Cracking The Code To Testing And Passing Court Reporting Certifications, Part One


Cracking The Code To Testing And Passing Court Reporting Certifications, Part One

~~ Originally published in my column “Beyond The Comfort Zone” within NCRA’s Journal of Court Reporting, JCR
By Monette Benoit, All Rights Reserved

Cracking the code to tests and certifications is more than a metaphor.

Expanding our vision and our goals are part of our path as court reporters, the keeper of the record, historical conservator, and protector of spoken words.

If you are focused on changing your life, you are having internal conversations. As an experienced court reporter, tutor, coach and CART provider, I truly believe one can create and transform his or her goals.

For 25+ years, I have been honored to assist students (to include home-study individuals), CART captioners and court reporters to earn their national, NCRA, and state certification tests.

My students have been my greatest teachers, my leaders.

Your success is my goal.

I have authored a textbook, workbooks and a companion study guide to assist individuals to pass their NCRA and state court reporting certification exams the first time they register with Purple Books Complete Set, 4 books, and Trio Set, 3 books. We also assist students, captioners and court reporters to build and to expand their realtime and captioning dictionary with ‘CATapult Your Dictionary CDs’.

Thousands of students and court reporters have worked with CRR Books (Court Reporter Reference Books

CRR Books has organized focused information on how to pass a NCRA, National Court Reporters Association, RPR and RDR, written knowledge examination – known as the ‘WKT’ since 1990.

States also have CSR, CCR certification examinations for court reporters. CRR Books,Purple Books has successfully assisted individuals there, too.

So you want to pass a test? My desire is to help you to shift your awareness.

If you want to pass a test in a court reporting program or a national certification test, ‘wanting’ is not enough.

You need to prep with deliberate, focused intentions, conscious actions.

Recently, I received requests on how to prep from applicant test-takers for NCRA, California, Texas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Florida, New Mexico, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, and Arizona state examinations.

I desire to gift you with tips, information to focus your internal compass.

Thousands of students and reporters have accomplished huge goals – one step at a time, one step, one step – sometimes only in one tiny step – then there’s a wobble.

Now is the time to prepare your stimulus plan.

Now is the time to hone your conscious and unconscious thoughts and actions to crack the code to pass your test.

I firmly believe one-step-at-a-time awareness is where you find greatest progress. 

Even a step back is a step. This awareness is essential to your code, your internal compass.

Okay. So you registered to take a NCRA, National Court Reporters Association, or a state court reporting certification test? Or maybe not yet, but soon?

Are you enrolled in a court reporting school or home study program?

You now have an opportunity to stretch your boundaries. Stretching is good.

Be gentle and remain focused on this goal, which is easier said than done – I know.

Many students and working court reporters can see and taste this lap while pedaling with an already busy schedule.

Below are tips to successfully crack your code — tips I coach to help many, many in your (busy) shoes. Part II will be added to assist you.

Nutrition Code Tips: Consciously focus on your blood sugar with smart eating, snacking. Vitamins are essential to preparing physical and mental compass charting of your code.

Carbohydrates create long-term energy while pasta and rice ensure your body functions at peak performance.

Proteins create short-term energy and if (when) you balance carbohydrates and proteins, you’re in athletic training. Hydrate ‘you’ (yourself) with water, perhaps green tea, Gatorade-type drinks. Sodas taste good, but many cause dehydration with additives and sugar. Stress contributes to depleting fluids. Avoid dehydrating your body; instead drink water and other helpful fluids.

Body, Toes, Fingertips Code Tips:Wear comfortable clothes, footwear. This awareness tip should be incorporated into your daily routine to prep for a court reporting (or any) test.

If you are taking a machine portion of any test, your fingertips (nails) must function at peak performance. Many students and reporters have manicures. I softly share that now is not the time to test a new length or style. What works best for you? Use that.

Radar Code Tips: As you move closer to your scheduled test, I want you to specifically notice your energy-awareness.

Code-cracking includes becoming aware that you may be more sensitive at work and school with family and yourself. Some call this “cranky,” but I prefer “sensitive.” This is normal. Once you are aware this energy is part of your preparation, you can acknowledge the awareness, and then let these test prep code tips work for you. I know you can learn a lot about yourself as you hone and fine-tune your radar, your sensitivity meter.

Inspiration Code Tips: Take time for you. Have you listened to a favorite CD? Is there a movie where you find inspiration? Have you laughed recently? When we focus on a long-term goal, I firmly believe it is the little moments (note it’s plural) in our world wherein we most effectively gain momentum toward our goal.

Common Sense Code Tips: Pack equipment – and you – before the test. Avoid gassing the car en route. Make sure there is no construction near the site. I coach that you should be packed by mid-afternoon the day before. This ensures reducing, “Dang, where did I put …?”

