December 10, 2011


For all of my fellow court reporting students who are getting ready to take the CSR and/or RPR test soon and need a refresher on the WKT (written knowledge test) portion of the exam, have I great news to share with you!  Cerritos College’s Court Reporting Program has an online prep course for the CSR/RPR's WKT!  The class is called CRCC 185 | CSR/RPR Exam Preparation (was formerly BUSC 185).

The online class runs from January 9th through March 9th (9 weeks), is 1.5 units that are transferable, and cost only $80.00 (for California residents).  What a deal!

No books are required for the class, however, it is highly recommended that you purchase the 2011 Freelance and Official Compendiums, which are compilations of all the rules and regulations that govern both the freelance and official worlds of court reporting respectively.  You can purchase them at for $35.00 each for CCRA Members or $45.00 each for non-members.

Lastly, you can take this course up to 3 times if you think you need a go-around for any reason.

Each week you will focus on a topic that will be in the WKT, then take a quiz on that same topic.  Here are the topics for this 9-week class:

Week 1 =  Spelling, Punctuation, and Capitalization
Week 2 =  Grammar
Week 3 =  Vocabulary
Week 4 =  Homonyms
Week 5 =  Midterm
Week 6 =  Medical
Week 7 =  Legal/Court and Depo
Week 8 =  Codes
Week 9 =  Final Exam

If you are interested in enrolling, go to and first register to the college as a student.  The instructor, Mary Balmages, via email informed me that it would be helpful to sign up as a student with previous college (or  sophomore) to bypass all the assessment tests (not necessary for this class).

Once you’re registered, read your confirmation email carefully, which will contain your new Student ID number as well as the appointment date for when you can go back online to officially enroll for the class.  Once your date comes up, go back to, click on the "My Cerritos" logo, log in, and enroll for Class #22580.

For more info on this class, contact the instructor Mary Balmages at  

Happy Studying! :)

December 9, 2011


Yesterday I missed my 200 4V at 10 minutes test by only 21 points!!! So far, this is the closest I've come to passing this test. I was on a high when I made a beeline from the classroom to the lab in order to type up the possible pass. However, that elation slowly deflated as I was marking my errors on my typed-up transcript against the audio tape. Sigh.

I was feeling sad and frustrated (so close but not close enough!), but thankfully, my biggest supporter, my husband, lifted me up. He congratulated me to being so close to a pass. He said that I'm "just knocking at the door" and that it's "only a matter of time." With his help, I was able to lift my head up, smile, and tell myself, "Wow! You did so great! You are inches away from passing this test! It truly is ONLY a matter of time now, thank GOD!"

I just have to keep practicing diligently, keep believing, and every day transcribe all my tests... even the ones I know are not even close to a pass. Why?! Because there are so many valuable learning moments when you transcribe and grade your tests... but only if you do it CONSTRUCTIVELY. I urge you, fellow students, don't just "go through the motions." Look for those small victories in each typed-up test and celebrate those!  It will motivate you and give you the valuable info you need on how to improve your steno test-taking skills!

Here's a handful of what I look out for when I transcribe my tests:

  • I take note of how many errors I get on each page. If the error margin on each page is getting smaller as the days go by, I remind myself that that's a great accomplishment!
  • I take note if I have certain finger errors or if I'm forgetting a brief. If I am, then I make sure to practice those certain finger drill(s) and/or brief(s) that I'm messing up on and work to make them solid.
  • I take note of when I'm making my most errors. Are they in the beginning, middle, or last part of the 10-minute test? I figure that out, then at the next test, I make an extra effort to concentrate especially hard at the portion where I got the most errors.
  • I take note of what kind of errors I'm making. Are they clean drops? If they are, then I know it's just a matter of time to train my fingers to become fast enough, so I don't drop as much. Are they jumbled up strokes? If they are, then I know that I'm letting my nerves get the better of me, and I need to work on concentrating on the speakers only, not my internal voice that's screaming, "Oh, no! You missed that word! Go back and correct it!" ...or some other silly demand like that! :P Um, can't do that... I'm taking a test and trying to pass it! :)

So I urge you, fellow steno students, to transcribe ALL your tests and ANALYZE those tests! Then start working EVERY DAY in correcting those pesky mistakes that keep coming up. How do you know what kind of mistakes you keep making unless you actually look for them in your test, understand them, and record them diligently? Only once you do that will you know how to improve in your weak spots, right? Doing this will keep you motivated, and you'll inch closer and closer to that PASS!

I've been on YouTube lately watching videos about how to become successful. One of my favorite channels is by Dr. Henry Cloud, who is a clinical psychologist. Here are 2 great videos from him that you got to check out!
This is called "Ridge of Resistance." In it, Dr. Cloud teaches us how to get over the inevitable hump or wall of frustration that we all face when we're trying to reach our goal.
This is called "It's All Small." In it, Dr. Cloud teaches us how to focus on the every day little steps we are making to get from Point A to Point Z, from where we are to where we want to be -- at the finish line of our goal! For me, that would be graduation and a CSR and RPR certificate!
Lastly, check out this YouTube video. This is for all of us who need to be reminded to get our head up and continue to be positive! The song is by Andy Grammer, and the song is called "Keep Your Head Up."

P.S. If you have people in your life who have no idea how difficult your tests are to pass, why not send them this YouTube video of a court reporting test --  This happens to be the test I'm trying to pass (except right now it's done by 1 teacher, not a live 4 panel) -- 200 WPM, 4-voice, 10 minutes.  Let's see if they can even repeat what's being said in their brain at 97.5% accuracy!  I don't think so!

Don't let ANYONE GET YOU DOWN!!!  What we do -- machine stenography -- is TRULY AMAZING!!!  Only a small, small, small percentage of the population have the skills we have, and that makes us UNIQUE, VALUABLE, and EXTRAORDINARY! :)

November 27, 2011


I hope you all had a very...

Ours was great.  We have SO MUCH to be thankful for! :D

We only had 2 days of school last week because of the Thanksgiving Holiday.  Honestly, I wasn't on my machine at all during the break, haha!  Hubby and I spent lots of quality time with the family as well as with each other, just relaxing and recharging.  Sometimes you just need that. :)

So going back to school tomorrow, I've decided I need a new routine in order to pass my 200 WPM 4-voice 10-minute test.  Here's what I will do:

  • Exercise daily for at least 30 minutes... for clarity and soundness of both mind and body
  • Practice at 225-240 WPM daily for at least 30 minutes... for speed
  • Practice finger drills for at least 15 minutes... for accuracy
  • Practice briefs for at least 15 minutes... for speed

To be honest, I was disappointed and saddened to find out that I couldn't take the February CSR Exam... but I am now all the more fired up to be ready to take and pass the CSR Exam in Summer 2012, AS WELL AS the RPR Exam!  I know it's an intimidating thought, especially for me who has been in the court reporting program MUCH LONGER than I care to admit.  So what am I going to do with that intimidating thought???  This: I REFUSE to allow ANY NEGATIVE TALK ENTER MY MIND!!!  I can... and WILL... with GOD'S help... accomplish ALL my court reporting goals that I set out to conquer in 2012!!!

I found 2 great motivational videos on YouTube that talks about goal setting and achieving those set goals.  I want to share them with you now and hope you too will be inspired to properly set yourself up for success!  Here they are:

The Secret of Goal Setting by Earl Nightingale

Success is the progressive realization toward a worthy ideal.

The opposite of success is conformity.

95% of people don't succeed because he conforms.

A person succeeds because he knows where he's going.

The key to success and the key to failure: We become what we think about.

Don't worry.  Worry brings fear, and fear is crippling.

Keep calm and cheerful.  

You'll get back what you put out.

As you believe, so shall it be done unto you.


Common Mistakes in Goal Setting by Ed Reiner

Fantasy - "C" - What I Want
Plan - "B" - What I Think I Can Do
Know - "A" - Present Results

Live in Level "C" to achieve your goals!  You must fantasize to realize your goals!

See It!
Believe It!
Do It!

November 19, 2011


I am so happy to announce...

that I passed my 200 WPM 4-voice real-time 5-minutes test!  THANK GOD!!!!!!!!!!


