August 23, 2013

I DID IT!!! I PASSED THE CSR EXAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) :)

ALL GLORY TO GOD ALONE!!!!!!  I could not have done this without the LORD's abundant blessings and the constant support and encouragement from my husband, family, friends, and court reporting community.  I passed with 27 errors out of a possible maximum of 50, scoring a 98.7% accuracy!  My favorite number is 27 (we got married on March 27th)!!!  It's so meant to be!!! :) :) :)

For those of you who didn't get a pass this time, don't fret.  Keep pushing and believing.  You'll get your pass... it's only a matter of time!!!  Be proud that you gave the CSR exam your 100% effort!!!  During the waiting period from the July 19th CSR exam until today when I got the results, I kept telling myself to be proud of the 100% effort I gave to the exam.  I can't and won't regret anything since I gave it my absolute best shot.  And you shouldn't either!!!  Don't be discouraged.  Just pick yourself back up and get at it again.  I believe in you!!!  You can do this!!!

August 9, 2013


I got a wonderful email from a fellow steno nerd named Bill Parsons.  He is a court reporter and the creator of the website, Court Reporters Museum. He shared "The Court Reporter's Creed" with me, and I thought it was so great that I just had to share it with you all!  

Thank you, Bill! :)

August 5, 2013


Two weeks have passed since the CSR exam in LA.  How did it go???  That's what everyone wants to know, of course, and I'll be happy to share! :)

Here's my summary of my first (and hopefully last!) CSR exam experience:

The hubby and I checked in to The Westin on Thursday afternoon, July 18th.  I set up my printer and laptop in the transcription room around 5:00 or 6:00 p.m. (I don't remember the times exactly anymore), then practiced for roughly an hour at the warm-up session that RAPS (Reporting Association of Public Schools) set up.

I went to sleep at 9:00 p.m.  I didn't have any problems falling asleep, but I did wake up in the middle of the night from a nightmare. :( I prayed with my hubby that I would have a good night's rest, went back to sleep, and thankfully slept wonderfully the rest of the night.  THANK YOU, LORD!!! :)

I woke up Friday morning at 5:00 a.m., alert and excited.  I practiced in my hotel room to my stash of recorded Qualifier warm-ups given at my school, Downey Adult School.  My husband got me my needed caffeine and carbs from the Starbucks kiosk in the hotel lobby, and I ate and drank between practice takes.

While inside our hotel room, my awesome husband helped calm me and prepare me for the task at hand -- killing the CSR exam... well, as much as I possibly could anyway!!!  He coached me to have ice in my veins, have laser sharp focus, and to put all my emotions (fear, excitement, anxiety) away to simply "take care of business."  He urged me to give 150% of my best effort to the CSR... nothing else mattered.  Once I hand in my transcript, that is when I could "let go" and cry or laugh or complain about the test (haha!), but not anytime beforehand!  Tunnel vision.

We stood in line waiting for Group No. 2's turn to face the CSR exam.  While waiting in line, I honestly felt like a prized boxer going into the ring because my hubby was rubbing my shoulders and upper back, trying to relax me, which helped a lot!  I took big, deep breaths and stared at the wall or the ground to remain focused.

Then it was our turn!  I handed the proctors my application and found a seat in the dictation room.  I had to switch seats after everyone was seated since I needed an outlet (yup, I still rock the Stentura 200 SRT, but I cannot wait to get my professional machine... soon please!).  The panel of readers were very poised, calm, professional, and friendly.  One of them even kept cracking jokes, trying to relax us, which I very much
appreciated! :)

The panel gave their introductions, the little warm-up, and then the actual CSR dictation was read.  I heard everything clearly and the whole test sounded like a 180 rather than a 200, so that was awesome!  However, I wasn't able to stop my hands from shaking due to the nerves. :( They were shaking so badly!  All I can do is hope to GOD that despite the shaking, my hands were able to write down the correct words.

When I went in to the transcription room, I didn't use the full 3 hours given.  I know that I tend to second-guess myself, so I only took as much time as I felt would be beneficial.  If I over-think, bad things happen. :) I may have been in there 1.5 to 2 hours.  I compared my transcript with my steno notes, printed out a rough draft, looked up words in the dictionary, and went over my rough draft again and again.

