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! :)

By: VintageVerses of