So that means I need only ONE MORE TEST to get into Qualifiers... which is the 200 WPM 4-voice test at TEN minutes!  This test, plus the Qualifiers test (which is the exact same test except with a live panel instead of one teacher with the lightboard), is different from all the other tests from the past.  All the other tests leading up to this moment have been a length of FIVE minutes.  Now I need to DOUBLE my stamina and concentration in order to pass this next test and then the Qualifiers.  Easier said than done, but...


Here's my "Things To Do" before the end of this term, December 16th, at Downey Adult School:

1) Submit my intern hours, both official and freelance
2) Complete my Online Vocabulary Class
3) Pass my 200 4V at 10 minutes test

I met with the Court Reporting Director at my school last week to make sure I'm on track to get into Qualifiers without a hitch.  UNFORTUNATELY, I found out that EVEN if I do pass my 200 4V at 10 minutes test BEFORE the end of this term, I will NOT be able to advance to Qualifiers YET since my Online Vocabulary Class won't be finished until late December. :(

I just checked out the website of the Court Reporters Board of California found here.  The next CSR Exam will be held on February 3, 2012, and the last date of filing is January 4, 2012.  Then it hit me... I realize that I most likely will NOT have the chance to qualify for the February 2012 CSR Exam and will have to wait for the next exam sometime in July 2012.  It sadly makes sense that this is likely the reality I am faced with now... because I for sure will NOT be able to get into Qualifiers this year because of my pending last academic class, Vocab, PLUS our next term starts up in January 3, 2012 with the LAST date of filing for the February 2012 CSR Exam as the very NEXT day following the FIRST day back to school, January 4, 2012. :(

Oh well...

But you know what?!?!  I REFUSE to let this "setback" get me down!!!  I tell my husband that I am SO BLESSED that sometimes I look for any minutiae type of "setback" to complain about! :P What am I going to do instead?!?!  I'm going to practice and work hard and smart to make sure that FOR SURE I WILL qualify well in advance for the July 2012 CSR Exam... AND I'm going to look into taking the RPR Exam as well in 2012!

For my fellow court reporting students, here are some helpful links for you too as you figure out YOUR schedule to the CSR and/or RPR Exams:

Court Reporters Board of California CSR Exam Dates & Locations --

NCRA 2012 Exam Schedule for the RPR, RMR, RDR, CBC, CCP and CLVS --

"Ways to Get to the CSR Exam" posted by Cerritos College Court Reporting Program
(I don't know exact date of publication of this and if this info is still current) --

November 1, 2011



Can you believe it's already November 1st???  The days are going by so fast!  That means only 94 more days (13 weeks) until California's next CSR (Certified Shorthand Reporter) Exam, which is on February 3, 2012.  I'm gonna work my butt off to qualify for that exam!!!

To make that happen, I need to cut off any unnecessary distractions (that's a major reason why I deactivated my Facebook account several months ago).  So this post is to let you know that I won't be as active on this blog for the next 3 months.  I want to use all my spare time to practicing on my steno machine as well as studying for the written knowledge portion of the exam.

There are other great steno blogs out there, however, that you can reference.  Check this list out:

Feel free to leave any comments to any previous blog post on Steno Nerd and/or email me directly regarding any questions related to court reporting (  I'll talk about court reporting anytime! :)

Stay focused, fellow court reporting students!!!  We CAN do this!!! :D

I'll leave you with this awesome YouTube video:

When you don't give up, you cannot fail!!!

October 26, 2011


Just wanted to wish all who are taking the CSR Exam this coming Friday...

May you relax...

May you breathe...

May you let go and let your fingers fly...

May you not tense up...

May you not repeat in your head...

May you stay on top of the speakers...

May you transcribe with confidence from your notes...

MAY YOU PASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You can do this!!!  It's all just nerves!!!  Tell yourself that you've come this far... and you WILL pass that 200 4-voice 10-minute test at 97.5% accuracy... AND get that coveted Certified Shorthand Reporter license for California!!!  It's all within your grasp...

For those of us who have yet to take the CSR Exam, here are some helpful links:

CSR Exam Dates:

CSR Dictation Exam Transcripts:

CSR Prep Program:

Various Exam Prep Resources:

October 25, 2011


Sorry I'm late!

Here are the words I will concentrate on this week:

answer the question - AEGS
anything further - NIRT
anywhere - NIR
arrow - RAOR
arrows - RAORZ
at some point - SPOIN
at some point in time - SPOINT
attorney - TOERN
attorneys - TOERNZ
calls for - KAUFLZ
canvas - KWAS
canvassing - KWAFG
canvassed - KWAFD
canvasses - KWAZ
cell phone - SFOEN
cell phones - SFOENZ
cross-examination - KRAUX
cross-examine - KRAUM
deed of trust - DOFT
defense attorney - DOERN
defense attorneys - DOERNZ
entrance - SBRANS
entry - SBRI
execute - SKAOUT
executed - SKAOUD
executes - SKAOUTS
executing - SKAOUGT
explain - KPLAIN
explained - KPLAIND
explaining - KPLAING
explains - KPLAINZ
explanation - KPLAIGS
frequent - FREK
frequented - FREKD
frequenting - FREG
frequently - FREL
frequents - FREKZ
in order - NORD
is it your opinion - STOURP
is it your testimony - ST-RM
is it your understanding - STOURNG
Kleenex - KLAOEX
may I approach - MOEFP
next in order  - NOERD
no idea - N-D
nowhere - N-R
OI - " "(quotes)
origin - AURJ
original - ORJ
originally - OERJ
originals - ORJZ
phone call - FOENK
phone calls - FOENKZ
plaintiff attorney - PLOERN
plaintiff attorneys - PLOERNZ
point of origin - POIJ
rear-view mirror - RFM
rear-view mirrors - RFMZ
recess - RAOES
side-view mirror - SFM
side-view mirrors - SFMZ
somewhere - SM-R
speculate - SPLAIT
speculated - SPLAID
speculates - SPLAITS
speculating - SPLAIGT
speculation - SPLAIGS
speculative - SPLAIF
telephone call - TOENK
telephone calls - TOENKZ
therapy - THAOERP
they were - THERP
transaction - TR-X
transactions - TR-X/Z
yes and no - Y-N
yes or no - YOERN
you may answer - YAOUMS

October 13, 2011

I'M AT 200 WPM!!!

I am so happy to announce...

that I passed my last 180 test and am officially at 200 WPM!!!!!!!!!!
The last 180 test I had to overcome was Testimony 4-voice at 5 minutes with 97.5% accuracy.  I had ALMOST passed this test last term and then again 1-2 weeks ago... and missed the test by ONE POINT!  I got sooooooooooo mad at myself.  This test kept on eluding me, and I had to buckle down and focus!  I told myself that when I pass this 4-voice test, as my husband encouraged me, it would not be by "luck" but by sheer skill and determination.  I wanted to make sure there would be NO CHANCE of a failed test again.  Thankfully, I missed only 6 errors out of a possible of 23!  PASS!!! :D

It's amazing.  I can finally say I'm at 200 WPM... a place I've wanted to be in for sooooooooooo long!  I have a very good friend of mine at court reporting school.  We had started Theory together at Bryan College and had both found our way to Downey Adult School.  I asked her if she knew the year when we started court reporting school since I had lost track of time.  Gulp, it was 7 years ago that we started our court reporting journey!!!  But NOT to be dismayed.  We both went to school part-time, which everyone knows that going part-time to court reporting school plus working full-time is SUPER HARD to do!  Not impossible, just SUPER HARD!  (That's why, if you have a chance to go full-time to school, TAKE IT!!!)

Admittedly, I did not put school at the forefront of my priorities back then as I do now.  7 years ago I had placed my job, my church, my family, my friends, my social life as NUMBER 1 -- all these were behind my court reporting education.  Stupid girl! :P  Now I know MUCH BETTER!

Now this same friend/classmate and I are at school on a full-time basis for the first time, and we are flying by!!!  And I'm so happy for both our successes... as well as EVERYONE ELSE'S SUCCESS!!!