Thankfully, I didn't come across any horrible untranslated sections of my transcript, so I'm really, really, keep-your-fingers-crossed, hoping for a pass!!!  We'll find out by the end of August.  I'll keep you all updated!

If it's not a pass, of course I'll be very disappointed because I did my absolute best... but then again, I WON'T have any regrets BECAUSE I did my absolute best!!!  If I have to go a second time to the CSR, I will use the same techniques I employed this first time... and we'll get a road trip out of it, too! :) It's seriously only a matter of time until I'm a licensed CSR -- Certified Shorthand Reporter of the State of California!!!  And for that, I'm so excited!!!  OH YEAH!!!  THANK YOU, LORD!!!  And thank you all for your support, interest, prayer, and encouragement along this long, wonderful, crazy court reporting journey!!!

So now that I'm waiting for the CSR exam result, I'm keeping busy by studying for the WKT (written knowledge test) portion of the exam -- English, medical, legal, and procedures.

By the way, I'm on Facebook now... so if you're a court reporting friend, please friend me!  My name is "StenoNerd Christine."  Thanks! :)

July 17, 2013


I just want to wish GOOD LUCK to all the CSR candidates, especially the lovely ladies that I recently graduated with.  BEST WISHES to Joanne, Caryn, Michelle, Mindee, and Allison!!!

I know you'll all do great!  WE CAN DO THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D :D :D

Dear Readers, please wish us luck too... and a prayer or two wouldn't hurt either!  Pray that we will have nerves of steel, all our equipment will work properly, and that we all will give 125% effort... so that whatever happens, we'll be satisfied that we indeed did our best... and that's enough. :) THANK YOU!!!

July 10, 2013


Yesterday we had our graduation celebration at DAS (Downey Adult School).  It was awesome to finally graduate!!! :)

BIG CONGRATS to my fellow grads and CSR exam candidates.  I'm really happy to be surrounded with a great bunch of positive, kind, and smart court reporters! :)

My hubby was able to attend and show his support.  I'm so glad he was there since he's my biggest fan! :)

Certificate of Accomplishment!

Proud Smile!

Celebration Cake!

I made little gifts for our teachers to show my appreciation.  I'm really grateful that I came to DAS and learned under their guidance.  

I also made goodie bags for my fellow grads.  By graduating the court reporting program, they have accomplished a feat that 90% or so of those who first start the program, never achieve.  So kudos to us!!! :)

It was so fun putting these presents together.  Here are some pics:

A BIG THANK YOU to my husband, family, and dear friends who have cheered me on and prayed for me throughout my court reporting journey in school.  This phase in my life will soon come to an end, thankfully, and my new phase as a working licensed reporter is just around the corner.  ALL GLORY TO GOD!!!  YAY!!!  I'M SO EXCITED!!! :) :) :)

Lastly, let me encourage those who are in court reporting school.  I know how frustrating and difficult this program is... BELIEVE ME, I DO!!!

  • I urge you never to quit.  If you never quit, you'll eventually get to your destination!  
  • Keep a positive attitude.  You can't go far with negativity, but when you're positive, open, and humble, wonderful things happen.  
  • Surround yourself with people who will cheer you on.  Stay away from those who gossip, malign, or refuse to truly support you in your court reporting journey.  
  • Set mini goals, meet them, and get an instant boost of confidence.  You should have goals for the day, week, month, and quarter.
  • Learn more and more briefs.  They'll only help you gain more speed, if you use them without hesitation.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your teachers for help.  They want you to succeed and they've been in the field for a number of years.  They know a tip or two to share with you, if you'll just ask.
  • Reach out to fellow students and court reporting mentors who are an invaluable source of inspiration, guidance, and resource.  We're truly the only ones who understand one another, so keep in touch.
  • Track your achievements and count them.  Pat yourself on the back if you raised your accuracy rate by 5% instead of beating yourself up because you didn't pass today's test.  You're inching your way toward passing that test, so you're going in the right direction.  It's only a matter of time till you pass, if you never quit trying.
  • Have a life outside of court reporting.  Sometimes we can get so focused and overwhelmed with passing a speed, that we have too much tunnel vision and then suffer from it.  What kept me sane was going out to movies with my hubby, getting creative with photos, cakes, and presents, and hanging out with good friends.  Find your balance.  Often when I'm relaxed, I do much better in class. 

