Cracking The Code To Testing and Court Reporting Certifications, Part Two

Cracking The Code To Testing and Court Reporting Certifications, Part Two
By Monette Benoit

Copyright 2008 by Monette Benoit, All Rights Reserved.

Within the previous Monette’s Musings post,, I wrote, “Cracking the code to tests and certifications is more than a metaphor. Expanding our goals is part of our path as keeper of the record. As a tutor, coach, court reporter and CART provider, I believe one creates goals.” I shared tips to deliberately observe your conscious and unconscious thoughts and actions.

Now that you are focused on your journey, your quest, we need a formula to succeed.

Each of us has talents. What attracted you to this profession? Did (do) you have passion for your work? If your passion is tired, overworked or irritable, now is a good time to reevaluate and to set new goals.

Here I share code tips on what to deliberately eliminate.

Eliminate Negative Self-Talk Code Tip: Listen to self-talk – that dialog that runs and sprints chattering in the back of your mind. Is your chatter overwhelmed with deadlines and challenges?

Is your mantra, “I can’t do it; I’ll never be fast enough; How do I memorize every word in the English language?” As you work, practice and study, are you thinking about laundry, errands and fuel prices?

Five minutes is not a long time until you are writing dictation and self-talk chatters, “When is that person going to stop (or shut up)?” Banish this negative chatter from your path. Detach, observe and deliberately listen to yourself. Then fix it (the issue).

Complaints Code Tip: Eliminate (reduce) complaining. Much of our self-talk may be perceived as complaining. Listen to yourself. Court reporters and students I work with share, “I do that! Thanks for pointing that out. Now I’ll focus and eliminate that – self-talk.”

Avoid Trying-To-Get-It Code Tip: Don’t try, do. Years ago I met a wise woman who listened to a comment I shared. She said, “You cannot try; you can only do.” That sounded coded to me.

My memory-moment occurred when she stated, “You cannot try to sit in a chair. You either do or don’t.” She then attempted a half-sit, froze, looked at me saying, “See? You cannot try to sit.”

Part of her work was preparing people to walk on hot coals. (You know who you are. I’m surprised how many court reporters – and teachers – have done this. Some of you walked on coals with your mother. You proudly shared this with me.)

No, I don’t think hot coals are necessary for passing any certification test.

The woman’s comment imprinted a marked difference in what I took from a passing comment. As this (issue) relates to you, don’t try to get that take, don’t try to get every word or try to memorize every definition.

Don’t try to make time to study, to practice. You cannot try. Your deliberate focus is to eliminate trying and to only do.

What Am I Doing? Code Tip: Eliminate “What do I do?” moments when you study and practice. Establish a goal for that day and for that hour. A set structure of tasks will assist you to accomplish more each time you prepare. And expect a few surprises as your deliberate focus expands. Once you expect, you (re)solve.

Why Am I Doing This? Code Tip: Eliminate “Why am I doing this?” (a.k.a. “Why waste my time?”) This question is huge in our profession.

Tenacious personalities enabling individuals to excel through court reporting school (with daily pass rates of 95% or higher) and to excel (a.k.a. survive) daily technical work may, on occasion, seem overwhelming. Sometimes it is. Prep first. Don’t question why. Just do.

Repeated Mistakes Code Tip: Eliminate (reduce) mistakes. Seek to find your patterns, your mistakes. Then meticulously and deliberately go get ‘em. Eliminate one error at a time, then another error. Each error is only one point, right?

Unstructured Hours of Practicing Code Tip: Eliminate long periods of time without breaks, readbacks, or change of material. One cannot practice 12 hours a day, 7 days a week and find refreshing progress.

A court reporting student I’m tutoring said this is what she was told she needed to do to pass school and certification tests. I sighed and then systematically broke that advice into multiple pieces.

Many experienced reporters and captioners believe that long hours of work and practice require breaks to maintain strong muscles and a sharp mind. Many people who have back, arm, and wrist problems wish they knew then what they know now. They do.

Often we choose to live and work with our computers, steno machine and few breaks to fundamentally rest. Much (more) can be accomplished with structured practice, study, and rest.

Distractions: Eliminate e-mails, IMs (instant messaging), and phones when you set aside precious time for yourself. Don’t try. Just do.

Inefficiency Code Tip: Eliminate practicing at speeds over your speed without a review and without a connection to your fingers and your brain as to how a word is defined.

Without a connection, this (you) creates repetitive errors. Focus on each stroke, word, each definition. Work to find the reason(s) why you are being challenged.

What Is Not Working? Code Tip: Eliminate what you know is not working. If you work full-time, attend school, and practice when you are hungry or tired, your progress is affected. When I shared this tip with an experienced official court reporter I am tutoring, she howled with laughter, “Oh, you bet, that’s me!”

Stress, Anxiety Elimination Code Tip: I know, again, this tip is easier said than done. But this is your journey, your quest.

As I’m writing, it’s late. My Maine Coon (18-pound rescued cat) is asleep, crashed with his head down inside my sneaker. The house is dark and quiet; I worked a full day. A (rescued, abused) purring cat is on my knee while soothing music is playing. I have a deadline with my editor. To squeeze more into my day (and night) this is how I meet a goal I created to become more productive. What works for you? Do that.

Use your time wisely, fix mistakes, rest, learn what works for you, and then combine your formula to succeed.

What works for you one day or one week, will need alterations. Change is good when you have a plan, are prepared, rested, and deliberately focused in your current moment.

When you focus your path and are aware of insights with what works for you and what does not, your progression is greater. Success is more noticeable as you deliberately connect to focused intentions, conscious actions and your positive chatter.

Your goal is to perform at your peak and to focus on your success.

With awareness, you achieve greater results with less stress, which result in greater success. Your internal compass, your code, will guide you. It will.

Within my previous post I shared nutrition code tips; body, toes, fingertips code tips; radar code tips; inspiration code tips; common sense code tips; oxygen code tips; nest code tips; toxic decoding code tips; realtime focus code tips; entrance code tips; and people red-alert code tips.

Musicians play all the chords. Athletes work all the muscles for one sport.

You are the master of your path. Deliberately reduce and eliminate distractions. Invest in yourself.

The court reporters, broadcast captioners and CART providers I work with share an important lesson from my tutoring and coaching is: “Clearly define your boundaries.” Check your boundaries, observe your talents, align your goals.

This power-full quest to your code and passing tests can be (more) effort-less. Don’t try, do.

Monette, the Court Reporting Whisperer, may be reached: and

Monette Benoit, B. B.A., CCR, CRI, CPE, Paralegal

Tutor, Motivational Management & Career Coach,
Multiple-Title Author of Books & Test Prep for the Court Reporting and CART Captioning Industry
Realtime Court Reporter, Instructor, Consultant, Columnist

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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 many adults now face in our industry and schooling.

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 are fearless and seek to create their success each day. Reach up. Bring it. * Bring it today!

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