I don't regret the "wasted years."  I learned a lot.  And I will not feel sorry for myself or think that I am less than the court reporting student who is at 200 WPM and did it in 1 year.  We all come with different sets of circumstances and levels of determination.  I am GLAD for the 7 years behind me... because now it makes me WANT WANT WANT to be a court reporter THAT MUCH MORE!!!  It makes my soon-to-be-accomplished-goal of becoming a licensed court reporter SO, SO, SO MUCH SWEETER!!!  So I don't take it for granted.  I am better because of it!

So going back to the tests...

Thankfully, I've already passed my 190 Congressional test and 180 Jury Charge test.  That means I only need 2 more tests to pass to get into Qualifiers:  200 4-voice test at 5 minutes and 10 minutes.  I will take the RPR before or while in Qualifiers to see if I can get the RPR license, as well as the CSR license, under my belt.

Exciting times!  It's all FINALLY coming together... and I truly believe that GOD's TIMING IS PERFECT!

Haha, thanks for reading my joyful post! :)

October 9, 2011



Hope everyone is having a great weekend!  Remember to...

Here are my Weekly Words #2 that I will concentrate on this week:

  1. anybody else - NIBS
  2. anyone else - NINS
  3. anything else - NELS
  4. anything further - NIRT
  5. ascertain - SAERN
  6. ascertain the - SAERNT
  7. assignment - SAOIMT
  8. back and forth BORGT
  9. best estimate - BEMT
  10. beyond the scope - YOEP
  11. business address - BAES
  12. call your first witness - KWINS
  13. call your next witness - KWEX
  14. complain - KMPLAIN
  15. consult - SKULT
  16. crime scene - CRAOEM
  17. current address - KRAES
  18. did I observe - DIB
  19. did you observe - DUB
  20. Ed - ED*
  21. email –AOEM
  22. emailed – AOEMD
  23. emailing - AOEMG
  24. emails – AOEMZ
  25. error - ROR
  26. errors - RORZ
  27. facsimile - F-MS
  28. fair statement - FAIRMT
  29. fingerprints - F-PTS
  30. first time - FOIT
  31. for identification - FOID
  32. foreign - FOERN
  33. forensic - FRENS
  34. forensic evidence - FREFD
  35. forensics - FRENZ
  36. forgave - FRAEF
  37. forget - FERGT
  38. forgive - FRIF
  39. forgiven - FRIFN
  40. forgiveness - FRIFNS
  41. forgives - FRIFZ
  42. forgiving - FRIFG
  43. forgot - FORGT
  44. forgotten - FORN
  45. handwriting - H-RG
  46. handwritten - H-RN
  47. he did - ED
  48. he observed - EFRBD
  49. I beg your pardon - B-RP
  50. I can - IK
  51. I cannot - YANT
  52. I can't - YA
  53. I could - IKD
  54. I could not - YUNT
  55. I couldn't - YU
  56. I did - ID
  57. I did not - YINT
  58. I didn't - YI
  59. I do - YO*
  60. I do not - YONT
  61. I don't - YO
  62. I object - IB
  63. I object to - IBT
  64. I object to the form - JIRM
  65. I object to the form of the question - JIRK
  66. I observed – IFRBD
  67. I offer - OIFR
  68. I would say - IDZ
  69. I.D. - ID*
  70. identification - OIFGS
  71. identify - OIF
  72. identity - OIT
  73. if you would - IFD
  74. immaterial - IRM
  75. in conjunction - NUNGS
  76. in other words - NORDZ
  77. in that case - NAIS
  78. in the case - NES
  79. in this case - NIS
  80. intellect - SBLEKT
  81. intellectual - SBLAUL
  82. irrelevant - IR
  83. latent - LAINT
  84. latent fingerprints - L-PTS
  85. litigation - LIGS
  86. marked for identification - M-FD
  87. misdemeanor - MOID
  88. misdemeanors - MOIDZ
  89. misstates the evidence - MEFD
  90. misstates the testimony - MEFT
  91. motion to strike - MOETS
  92. move to strike - MOFT
  93. next in order - NORD
  94. nothing further - NURG
  95. observation - OFGS
  96. observe - OBS
  97. observed - OBDZ
  98. observes - OBZ
  99. observing - OFG
  100. occupation - OUPS
  101. operator - PRAIRT
  102. pardon me - PARM
  103. phencyclidine - FEN/FEN
  104. phone call - FOENK
  105. real estate - RAOE
  106. real estate agency - RAOEGS
  107. real estate agent - RAOEG
  108. rear-view mirror - R-FM
  109. relate - RAILT
  110. relevance - REFS
  111. relevancy - RAEFS
  112. relevant - REFT
  113. resource - RORS
  114. resources - RORS
  115. second time - SOIT
  116. sexual intercourse - SKORS
  117. she did - SHED
  118. she observed - SHEFRBD
  119. shed - SHED*
  120. side-view mirror - S-FM
  121. state of mind - STAOIND
  122. they did - THED
  123. they observed - THEFRBD
  124. third time - TOIT
  125. training and experience - TREX
  126. we did - WED
  127. we observed - WEFRBD
  128. wed - WED*
  129. where was - W-RFS
  130. within - W-N
  131. work address - WAES

October 3, 2011


I'm going to start posting words/phrases that I want to review each week.  There won't be any set rules on how many words each week I will go through.  Most of these words I do know in the back of my steno brain, but I don't have the strokes 100% memorized.  That's what my goal is by the end of each week: to memorize these words and be able to recall them immediately.  Again, don't fear -- MOST of these words I already do know.  I just need to practice them a little bit more to truly cement them into my cerebral. :)

I'll print my weekly words and highlight the ones that I'm having difficulty recalling throughout the week.  Thus, I will have a focal point when I go through my words and will spend more time on the highlighted words/phrases.

Please feel free to join me! :)

Here is Week #1...