Anyway, those are some tips I can think of offhand.  If you ever need more specific encouragement, please never hesitate to email me at  One of the biggest reasons I have this blog is to help fellow court reporters out there... because I've been helped by others, too.  Let's keep this wheel of court reporting love turning. :)

July 9, 2013


Coffee works a little too well for me!  Yesterday, Monday, I didn't stay in school very long at all.  As soon as the Qualifier was given, I packed my things to go home because I had a tummy ache.  I think it was something I ate at my mom's little birthday party on Sunday.  Maybe the food had been sitting out too long, and it was super hot.  Perhaps the culprit was my own homemade birthday cakes that I had made for my mom and my good friend, both July babies.

Check out my first attempt at baking a cake!  Haha!  Seriously, it was my very first time ever to bake a cake... and I went ahead and did two! :P Why?  Because I wanted... needed (!) to do something creative since I've been practicing like a madwoman and thinking of the CSR exam... um, almost every single second of every single day!  I needed a break in my one-track mind! :)

Anyway, as I was saying, I left school early yesterday and didn't practice very well at home because of my tummy ache.  Finally, around 4:00 p.m., I felt better.  Because I hadn't been practicing very well, I made myself some homemade iced coffee (just brewed a regular cup at home and immediately put it in the fridge to cool) to help me stay alert to practice well.  Um... it worked... too well!  I practiced at home, then tried to sleep around 10:00 p.m... and it is just not happening!  I finally got up at 2:00 a.m. and practiced some more on my steno machine!  Now, I'm on here posting this. :)

I thought... why not just get up and practice?  I'll probably be this anxious the night before the CSR exam anyway, so why not just practice as though the CSR exam is tomorrow and see how I do.  That's what a good friend of mine did when she passed the CSR exam on her first attempt.  She was so excited and anxious for the CSR exam that she hardly slept at all the night before... but she didn't let that lack of sleep get in her way at all!  She managed to get in a few winks of rest, woke up super early, practiced a bit, got dressed as if she was going on a job, and then killed the CSR exam!  I would love to follow in her amazing footsteps!

This not being able to sleep also reminds me of Michael Phelps and what happened to him during the 200-meter butterfly at the 2008 Olympics.  He had a "wardrobe malfunction" with his goggles and they started to fill up with water.  He couldn't see a thing!  Check this out...

Phelps' coach had been training Michael to fight for his wins no matter what crazy thing happened... whether Phelps wasn't feeling well, whether his goggles filled with water, whether a competitor tried to play mind games... through anything and everything, Phelps was trained to remain focus and swim to win.  And he definitely did!

That's how I believe we CSR candidates should be going into the CSR exam.  Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.  Push through no matter what happens!  There's bound to be a chair we're not comfortable with, a person whose machine is too rattly, a speaker with an awkward accent, an AC vent blasting in your direction, a fire engine blaring down the street, a sneeze.  Through anything and everything, we have to remain calm... focused.... and write to pass.

July 8, 2013


I have good news to share... and a lesson learned to share...

The Good News:  I passed a 3rd Qualifier on June 24th... and a 4th Qualifier on July 2nd!!!  WOO HOO!!! :D :D :D THANK GOD!!! :D :D :D 

I'm very happy with the passes!!!  I'm just hoping and praying that these mock CSR exams (what Qualifiers are, essentially) will also translate into a pass at the actual CSR exam on July 19th.  Yikes!  Only 11 more days away!  As my husband has encouraged me to say... BRING IT!!!

