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
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! :)