  1. about what time - BAOIM
  2. acquaintance - KWAINS
  3. acquaintances - KWAINZ
  4. actual - TUL
  5. actually - TWAUL
  6. addiction - DIX
  7. admitted into evidence - NOEFD
  8. after the accident - AEX
  9. all the - AULT
  10. argue - GAOU
  11. argued - GAOUD
  12. argues - GAOUZ
  13. arguing - GAOUG
  14. argumentative - GUF
  15. arraign - AIRNG
  16. arraigned - AIRNGD
  17. arraigning - AIRNG/G
  18. arraignment - AIRNMT
  19. arraigns - AIRNGZ
  20. arrange - AURNG
  21. arranged - AURNGD
  22. arrangement - AURMT
  23. arranges - AURNGZ
  24. arranging - AURNG/G
  25. at all - TAL
  26. author - AUR
  27. authored - AURD
  28. authoring - AURG
  29. authorities - THORTS
  30. authority - THORT
  31. authorization - THORGS
  32. authorize - THORZ
  33. authorized - THORDZ
  34. authorizes - THORZ/Z
  35. authorizing - THORGZ
  36. authors - AURZ
  37. autopsies - AUPZ
  38. autopsy - AUPS
  39. awed - AUD
  40. babble - BABL
  41. back on the record - BR-RD
  42. bandana - B-ND
  43. baseball - BAIBL
  44. basketball - B-BL
  45. bathroom - BARM
  46. bedroom - B-RM
  47. before the accident - BAEX
  48. birthday - B-RD
  49. carrier - KR-ER
  50. cash register - KAJ
  51. cash registers - KAJZ
  52. communicate - KMAOUK
  53. communicated - KMAOUKD
  54. communicates - KMAOUKZ
  55. communicating - KMAOUG
  56. communication - KMAOUX
  57. compare - KPAR
  58. compared - KPARD
  59. compares - KPARZ
  60. comparing - KPARG
  61. comparison - KPARS
  62. conference - KOFRNS
  63. conferences - KOFRNZ
  64. deteriorate - DRAIT
  65. deteriorated - DRAID
  66. deteriorates - DRAITS
  67. deterioration - DRAIGS
  68. do you know - DOUN*
  69. do you mean - DAOUM
  70. do you recall - DOURL
  71. do you recognize - DOURG
  72. do you remember - DOURM
  73. do you think - DOUNG
  74. document - DOUMT
  75. documentation - DOUMGS
  76. documented - DOUMD
  77. documenting - DOUMG
  78. documents - DOUMTS
  79. down - DOUN
  80. driver seat - DRAET
  81. driver side - DRAOID
  82. driver's license - D-L
  83. driver's seat - DRAET*
  84. driver's side - DRAOID*
  85. during the accident - DAEX
  86. during the course of - DROURS
  87. effective - AEF
  88. effectively - AEFL
  89. event - AOENT
  90. events - AOENTS
  91. household - H-LD
  92. households - H-LDZ
  93. I am - Y-M
  94. I did - ID
  95. I do - YO*
  96. I do not know - YOEN
  97. I do not recall - YOERL
  98. I do not remember - YOERM
  99. I do not think - YOENG
  100. I don't - YO
  101. I don't know - YON
  102. I don't recall - YORL
  103. I don't remember - YORM
  104. I don't think - YONG
  105. I.D. - ID*
  106. immaterial - IRM
  107. in any event - NAOENT
  108. in evidence - NEFD
  109. innefective - NAEF
  110. innefectively - NAEFL
  111. insurance carrier - SHAOURK
  112. is it true - STRAOU
  113. isn't it true - SN-R
  114. laundry - LAURND
  115. may have been - MAIFB
  116. meantime - MAOIM
  117. mechanism - MEFP
  118. medical insurance - MAOURNS
  119. no objection - NOEX
  120. obtain - AUB
  121. obtained - AUBD
  122. obtaining - AUB/G 
  123. obtains - AUBZ
  124. occupant - AUPT
  125. odd - OD
  126. off the record - AUFD
  127. offhand - AUFND
  128. opposition - PIGS
  129. parking lot - PROT
  130. parking lots - PROTS
  131. passenger seat - PAET
  132. passenger side - PAOID
  133. passenger's seat - PAET*
  134. passenger's side - PAOID*
  135. paycheck - PAIFP
  136. permissible - PERBL
  137. permission - PERGS
  138. permission to - PAOERGS
  139. Persian - PERGS*
  140. prior to - PRAOIRT
  141. priorities - PRORTS
  142. priority - PRORT
  143. properties - PROPTS
  144. property - PROPT
  145. purport - PURT
  146. purported - PURT/D
  147. purporting - PURGT
  148. purports - PURTS
  149. quarrel - KWOERL
  150. quarreled - KWOERLD
  151. quarreling - KWOERLG
  152. quarrels - KWOERLZ
  153. quarter - KWAUR
  154. quarterly - KWAURL
  155. savings and loan - SLOEN
  156. scene of the accident - SNAEX
  157. so granted - SGRAND
  158. so marked - SMARKD
  159. so stipulated - STOIPD
  160. tall - TAUL
  161. taller - TAURL
  162. to my knowledge - TIRJ
  163. to the best of my knowledge - TIBS
  164. to the best of your knowledge - TOUBS
  165. to your knowledge - TURJ
  166. what do you mean - WHAUM
  167. what time - WHAOIM
  168. where was - W-RFS
  169. whom - WHAOUM
  170. Yes, I am - YAM
  171. Yes, I did - YID
  172. Yes, I do - YOD
  173. you did - UD
  174. you do - UD*
  175. you mean - YAOUM
  176. you're welcome - YURM

October 2, 2011


This past week I ALMOST passed my 180 4V test.  I missed it by ONE POINT!  Grr!  I was so bummed.  I did the exact same thing last term: missed the same test by ONE POINT!

My husband encouraged me though saying that he is sort of glad that I didn't pass this test.  He would rather me pass my tests by sheer skill and determination, not from "luck."  He would rather me cut that error rate in half to make sure that there is no scare of a failed test.  He would rather me have more of a buffer to ensure a passed test at 97.5% accuracy.

I see what he means.  Writing at 97.5% accuracy though is NOT easy... but I keep telling myself POSITIVE things like "I'm almost there" and "It's just a matter of time" and "I will pass this test for sure very soon."  Three pieces of advice I keep hearing from working court reporters and court reporting instructors to us court reporting students are:

  • You MUST believe you can do this!
  • You MUST stay positive!
  • You MUST let go of the anxiety in your head and just let your fingers "do their thing!"  (Court reporting is largely a mental skill.)

I'm going to focus on the first adage: YOU MUST BELIEVE YOU CAN DO THIS!  Or as Henry Ford says it:

I wholeheartedly believe in this.  If you don't THINK you can complete the court reporting program, why even be IN the court reporting program???  BELIEF is Principle #1 to SUCCESS.  Why start if you don't believe you can finish???  You HAVE TO believe you CAN and WILL finish... and finish WELL! 

In closing, I DO BELIEVE that I will pass my 180 4V test soon.  I will WORK HARD to make sure that happens in the next few days, and I will continue to keep a POSITIVE ATTITUDE all along the way... even when I miss a test by only one point!  I will smile instead and think, "WOW!  I'm so close to passing this test!  It'll be soon for sure!"

I'll look at the bright side instead of getting bogged down with defeat since being depressed doesn't do me any good.  I'll get "mad" instead and work harder and smarter until I can happily announce that I've officially graduated from the 180 WPM speed level and entered the wonderful, challenging, and almost-done-with-court-reporting-school speed level of TWO HUNDRED WORDS PER MINUTE!!!

September 27, 2011


"Obstacles don't have to stop you. 
If you run into a wall, 
don't turn around and give up. 
Figure out how to climb it,
go through it,
or work around it."

-Michael Jordan

September 26, 2011


This is for "M" who posted a comment recently:

Hi! I just stumbled upon your blog and really appreciate your point of view. I currently attend a private college for CR program, but I am having second thoughts. The financial benefit is my motivating factor in considering other options- to switch to another school. I'm trying to do as much research as possible to get adequate information about DAS program before I visit. Can I ask, how long you've been in school as DAS? :) M

Here is my response.  Just wanted to make sure "M" read this since the Recent Comments is finicky.

Hello, M!

Sorry for my delayed response. Glad you stumbled upon my blog. :)

Thanks for your question. I LOVE DAS!!! I believe I've been attending for 2 years now, but off and on throughout those 2 years and always part-time. Last semester was my first time to go full-time. Since coming full-time I've been progressing much faster than ever before, so that's good. I'm at the 180/200 WPM level right now and want to finish next year.

I totally recommend DAS! It is very affordable compared to the other court reporting programs out there, and DAS gives you so much! Their labs are open M-F, they give a test each period (there are 5 periods), and the teachers and resources here are great! Please seriously consider it... and if you do decide to enroll, please let them know I referred you (I could get $25 off my next tuition for each referral).

Thanks so much and all the best to you! :)

Christine (Steno Nerd)



I need to be a uni-tasker, not a multi-tasker.  At least when it comes to stenography.  I need to think of one thing at a time, not a million things a second while attempting to write at 180/200 WPM with four voices shooting off at any time!

Unfortunately, I haven't been writing my best lately because I've been dong the exact opposite of what I should be doing during test time.  I over-think too much.  In fact, so much that I'm repeating in my head, which is such a bad habit to acquire in speed-building.  You want to just hear the word, write the word, hear the word, write the word.  I need to shut off my wandering thoughts, not second-guess myself on how to stroke this or that, and let my fingers do their thing.

Last week we had a guest speaker at school.  She is an alumnus of Downey Adult School and now works as a freelance reporter at Hutchings Court Reporters.  She passed the CSR in three attempts.  The first time, she passed the machine portion (which is usually the last section people pass; she said she was always good on the machine), the second time she passed the codes/ethics portions, and the third time she passed the English portion.  She jokingly said that she thinks she has a one track mind and needs to concentrate on one task at a time.  I think that's great!  I want to be like her!  You set a goal and work toward that goal until it becomes an ACCOMPLISHED goal.

Our guest speaker was so focused on the CSR test that she didn't hear of another test-taker literally run and scream out of the room as soon as the 10-minute test was done (poor lady!).  She only heard of this through another test-taker after the test was done.  Our guest speaker didn't hear anything because she was SO FOCUSED during the test!  She was actively waiting to hear what the speakers would say next.  A natural disaster could have struck that room, and she said she probably would not have noticed.  Oh, to get to that level of focused concentration, of uni-tasking purposefully.

