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! :)

By: VintageVerses of