• In-class students who feel they’re “stuck” and falling behind, or aren’t ready for the required tests,
• Students and veterans who struggle with focus, goal-setting, time-management or other life skills that might be interfering in their upward success,
• At-home students who want to ensure they’re on track for their exams and for their career goals,
• Veteran court reporters, CART Captioners expanding their career options in related fields,
• Students and veterans alike who find they’re struggling with key areas of daily practice.

Check out: Reach Your Goals with Tutoring and Career Coaching http://crrbooks.com/index.php?cPath=29

About Monette Benoit:
As a 25+ year court reporter, CART Captioner, author of NCRA test-prep material, and an instructor, public speaker, Monette Benoit has taught multiple theories, academics, all speed classes, and the 225 homeroom within NCRA-approved schools and a community college. She understands the challenges.

Monette Benoit has worked with thousands of professionals, court reporters, CART Captioners, students, and instructors.

She has also helped to create new court reporting training programs, worked with federal grants, and assisted instructors in developing curriculum for both in-class and at-home students.

Her one-on-one tutoring, private coaching, has greatly assisted thousands of students, novice and experienced professionals to privately reach the next level.

Monette’s Musings is a blog containing information for busy professionals, students, and individuals who seek to reach higher. Reach up. Bring it. * Bring it today!

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