I looked up the definition of focus on  Focus means to aim attention at.  Some synonyms of focus are such words as centralize, fasten, fixate, hone in, pinpoint, bull's eye, core, focal point, heart, limelight, locus, zero in, spotlight, and target.  Two antonyms of focus are ignore and neglect.  This hits home for me... because I do NOT want to ignore or neglect my speed-building.  I want to discipline my mind to focus and write at my goal speed (and higher), so that I can move closer and closer to passing my next test.  I need to get back to the basics of zoning out when I write.  For me that means focusing on one object in front of me, which is usually a spot on the floor, a pen, the chair in front of me -- whatever.  I want to focus so much on that object and hear the speaker's words so clearly that my eyes become blurry but my fingers are keeping up with the speaker as they stroke out syllable by syllable on the steno machine.

Anyway, that's my rant for today, hehe.  Hope you guys are all doing well and focusing better than me whether that is at school or out on the job.  May we all learn to become better uni-taskers as we speed-build!

P.S. Here is another blog post about staying in the zone, focusing, or having "no mind."

September 11, 2011


By: Aaron Walsh
This poem was written when he was in the 6th grade right after the 9-11-01 attacks.

I hold in my hands…

The dust.

The dust and wreckage of the towers.

Even though I wasn’t there,

I can still feel it.

It has damaged my hands with dirt.

It has damaged my heart with sorrow.

It has damaged my body with fear,

and it has damaged my life with war.

I hold in my hands…

My life.

My life could soon be filled with war,

cruelty at its worst.

Miles away, I can hear the planes’ roaring engines, gliding through the air.

I hold in my hands…

My future.

My life ahead.

Whether it will be filled with war or peace, we will not know.

My future keeps me going from dawn to dusk.

I hold in my hands…


Hope for the future.

Hope for peace.

Hope for my country’s freedom.

And hope for America to win this war on terrorism.

September 8, 2011


Welcome Back, DAS Students!!! :)

Today was the first day back to school.  We had a 2 week summer vacation.  I used most of my vacay time racking up my required freelance intern hours.  I still need to transcribe all the hours of depo I sat out on and submit all the paperwork.  I'll do this slowly and surely each passing day (there's no due date).

I admit that during the break, besides going to the depos, I did not practice on my machine as much as I had planned to.  I felt that I was getting enough strenuous practice in the "real world."  It felt GREAT!  On one of the depos, the witness had a very thick accent.  It was really good practice trying to understand her and write correctly.

Unfortunately, there's nothing more dramatic to report other than the thick accent, haha.  Oh, except this tidbit from one freelance reporter.  I asked her if it's true that most freelance reporters go shopping when their job finishes early... and she said "YES!"  Well, at least she does (as do several others that I know)!  How awesome!  Can't wait for that, haha!

I went to to calculate how many days there are between today, the first day of school, and the last day of school, which is December 16th.  We have 101 days for our Fall 2011 term at DAS.  101 days breaks down to 3 months and 10 days... 8,726,400 seconds... 145,440 minutes... 2424 hours... 14 weeks (rounded down)... to get our goals completed!!!

This is the first time that I've gone to school full-time without working (thank you, hubby!).  This is also the first time that I've clearly written and defined my goals for each school term.  Using this combo of focused schoolwork (full-time with no job) and accountability with my handy dandy dry erase board in our kitchen (I LOVE the feeling of accomplishment I get each time I cross out a test I've just passed!) has helped me progress like never before... and I will not slow down now!

My specific goals to finish by the end of these 101 upcoming days are to:

  • Pass my 180 4-Voice Q&A at 5 minutes
  • Pass my 200 4-Voice Q&A at 5 minutes
  • Pass my 200 4-Voice Q&A at 10 minutes
  • Get into Qualifiers and pass that too!

If I don't cross off all of the above items as "DONE" by the end of the 101 days, that's okay.  At least I'm striving for the moon to land among the stars.  Once the Fall terms ends, next comes the Winter term... and I'll keep chugging away at court reporting school until I am officially done and I take and pass my CSR and RPR exams with flying colors!  All things are possible through GOD who gives me the strength!

All the best to you all, fellow Court Reporting Students!  May you all reach your goals in 101 days... or whatever time frame you are setting for yourself!  We can do this!!!  BELIEVE!!!

August 22, 2011


Hi, All!

This blog post is a bit different from the usual.  This time I really would like to ask YOU a question... and would LOVE to get your feedback!

Right now the only tests I need to work on are all 4-Voice Q&A.  The problem is, however, that Q&A seems to be my most difficult subject matter to pass! :P I do better with straight matter (like Jury Charge or Literary/Congressional) since there's no sign changes all over the place.

My question for you is: What tips do you have on getting better at Q&A?

I know that Brandi posted the same question on (found HERE), but I am still HUNGRY for answers!

Please let me know your thoughts!!!  THANK YOU!

August 21, 2011


BELIEVE while others are doubting.

PLAN while others are playing.

STUDY while others are sleeping.

DECIDE while others are delaying.

PREPARE while others are daydreaming.

BEGIN while others are procrastinating.

WORK while others are wishing.

SAVE while others are wasting.

LISTEN while others are talking.

SMILE while others are frowning.

COMMEND while others are criticizing.

PERSIST while others are quitting.

By: William Arthur Ward

To see the YouTube version complete with piano music in the background, click HERE.

August 18, 2011


We get 2 weeks of Summer Vacay at our school.  Yay!

My goals for these 2 weeks of Summer Break are to:
  • Complete all freelance intern hours (I have my official intern hours done already, thankfully) 
  • Practice this combo each day: 1) Common words, 2) Briefs, 3) 200-240 WPM, 4) 180-200 WPM, 5) Read back, 6) Finger drills, 7) Theory, 8) Briefs.

Once back in school, my SEPTEMBER 2011 TO NEW YEAR 2012 GOALS are to:
  • Go to every 180, 200, 225, and 240 WPM 2V and 4V class
  • Transcribe and grade each take and keep a record of my error rate
  • Practice this combo each day: 1) Common words, 2) Briefs, 3) 200-240 WPM, 4) 180-200 WPM, 5) Read back, 6) Finger drills, 7) Theory, 8) Briefs.

BOTTOM LINE GOAL: Pass my 180 4V, 200 4V at 5 mins., and 200 4V at 10 mins. by end of year and get into Qualifiers!


August 9, 2011


Today reminds me of another reason why I love the CR field... more particularly, the freelance aspect of it (should you choose this option as opposed to official CR'ing or employment with an agency/firm/company).  My poor husband has been sick since Sunday, and I have been staying home to wait on him.  I'm glad that I can do this now as a student (thankfully I'm caught up on my TC's {typing credits}).  And I'm very glad that I will continue to be able to do this later on as a professional freelance CR.  I love the fact that as an independent contractor, I get to decide my working schedule and choose how often I want to work.  This is TRULY a blessing!  Thank GOD for this!

In the meantime, may you get better soon, Hubby!  And yes, I'm still practicing at home.  I've been using these speed-building DVD's --  Great dictation! ;)

August 6, 2011


I just got an email from a CR instructor regarding my last blog post -- "Accomplish List: My Steno Briefs." This CR instructor does agree that a CR student at 140 WPM has the ability to reach 225 WPM.

However, he differs with me regarding steno briefs.  He does not believe incorporating thousands and thousands of briefs as a CR student helps one progress.  Rather, he believes doing so hurts CR students.  He brought to my attention what most people forget about the speed champ, Mark Kislingbury -- he's a REMARKABLE person who (most likely) has a photographic memory.  If anyone is a "natural" at court reporting, then Mr. K is FOR SURE!  (Click HERE to read why Mark K. believes in "writing short" -- meaning, incorporating as many briefs as possible.)

The CR instructor said that he has seen numerous CR students get stuck in speeds because they try to memorize all these brief forms.  I really appreciate this CR instructor's time and effort to reach out to me (and subsequently you too!) with his warnings about steno briefs.  However, the briefs that I'm incorporating in my list are mostly ones that I already know of, but I want to know them "in an instant" when I'm writing at those high speeds.  Also, I have steno going through my brain at all hours of the day.  I'm CONSTANTLY in my own steno world recalling to memory a brief here and there (so much so that I sometimes talk "steno" to my husband!).  Most of my briefs don't come from "nowhere."  They are usually "families" of each other.  For example:

green light - GR-LT
red light - R-LT
stop light - ST-LT
traffic light - TR-LT
yellow light - Y-LT


bank account - B-KT
checking account - KH-KT
savings account - S-KT

These "family briefs" are so much easier to remember since they have the same right hand coordination.  You only need to change your left hand to make out the word you hear, and it's natural to think of "B" for bank, "KH" for checking, and "S" for savings.

