What to Expect for the Court Reporter Exam

One of the hurdles that aspiring court reporters have to take is to get certified. While certification is a voluntary act, getting a National Court Reporter Association (NCRA) certification enhances your qualifications, secures your job and allows you to get more lucrative job assignments. For entry-level reporters, passing the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) exam opens more job opportunities when you are still starting out in your career. If you are an advanced court reporter, you can take the Registered Merit Reporter (RMR) or the Registered Diplomate Reporter (RDR) tests which greatly increases your earning capacity and enhances your ability as a highly-respected professional in the field.

The Registered Professional Reporter and Registered Merit Reporter exams are composed of 105 items in multiple choice form centering on four main domains: 1) Reporting, 2) Transcript Production, 3) Operating Practices (RPR)/Administration (RMR) and 4) Professional Issues and Continuing Education.

The Reporting domain focuses on reporting both the spoken word and nonverbal actions. Record verification, reading back, ancillary services (captioning, CART, data projection methods, optical scanning and digitizing, etc.) and record verification are also other topics covered in this area. In the domain on Transcript Production, Computer-Aided Transcription, research, proofreading and transcript distribution are the subtopics. In the RPR test, the Operating Practices will include questions on the filing, storage and destruction of notes and record keeping while the Administration domain of the RMR will cover office procedures. A court reporter's professional responsibilities and continuing education comprise the final domain of the test.

The highest degree of certification that a seasoned court reporter can attain under the NCRA is the Registered Diplomate Reporter (RDR). The RDR exam has six domains: 1) Reporting, 2) Transcription Production, 3) Management, 4) Education, 5) Marketing and 6) Professional Issues.

Under Reporting and Transcript Production, the questions will focus on reporting the spoken word, performing Computer Aided Transcription and verification of factual accuracy of a transcript. Managing reporting activities and consultations with the attorneys and their staff are part of the Management domain while the education of court reporters and instruction to attorneys and staff are part of the Education domain. Marketing questions will center on the promotion of court reporting services while professional responsibilities/development and ethics comprise the final domain of the RDR test.

For the Written Knowledge Test of the RPR and RMR you need to have a scaled score of 70 or better to pass. However, before you can be certified as an RPR or an RMR, you will still need to pass a skills test that will evaluate you in three areas. For the RPR, the Literary leg must be accomplished at 180 wpm, the Jury Charge at 200 wpm and the Testimony/ Q & A at 225 wpm. You will then be given 75 minutes to transcribe the notes from each leg with a 95 percent accuracy.

The skills areas for the RMR are the same except that the Literary must be done at 200 wpm, Jury Charge at 240 wpm and Testimony/Q & A at 260 wpm. Transcription time is still 75 minutes with a 95 percent accuracy in order to pass.

Before taking any court reporter exam, it is highly-recommended that you prepare for it first. There are study guides available that you can review before you take your test. A thorough review of each certification exam is necessary if you don't want to waste the application fees that you will have to shell out for each test.

If you believe that you have what it takes to be a Court Reporter, then the first step is the Court Reporter Exam Study Guide that walks you through the entire Border Patrol hiring process.

For more information, go to our page for the Court Reporter Exam Study Guide

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