I think I've prepared my butt off for the fateful day, so whatever happens... happens.  I'm ready.  I won't have any regrets because I know I've prepared myself as best as I can.  I've given myself my best opportunity for a pass.  If I don't pass it on my first attempt, that's okay.  There's another opportunity waiting for me in November.  I won't look at myself as a failure at all... because I, along with my fellow CSR candidates, have done what very few can say... completed court reporting school, passed Qualifier, and made it all the way to the CSR exam.  It's now all just a matter of time on when I get that coveted California Certified Shorthand Reporter license.  I'll keep digging till I hit gold!!!  AKA I'll keep testing till I pass that exam!!!  No worries. :) I shall...

Now for the Lesson Learned: I could have passed a 5th Qualifier in the last week of June!!! :( The problem was my proofreading skills were seriously lacking... and honestly, I got sloppy and perhaps overly confident.  I always print a rough draft before turning in my final transcript for a re-grade.  In my attempt to save paper, though, I only re-printed the pages that I had marked up on my rough draft and then collated those into the original pages I had printed earlier.  Well, something screwy happened with my CAT software and it duplicated a whole entire line... and I didn't catch it... and it cost me 9 errors... putting me over a 52 total errors... which is not a pass at 97.4% accuracy. :( A pass is 50 errors at 97.5% accuracy.  I missed it by only 2 points and 0.1%.  Talk about frustration!!!

So what I've learned: Always, always print out everything and always, always go over the final hard copy one more time before submitting it.  I'll never make that mistake again!!!  My husband told me that it's a good thing that this happened during school and not at the CSR exam... and he's right.  Perspective.  So I'm grateful that this lesson has been learned on this side of my first CSR exam attempt.

Tomorrow is the day we get our diplomas!!!  So excited!!!  I'll share with you all about it soon!  Till then...

Thanks for reading... :)

June 14, 2013


Hello, Fellow Steno Nerds!

It's been way too long since I've given an update... and a lot has happened!  I have good things to share! :)

Biggest one is...


 After a long, long time -- because of my awesome, supportive husband, family and friends, with GOD's help and the burning passion HE placed in my heart about stenography years ago, and my perseverance and never-say-die optimistic bulldog stubbornness -- I passed the Qualifier TWICE (so far!) from Downey Adult School's Court Reporting Program.  First time was on April 25th and second time was on May 7th.  There were a handful of other times when I missed passing it a third time by a few points... darn!  There's still a few weeks before the July 19th CSR exam date, and my goal is to pass at least one more Qualifier by then.  Let's see if I can do it!  If not, though, I'm really happy and satisfied that I was able to get two under my belt! :)

At DAS, we have a total of SIX newly qualified students who will take the CSR for the first time, myself included.  I'm blessed to be able to go to the LA CSR with an awesome bunch of great gals!  BIG CONGRATS to Joanne, Caryn, Michelle, Mindee, and Allison.  Let's see who else will qualify before the deadline for this upcoming CSR exam!  Hopefully, lots more will join us! :)

 Other awesome news...

I won a $500 scholarship!!!  It was given by the Woman's Club of Downey, and I received it on June 5th.  What's amazing about this is I never even thought of applying for a scholarship since I'm exiting out of the program.  But my awesome teacher and court reporting director, Cindy, encouraged me to apply anyway, so I did... and they chose me!  That same week that I wrote my personal statement, I was stressing out big time about having to soon upgrade into a professional steno machine AND a professional CAT software... which cost approximately $5,000 EACH!!!  GOD totally provided by giving me this scholarship! :) It's not the full amount of what I need, but, hey, $500 is better than 0! :) I'll gladly take it! ;)

The women at DWC were soooooooooooooooo friendly and cute!  It seems their club exists simply to raise funds so that they can give back to the community.  How awesome are they???

Click here for the article about the scholarship ceremony on June 5th.  The same article will be printed next week in Downey's "The Patriot" newspaper.  I'm getting loads of copies!  Haha!  