However, if the brief does NOT come naturally to my fingers and/or my mind, then I WILL drop that brief and just "write it out."  No biggie. :) With that said, I still DO want to incorporate AS MANY BRIEFS AS POSSIBLE, so that I can have as much speed advantage as possible.

I guess there's a delicate balance regarding briefs.  To brief, or not to brief -- that is THE question for us in the CR world!  And you know who can answer that?!?!  ONLY YOU!!!  If it comes naturally to YOU, then DO it!  If not, drop the brief and move on... and learn other briefs (at least that's what I'll be doing!).

Again, THANK YOU to this CR instructor who cared enough to email me!  Much appreciated, sir! :)

August 5, 2011


A handful of my classmates from Downey Adult School attended NCRA's Annual Convention and Exposition over the past weekend, which was held in Las Vegas, Nevada.  They said that Mark Kislingbury, steno speed champion and creator of MagnumSteno and The Steno Master Theory, was there to speak to students.  He said a very interesting thing, which I fully believe.  He said that if you're a CR student writing at 140 WPM, you can FOR SURE become a working reporter.  Why?  Because:

1) You have the necessary skills at 140 WPM to reach up to 225 WPM
2) In order to get to 225 WPM, you need to incorporate as many briefs as possible

Thus, I am compiling ALL my briefs here on my blog.  I want to learn ALL these briefs and make them second nature.  I don't want to "write it out" but get my fingers thoroughly trained to AUTOMATICALLY stroke out the brief forms instead, which will save me time and help me stay on top of the speakers.  Click HERE to see my ever-growing brief list.  It's at the top of Steno Nerd entitled "My Steno Briefs."  I will go through my list every day, focusing on 30 to 50 briefs at a time.

Again, the goal is to make these briefs AUTOMATIC instead of "writing it out."  It's sort of like driving an automatic car instead of a stick shift car.  I know both work perfectly and will get you to your destination, but I figure why do the extra "work" if you don't have to?  For others though, I know "writing it out" may be their preference.  For me though, I know I'm the exact opposite of that.

Whenever I'm practicing, I always have Briefpedia open.  I LOVE this site!  Briefpedia is a FREE website full of steno briefs and phrases that are compiled by working CR's and student CR's alike.  You not only get numerous choices for a brief, but you get possible conflicts as well, which will help you choose the best brief for YOU and YOUR fingers.

Other sources for steno briefs can be found at these links:

Flashcard Exchange
Flashcard Machine
CSR Nation's Brief Group
Downey Court Reporting Students
Forum Theory in DepoMan
NCRA's Steno Briefs
The Brief Exchange

If you have any other links to steno briefs, please let me know!  I'd love to add it/them to this list!  Thanks.

August 4, 2011


I am so happy to report that I have passed my last Jury Charge for CR school!  It was a 200 WPM Jury Charge!  WOO HOO!

With that being said, I need the following tests to pass in order to graduate from CR school and move forward in taking the RPR and/or CSR exam.  May GOD continue to help me as I continue to work my booty off! :D

Here is my current road map to my final destination as a working licensed court reporter!

  • 180 4V at 5 mins
  • 200 4V at 5 mins real-time
  • 200 4V at 10 mins
  • QUALIFIERS - 200 Live 4V at 10 mins
All these tests are at 97.5% accuracy.


I become eligible to take California's CSR exam once I pass our school's Qualifiers, which is the same exact test that the CSR will give -- 200 Live 4V at 10 mins.  

OR I can bypass Qualifiers by first taking and passing the RPR exam (no requirements necessary except your steno speed and registration), and then taking California's CSR exam.

Another option is I can work now as a CART provider and/or broadcast captioner, both of which do NOT require any court reporting licenses.  However, it WOULD be good to have the CCP (Certified CART Provider) and/or CBC (Certified Broadcast Captioner) license, which are given by NCRA.

I want to get as many licenses under my belt as possible.  Right now, aside from my remaining tests at DAS, my focus is on the CSR and the RPR licenses.


The RPR consists of:
  • Lit at 180
  • JC at 200
  • 2V at 225
All these tests are at 95% accuracy.  You are given 75 mins to transcribe each take.

The RPR also includes a WKT of 105 multiple-choice questions with 90 minutes for completion and a passing rate of 70 or better.  It consists of:
  • Reporting (48%)
  • Transcript Production (44%)
  • Operating Practices (4%)
  • Professional Issues and Continuing Education (4%)
More info on the RPR can be found HERE.


The CSR consists of:
  • 200 Live 4V at 10 mins.  
This test is at 97.5% accuracy.

The CSR also includes a WKT consisting of:
  • English
  • Professional Practice (Medical, Legal, Codes, etc.)
More info on the CSR can be found HERE.


2V - 2-voice
4V - 4-voice
CBC - Certified Broadcast Captioner
CCP - Certified CART Provider
CR - Court Reporting
CSR - Certified Shorthand Reporter
DAS - Downey Adult School
JC - Jury Charge
Lit - Literary
NCRA - National Court Reporters Association
RPR - Registered Professional Reporter
WKT - Written Knowledge Test


Today I transcribed a 180 4V and missed it be NINE POINTS!  It wasn't at 97.5% accuracy, but SURELY it was in the 90% range?!?!  Close... SOOOOOOOO CLOSE!

With my JC test out of the way, my remaining tests are all Testimony at 4V.  So I will focus my practice to writing fast takes and memorizing helpful briefs and phrases.  Be on the lookout for lots and lots of briefs on Steno Nerd!  I've got a lot to learn... and re-learn! :)

July 29, 2011


My hubby shared this YouTube video with me.  He saw it on his friend's Facebook wall.  This friend of his is getting married soon, which is appropriate (I guess, haha!).  This video is hilarious and super cute!

Click HERE for the video.

So how the heck is this related to court reporting school???  Well, here's what I see...

This little girl showed such DOGGED DETERMINATION, even in the face of the constant screaming and tearful opposition of the little boy.  She continued to unwaveringly hold her ground.  She was ADAMANT about what she wanted and would not take "no" for an answer.  She even told him, "I'm not afraid of you.  I'm still marrying you."  How cute, right?!  And how true it is for us to also NOT be afraid... to type up that test, to go 20% above our speed level, to try for another certification, etc.

This little girl can teach us court reporting students a lot about TRUE DETERMINATION. :)


On another note, I'm drooling over this home office.  One day, one day... ;)

July 26, 2011


Last week at our school, Downey Adult School in Southern California, we had the pleasure of hearing a guest speaker from Total Recall, a CART providing company  located in Agoura Hills.  President of Total Recall, Sandy Eisenberg, could not make it because of health issues, so one of her CART providers, Susanne Watson, spoke to us instead.  Here are the bullet points of her convo with us steno students... all GREAT STUFF!