Oxygen Code Tips:
Stretch and breathe. When stressed, we sit with our shoulders hunched up and breathe shallowly. (Every time I proofed this sentence I noticed I was not breathing evenly.)

Consciously focus on a steady rhythm of evenly breathing in and breathing out to maximize your body’s ability to work for you.

Focus on regulating your breath. If your voice is higher than normal, you are shallow breathing. Become aware of your breath. Your body will respond with a good-sized release of stressed energy. Tip: The more oxygen your brain receives, the better you function.

Nest Code Tips: Ah, sleep. Focus on your nesting routine. The final two nights before the test, I suggest taking a warm bath or shower, curling up with a human, pet, or book, and being quiet. In your quiet moments and quiet rituals, you will find great focus, comfort. This is how you recharge.

Toxic Decoding – Code Tips:  Avoid high maintenance people – really. We all know people who have toxic moments. If someone has multiple toxic moments, focus on removing your energy (you). You want to be comforted and remain focused. When there are multiple pulls (drains) for your energy, your internal compass will recognize the problem. It does. Please remember you earned the right to this peaceful, focused prep toward your goal.

Realtime Focus Code Tips: The morning of your test, consciously monitor fluids. Caffeine takes you up in an energy burst; then drops you when the burst has bust.

I coach that each person should pack red grapes and a packet of non-salted pretzels and nuts. There is an amazing abundance of energy in red grapes and snacks.

(The last time I went to the movies my mother whispered, “Want some?” I tilted my head, looked to her hand in my ribs. She held a small bag of red grapes and two paper towels. Mom, “They are so good, and quiet, too.” I softly groaned and looked to where my dad sat. He shrugged, slowly shaking his head as my mother handed me red grapes in a paper towel. Mom added, “And I washed them.”)

Red grapes are portable and good for you – at the movies or within a test site. Yes, I know food is not allowed. But you can snack at appropriate times. You can. Do.

Entrance Code Tips: When you enter your testing site, consciously arrive with your shoulders back and chin up. If this is a return walk, focus on the now. If this is your virgin stroll, a click of your fingers or a sacred moment in prayer may serve you to focus. Now is where you need to be.

People Red-Alert Code Tips: Avoid huddled groups and agitated chatting. Specifically avoid anyone who asks: “What does this mean?” “How do you write…?” “How many times did it take you to …?” Now is your time. You need to consciously remain focused on your code, your test prep awareness.

Understanding Code Awareness: When you consciously perform at your peak and focus on your success, with step-by-step awareness, you can achieve greater results with less effort – with less stress, resulting in greater success. You will.

Your internal compass will guide you. It will.

This month I shared tips to add for deliberate, conscious thoughts and actions. Next month, I share tips on what to eliminate with part two of Cracking The Code To Testing and Court Reporting Certifications.

— Monette, named the Court Reporting Whisperer by students, may be reached:

Purple Books – Court Reporter Reference Books & CDs:   * Advance skills, pass NCRA and State exams the 1st time

Monette Benoit, B. B.A., CCR, CRI, CPE, Paralegal, CART Captioner, Instructor, Consultant, Columnist

Since 1990: Multiple Title Author of Books & Purple Books Test Prep for the Court Reporting, CART Captioning Profession

An American RealTime/Captioning Services, LLC:        Blog: Monette’s Musings,

Have you failed NCRA’s RPR, RDR, or a State exam?  More than once?   Purple Books “Done in One” has a 98% successful pass rate on exams with sets as evidenced by thousands of students and professionals who pass their RPR, CSR, and RDR exams on the first test.   Testimonials:

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About Monette Benoit:    As a 30+ year court reporter, CART captioner, author of NCRA and State test-prep material, instructor, public speaker, Monette Benoit has taught multiple theories, academics, all speed classes, and 225-homeroom within NCRA-approved schools and a community college. She understands challenges many adults face in our industry.

In 1993, she began to CART caption to a large screen for a Deaf mass, San Antonio, Texas.  Wonderful opportunities then presented from Big D, Little D, Oral Deaf, HOH consumers -each with special moments.

Monette Benoit has worked with thousands of professionals, court reporters, CART captioners, students, instructors. She has 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 assisted thousands of students, novice and experienced professionals to reach the next level.

Monette’s Musings is an informative, motivational, and funny blog for busy professionals and students who seek to create their success and who seek to enjoy this special path.


Comment (1)

  1. Beth Quintana

    I am a California CSR and thinking of relocating to Texas. I am applying for a Texas certification by endorsement, but have been told I will be required to take the written exam, which covers Texas laws governing court reporters. I have been looking for study materials and have not yet been able to find anything online. If you have anything available to purchase or suggestions on where I might find them, I would greatly appreciate your help.

    Thank you,
    Beth Quintana

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