DWC chose one student each from Downey High School, Warren High School, and Downey Adult School to award these annual scholarships to.  The high school grads will be attending Harvard and UCLA respectively this fall.  I, of course, plan to work as a freelance depo reporter in the fall... given I have my CSR license by then. :) The young lady in the blue dress (see pic below) won a recurring scholarship, which DWC renewed every year!  She just graduated from Brigham Young University and came to the scholarship ceremony to give her thanks.  The lady in the red is the immediate past president and the lady in the cream pant suit is the immediate past secretary.

 The Woman's Club of Downey Foundation board members, Linda Dong and Shirlee MacDowel.
I really wish I had applied to many more scholarships in the past!  You will always get a "no" if you never submit... but if you do submit, you have a chance... and you just might be the winner!  Lesson learned.

So yeah, good news all around... I can't complain! :) THANK GOD FOR ALL THESE BLESSINGS!!! :D Right now I'm keeping busy with trying to hone in my nerves and tighten my skills for the July 19th CSR exam.  Right after that, I'll be studying for the WKT (written knowledge test AKA academics) portion of the CSR exam.  So study, study, study... then hopefully, by the end of the year, I'll have my CSR license!  If not, though, I will NOT sweat it... because another CSR exam test is roughly 3 months away... and I'll keep taking that sucka' until I pass it!  No worries! :) Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers for the CSR exam... and if you have any tips for the big day, please let me know!!!  THANKS! :)

June 13, 2013


Hi, all! :)

I just posted a Yelp review of my school, Downey Adult School of Court Reporting.  Somehow, though, Yelp isn't showing my review... plus I want to endorse DAS here too so... here it is! :) I know my praises for DAS may sound "exaggerated," but I assure you... I really am THAT excited about DAS!  It's the best court reporting school in So Cal in my humble opinion! ;)


I've gone to 2 other court reporting schools, including 1 online program before coming to Downey Adult School's Court Reporting Program.  What a huge difference!

- There are way more speed classes at DAS, including a Qualifier given EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!  At the other schools, they didn't have that... plus the other schools were MORE EXPENSIVE!!!  How does that figure???

- DAS has a great, updated, and well-stocked practice lab full of free resources, as well as student website full of free briefs galore and other helpful handouts.

- DAS has an amazing CART class (taught by Maggie O.) that provides hands-on training and really opens the way for students to enter a fast-growing niche in the CR field.  I found this class to be extremely helpful as I was in the dark (like most of us are!) before taking this class.  Maggie also scheduled many guest speakers to talk to us about their CART experiences, which was awesome!

- DAS has some of the friendliest staff around!  Cindy G., the program director, is always on top of everything yet is so chill. :) Suzi C. reads high-speed dictation like a boss! :) They drill, throw in briefs and tips, and warm us up well before giving out dictation tests, which I feel is super important!

- Not only are the CR teachers nice, but even the janitor (Greg) is super friendly!  The CR students are also generally very helpful and supportive of one another, which is a positive, especially getting through a difficult, intense program such as court reporting!

I'm SO GLAD to have found DAS!  I just wish I had found it sooner!  I always encourage other CR students or potential CR students to ALWAYS check out DAS first!  They even give a free week of sit-ins, so you can really get the "feel" for the program before you commit.  How cool is that???

I'm so proud to be graduating this July from DAS' CR Program and taking the CSR exam.  I couldn't endorse them any higher! :)

P.S. Don't worry that DAS is not an NCRA-approved school.  My 2 previous schools were BOTH approved by the NCRA, and I feel that they were actually LACKING as a CR program!  When you get hired as a court reporter, especially here in California, the agency or court that hires you isn't going to ask if you went to an NCRA-approved school! :P They just want to make sure you have the necessary SKILLS with the appropriate accreditation to do the job... which is your CSR, RPR, CBC, CCP license and whatnot.  There's a REASON why several, several students transfer from other schools to go to DAS.

So yeah... like I said, I really wish I had found DAS sooner to avoid student debt. :P Oh well.  I guess that's why I REALLY appreciate DAS for all it is and probably love it more than those who started theory at DAS.  I know how "rough" it is out there with NCRA-approved schools and their RIDICULOUSLY high tuition fees.  Haha!

March 8, 2013


Great infographic on what successful people do vs. what unsuccessful people do.