  • You do NOT need to be licensed to work as a CART provider.
  • CART providers earn $35+ an hour (to START!!!) depending on their skill level and certifications/licenses.  The more certifications/licenses you hold, the better.
  • Court reporting students in the 180/200 WPM range who are writing realtime are ENCOURAGED to work as CART providers while still going to school.  To do is a great way to build your speed and stamina... and you're getting paid in the meantime!
  • Don't be scared to jump into the working field.  Most of us have been in court reporting school for so long that we are deathly afraid of anything else.  Do NOT be like that!  Bite the bullet and JUST DO IT!
  • When you work as a CART provider, you arrive early to set up, write realtime for your client (who is deaf or hard-of-hearing) on your laptop, then email your notes to your client at the end of the day.  There is NO transcript to worry about.  However, you are CONSTANTLY working and building up your dictionary... as official reporters, freelance reporters, and broadcast captioners should do as well.  Students too!  We are ALWAYS working on our dictionaries.
  • Susanne has worked in various colleges as a CART provider such as UCLA, FIDM, Loyola Marymount, Santa Monica Community College, Pacific Palisades High School, and at several meetings and conventions.
  • You start off slowly in the CART world, but as you network, take more jobs, and/or more clients specifically request that you work for them, you can easily work more hours in each subsequent year.  
  • The summer times are usually slower since not many deaf/hard-of hearing students take summer classes.  However, during all other seasons there are plenty of day as well as night classes for CART jobs.  There are numerous CART jobs in both Los Angeles and Orange Counties.
  • Some jobs will pay you for prep work, which could be $200 in addition to your regular pay.  If not, you do your prep work at home before you go on the job.  Prep work consists of entering words/phrases into your dictionary for that specific job (which usually is a class).
  • You can make $750 in 1 day because you'll be going to 4-5 different jobs all over the area.  But this 1 day could take care of your whole week! :) It all depends on how much YOU want to work/earn.  
  • Some CART providers can work part-time hours and make $6K a month!  Again, how much you earn is dependent on your skills, certifications/licenses, and the amount of jobs you take.
  • Usually there are no health insurance/retirement benefits when you work as a CART provider because you are an independent contractor.  You provide your own steno machine, laptop, and skill set (180+ WPM).  There are some agencies, however, that will hire you as an employee.  If so, you work out your benefits with your agency and would be paid on an hourly or salary basis as opposed to a fee per job if you're an independent contractor.
  • If you want to get into the CART, broadcast captioning, or want to write realtime, practice to the news on TV.  News anchors talk clearly yet quickly!  Great practice for speedbuilding too!  And it's FREE!
  • It's best to do everything wireless.  Susanne is going to buy a wireless steno writer soon.  Being wireless makes it much easier to navigate in your classrooms/meeting areas as you work as a CART provider.
  • Susanne is currently not a certified court reporter or CART provider, but will take the CCP (Certified CART provider) exam given by NCRA (National Court Reporters Association) soon.  The exam is 180 WPM literary for 5 minutes which you must pass realtime with a 96% accuracy rate.
  • A lot of the briefs you use in school do not apply in the real world, especially in CART since you're doing various classes.  Therefore, she doesn't brief too much and just keeps up with the speaker(s).
  • If the job is more than 3 hours long, 2 CART providers are required to be at that job (they will alternate).  However, you do NOT split the cost between you two.  
  • Meetings start charging at $80 per hour with a minimum of 3 hours.
  • You can charge $100 per job if they ask to use your projector.  You can buy a good projector for $300, and if clients use it at least 3x, then you've made back all your money.  Projectors, extra monitors, and other backup equipment are all good investments for independent CART providers.
  • Susanne went to Bryan College for 1 year for Theory, then went online for the rest of her steno education.  She converted her garage to function as her office and built up her speed completely by going online.  Therefore, it IS possible to complete your court reporting journey remotely.  You do NOT need to go to a brick-and-mortar school if it is not possible for you because of distance, cost, and/or time.  If you're dedicated enough and have that quiet space somewhere in your home, then it is VERY DOABLE!
  • Susanne LOVES her job as a CART provider!  She cannot picture herself working in depos
  • If you're a student writing realtime in the 180/200 WPM, you are READY to become a working CART provider.  Don't wait!  Jump in!  Don't be afraid!  The market needs you!  And there's GREAT MONEY to be earned AS WELL AS the awesome opportunity to serve the deaf/hard-of-hearing community with your steno skills!
Lastly, here is the flyer that Total Recall gave us court reporting students.  EXCITING!!!

July 23, 2011


To add to my Etsy Love, I found some Cafe Press Love!

Click HERE to see what you get after you type in "court reporting" into Cafe Press' search box.

And out of the pages and pages listed, these are a few of my faves with their corresponding artist.  Cuuute! ;D

July 22, 2011


Fortunately or unfortunately, there really is no social element for me at school.  I really try to be in "school mode" during my time in school.  I seriously stay in my corner of the computer lab, bury my head in either the steno machine or laptop, and seem to only go out when I need to grade my TC (typing credit), use the restroom, or make/take a call.  No funny business! :P

I tend to be like this at work too.  Even when I'm working with super close friends at an office, I really cannot switch myself to that "social mode" since I know I'm still "on the clock."  I can finally let myself "loose" during a break or lunch or at the end of the day... and that's about it.  Maybe it's the obsessive part of me that wants to give 110% concentration at the task at hand.  It's nothing personal against anyone at my school or work environment... it's just that I like to compartmentalize my time.

Every waking moment, I'm consumed with steno... even when I get home! :P I browse the Internet for the latest talks on anything steno-related and write on my machine while my husband and I watch TV.  As Todd Olivas, CSR (certified shorthand reporter) and agency owner says, we need to EAT, SLEEP AND BREATHE STENO in order to get out of court reporting school as quickly as possible.

In the end though, I think my not being as social as I could be at school will help me out tremendously.  The official CSR I interned with last week told me that her friends jokingly called her a "homebody" during her school years because she went to school full-time and when she got home, she was yet again always on her steno machine.  She even made herself practice on the weekends.  But hey, if being a "homebody" and/or a "social recluse" at school is what it takes for me to get out of school, then so be it! :)

July 17, 2011


When I was planning my wedding of March this year, I logged into several times for general wedding inspiration and bought a few necessary items as well.  Everything on Etsy is handmade and therefore "one of a kind."  LOVE LOVE LOVE this place! :D

I visited the site again just now and this time typed "court reporting" in the search box.  Check out all these cute CR goodies I found!  DROOOOOL!!! <3

Here are two of my faves by Debra of Phoenix, Arizona.  Her design line is called Joshua By Oak. You can learn more about her HERE.

July 16, 2011


My friend asked me to email her friend who is looking into the possibility of jumping into the CR field.  She needed info on what a CR training involves, what to expect, etc.  This was my email to her, a potential CR student.  Hoping this blog post will help any other potential CR students out there!

My name is Christine, I'm a court reporting student, and our mutual friend gave me your email addy.  She told me that you're interested in a career as a court reporter (CR) and you needed some info before moving forward.  I am so happy to provide any help I can give! :)

Court reporting is a GREAT career...but it is NOT cut out for everyone.  You need to have discipline in practicing on the steno machine to eventually reach 225 WPM.  A great proficiency in English and punctuation wouldn't hurt you either!

There are many schools out there that will charge SO MUCH for your training, ESPECIALLY the private colleges out there (Bryan College in LA or South Coast College in OC, for example).  I myself attend Downey Adult School (DAS), which is very low in tuition -- $745 per quarter for steno and $145 per academic class...compared to literally thousands of dollars per month at other schools.  There is an even cheaper program than DAS, which is Tri-Community in Covina (don't know the exact rates, but last I checked it was cheaper than DAS).

If you cannot drive out to Downey or Covina, there is also the option of training via online courses.  DAS has an online course -- $549 per quarter.  I tried it for about 1 week, and I myself didn't like the quality of the training.  I had something to compare it too, which is  I HIGHLY recommend this online speed-building course, BUT they do NOT take Theory students...ONLY speed-building students.  The cost is $610 for 3 months, $920 for 6 months, and $1,550 for 12 months (you get a discount if you bring in multiple students to start the program with you).

Theory is the first thing you learn at court reporting training.  Theory is basically how you "write" (it's not called typing) on your steno machine.  Theory takes usually 6 months or so, depending on the individual.

And that is an IMPORTANT factor about the CR process: it's all up to the INDIVIDUAL!  There are some out there who are "naturals" and can get done with the whole program in 18 months!  Then there are those out there that, because of whatever circumstance (job, family, health issues, or plain old laziness) take 10 years to get out of school!  Yes, TEN YEARS!  So the beauty (and the beast) to court reporting is that YOU GO AT YOUR OWN PACE...and that is WHATEVER pace YOU set up.  You have FULL control.

Once you pass your Theory, there are the speed-building classes.  Most programs are organized in 20 WPM that would be 40 WPM, 60 WPM, 80 WPM...and all the way up to 225 WPM.  The CSR (certified shorthand reporter) exam in California is a 10-minute live 4-voice Q&A (testimony) panel at 200 WPM.  If you want to work in California, you MUST pass the CSR exam.  If you want to work at another state, you need to check and see what their state requirements are, if any.  Some states do not have any type of license requirement and you only need to be proficient at writing up to 200 WPM.