Can I use my brief notebook as my journal??? :)

Happy Friday, all!  Hope you have a good weekend!

~ Christine (Steno Nerd)

March 7, 2013


 Get well soon
I decided to stay home today since I've been fighting a bad head cold since last Friday without any real rest... plus it was raining this morning.  We Angelenos are terrified of rain! :) Walking about from class to class in the cold at school doesn't sound like fun either when you're already struggling to get out of bed because of nagging, constant headaches, cough, and nasal congestion.  No thanks!  I'll take at lease one sick day!

But of course, since Spring Break is looming in the distance and I really, really, REALLY want to pass Qualifiers before then (please, GOD, help me???), I'm on my steno machine at home... and I'm working on briefs, which I haven't worked on in a while since I've been focusing lately on speed and reading through my sloppy notes in order to produce a transcript (trying to pass that Q!!!).

Anyway, here are the briefs that I've gleaned in the past hour.  I know a lot of them already but only through text... not muscle memory yet, which is where I need them to be. If I find out later that I simply cannot get my fingers to write out a brief, I'll scrap it and find another way... or simply write the word out.

In no particular order...

handgun: H-G
handguns: H-GZ
horizontal gaze nystagmus: HORG
police car: PLAR
particular: PLAER
particularly: PLAERL
police vehicle: PLAOEK
patrol car: PRAR
patrol vehicle: PRAOEK
police unit: PLAOUNT
patrol unit: PRAOUNT
pertinent: PERT
microphone: M-F
miles an hour: MAF
miles per hour: M-RP
traffic conditions: TR-NS
based on your: BOUR
training and experience: TRAEG
discover: DOFR
discovery: DOIFR
bilingual: BLEL
blood alcohol: BLAL
blood alcohol level: BLAOEL
certify: KREFR
certified: KREFRD
certifies: KREFRZ
certifying: KREFRG
certification: KREFRGS
something like that: SLA
something of that nature: SAOFP
rephrase: RAIRZ
rephrased: RAIRDZ
rephrases: RAIRZ/Z
rephrasing: RAIRGZ
the witness has identified the defendant: TWOIFD
raise your right hand: RAIZ/RAIZ
raise your right hand to be sworn: RURDZ
pertain: PRAIN
pertained: PRAIND
pertains: PRAINZ
pertaining: PRAING
pertaining to: PRAINT
pregnant: PRANT
pregnancy: PRAENS
prance: PRANS
if your Honor please: FORP
for the purpose of: FURP
for the purposes of: FURPZ

March 6, 2013


Hi, guys.

I'm so sorry I haven't been blogging... in forever. :( But I just wanted to pop my head in here real quickly to give you an important link.  (Another sorry for not blogging about this earlier.  I've had a really bad head cold for several days, and I haven't been on my computer at all.)

CCRA (California Court Reporters Board) is offering Mock CSRs to be given at three California schools on March 16th, Saturday, from 8:30AM to 12:00PM.  

In addition to the skills portion (live panel of 4 voices at 200 wpm... just like the real CSR), the Mock CSRs will consist of two WKTs (Written Knowledge Tests):

1) English
2) Legal / Medical / Vocab

Grading won't be done on site, but participants will be given materials to grade their transcripts from home.  Also, a minimum transcript review will be given.  (I've heard of CSR test-takers getting an automatic fail simply for using an incorrect format.  Yikes!)  At the end of the session, there will be a Q&A with a panel of professionals.

The three schools where the Mock CSRs will be held are:
Northern:  College of Marin, Novato, CA
Central:  Humphreys College, Stockton, CA
Southern:  Downey Adult School, Downey, CA

I also heard that my school (Downey Adult School) will have professional vendors on site to talk with students about their products (steno machines, steno software, etc.).

Cost is $30 for Student CCRA members and $40 for non-CCRA members.  If you pay the $40 as a non-member, that fee will also INCLUDE a ONE-YEAR Student CCRA membership!!!  Win-win!  Such a great deal!

Here is the important link:

Today is the LAST DAY to register... so do so today!!!


By: VintageVerses of