Along with building speed, there are "plateaus" that ALL students go through.  Some students will only get snagged in a speed level for 3 months or so...while others stay stuck for 1 year!  Again, it really depends on YOU and what YOU do to PUSH YOURSELF out of that plateau.  Some people may be just plain too busy or distracted to give their best and fullest attention to the CR program...but that is REALLY what you NEED to do.  If you can go full-time into the CR training and TRULY dedicate yourself to finishing fast and well, then you CAN and WILL do it!  (I have always gone to school part-time up until April of this year.  I got married and my husband allowed me to quit my job in order for me to dedicate all my working hours to school.  Now that I have, I am progressing faster than ever before!  If you can go full-time, DO IT!!!)

To pass a speed level (depending on which program, of course) usually means you need to pass 1 literary (or congressional) test, 1 jury charge test, and 1 Q&A (testimony) test...all in the same speed level at 95% accuracy or better.  At DAS some of these tests you must pass are at 97.5% accuracy...which is a lot harder than 95% (the error limit is pretty substantial).

Besides building speed, you need to also get your academic classes done, which are English, Vocabulary, Medical Terminology, Legal Terminology, Depo/Court Procedures, and Transcript Preparation (hoping I'm not missing anything).  These are regular sit-in classes (without your steno machine), but some schools offer these classes online.  At DAS I know we have Vocabulary and either or both Medical and Legal Terminology as online courses.

Later as you reach your higher speeds, you will need to take time out to do some observation hours and intern hours with official and deposition reporters.  This is the fun stuff really.  It just takes time, and that's hard to do, especially if you're working.  At DAS the requirement is 10 observation hours, 25 intern hours with an official reporter, and 25 intern hours with a deposition reporter.

So Theory, speed-building (including the plateaus), academic classes, and observation and internship hours are all in the package of any NCRA (National Court Reporters Association)-approved court reporting school you attend.  The majority of our training is, of course, speed-building up to 225 WPM.

If you want to do the bare minimum (for whatever reason), you could take Theory with a brick-and-mortar CR school or an online CR program such as CRAH (Court Reporting & Captioning From Home), then speed-build on your own at home all the way up to 225 WPM.  There are LOTS of speed-building DVD's and programs you could purchase WITHOUT ever having to pay a tuition.  If you decide to do this route (and you still live in California and want to work in California), you would then take the RPR (Registered Professional Reporter) exam, pass this...and then be eligible to take the CSR exam for California...then you're able to work in California as a licensed CSR...and you obtained TWO licenses in the meantime, instead of only 1.

Here are some links to some speed-building material you can purchase for use at home:

Also, I think it is VERY important to stay motivated, driven, and POSITIVE throughout your CR education...if you decide to pursue this.  Here are some links to some helpful forums where working reporters and students gather to ask and answer questions, share tips, and foster community.

Lastly, let me tell you about some options you have as a licensed court reporter.

You can work as an official reporter in the courtroom.  In LA County you could earn a GREAT salary with GREAT benefits.  On top of your employee salary (about $60K and more), you get paid for the transcripts you produce plus any copies of it.  The going rate for transcript pages is around $4 per page.  If you have people buying several copies, that all adds up...since usually transcripts that are purchased are in the hundreds of pages. Just this week I heard you can make up to $100K in transcript fees alone in preliminary hearings, and $200K in transcript fees alone in long-cause cases...and this is ON TOP of your employee salary and benefits!  You also get even more money if attorneys order an expedited transcript, have expert witness testimony (which is very dense material), or have hook-ups for attorneys to stream realtime on their laptops as you write on your steno machine (about $200 per attorney realtime hook-up).  It's NOT rare for court reporters to make $100K and more at court.  It depends though on which division you work at. 

You can work as a deposition reporter with 1 or several court reporting agencies.  You decide your own schedule, what type of cases you are willing to report, and how far you are willing to drive.  Note, however, that the depo reporters that make the big bucks are the ones that do not say "no" to any case, take the very hard cases, work M-F, drive anywhere, and are ready to take any last minute jobs they can handle.  A CR friend told me that on her 2nd year working as a depo reporter, she made $80K...but she also did the above.  However, this same CR friend of mine made $10K on 1 job alone as well!  She said that is pretty rare...and the more frequent cases of sky rocketing pay is up to $7K on 1 job alone...which is NOT bad!

Regarding official and deposition work, as a CR you can also hire a scopist and/or proofreader to look over your transcripts before submission.  A scopist is a person who reads steno notes, goes over your transcript, and basically polishes it up.  A proofreader does the same things, however, does not read steno notes.  Some CR's use none, 1, or both.  The going rate is $1+ per page for scopists and it increases based on what type of job it is (expedite, expert witness testimony, lots of audio where you need to listen to the audio recording several times, etc.).  I'm not sure of how much proofreaders get paid, but I'm pretty sure it's less than scopists (maybe $0.75 per page).

CR's that make the most money out there ($150K to $200K) are the ones that are, first of all, at the TOP of their field (they're like the Navy Seal 6 in the military, haha!), and second of all, they use scopists and/or proofers.  These CR's rely on scopists/proofers to help finish their transcript ASAP and into the clients' hands.  This way the CR doesn't have to do it themselves and can be busy taking even more jobs out there!  Everyone gets paid (CR's, scopists, and proofers)...clients get their transcripts...all is well! :)

You can work as a CART provider who is a CR that serves the deaf or hard-of-hearing community as they go to their college classes, doctor appointments, or anything like that.  You bring your steno machine with you, sit by your client, and produce realtime notes on your laptop for your client to read, so they are able to participate in the class or appointment.  There is no transcript that you produce.  You just email your steno notes (converted to English using your CR software) to your client at the end of the day.  Some CR's like this field because they are helping people instantaneously and/or they don't want to deal with transcripts.

You can work as a broadcast closed captionist either at the TV station or from home.  The captions you see at the bottom of your screen are being produced realtime by CR's somewhere in the USA.  Currently you don't need a license to work as a CART provider or a broadcast closed captionist, BUT you also need to be VERY fast and VERY accurate on your steno machine.  Speeds are up to 240 WPM and accuracy rate is at 98%.  If you can do that, then there should be no reason why you do not have your license.

To start off as a working reporter, most CR's upgrade their student steno machine writer (usually a manual or an older version), which can cost $5K and more, depending on which model you choose.  You can choose do buy your upgraded machine during school or after you graduate.  (NOTE: You can buy used manual and older version steno machine writers anywhere from $100 to $2K on Acculaw, eBay, or Craigslist).  You will also need to buy your upgraded CAT (computer-aided transcription) software, which translates your steno notes into English.  The going rate is $5K and the most used brands are Case Catalyst and Eclipse.

So wow...that's what I have to say about the CR least all that I know of it to date. :) Oh, let me add another thing: I also DO KNOW that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE my soon-to-be profession.  I LOVE the prestige of having a skill that not many have (or know about!).  I LOVE the flexibility of the job if you want to work as a depo reporter, CART provider, or even broadcast closed captionist (the flexibility is great for parents!).  I LOVE the fact that working as an official reporter, I am playing a crucial role in the justice system.  I LOVE the fact that working as a CART provider or broadcast closed captionist, I am helping the deaf or hard-or-hearing community.  I LOVE the fact that the pay is more than awesome, dependent on how much I want to work.  Yes, CR's can and do make good money...but they also really do EARN that good money!  

It is NOT easy getting through CR school and graduating.  95% (or more!) of students who start the CR training...quit. :( But if you CHOOSE to not quit and CHOOSE to truly want this CR CAN have it!  Job security is so there!!!  There is a SHORTAGE of CR's...and we will NOT be replaced by electronic recording devices anytime soon.  If anything, technology HELPS us court reporters since we can now work anywhere in the world and produce our work live via realtime.  Technology only helps our cause...if we continue to hold the bar of CR's and their skills to the high level it deserves.

Again, if you really want it, you CAN have it!  All the best to you!!! :)


By: VintageVerses of