Welcome to USCRA, the United States Court Reporters Association















FAQs


MEMBERSHIP QUESTIONS

1. I’m interested in joining USCRA. What membership category is appropriate for me?

If you are a full-time Federal Official Court Reporter employed by the United States District Court, you would fall under the Regular Member category. If you are a Federal Official Court Reporter who job shares with another reporter, you should join as a Job Share Member. If you are a court reporter but you are not employed by the United States Courts, you are eligible to apply for membership under the Associate Member category. Student court reporters may join under the Student Member category, and non-reporters interested in joining USCRA may apply for membership as a Supporting Member.

Please note that pursuant to the USCRA bylaws, Associate and Supporting Member applicants require endorsement by a Regular Member. The endorsement box appears in the lower left-hand corner of the membership application. If you don’t know a Regular Member, please write to membership.uscra@gmail.com.

2. What benefits will I receive by joining USCRA?
There are many benefits to joining USCRA. USCRA is the only association that concerns itself solely with issues that affect federal official court reporters. Job Share and Regular Members receive online access to USCRA’s private library, which contains invaluable information for the working federal official court reporter. All members receive a subscription to USCRA’s quarterly publication, The Circuit Rider, as well as important updates regarding current issues. USCRA membership also entitles you to be on the new e-Rider mail list in order to receive e-mail updates on various information important to you and your career as a federal official court reporter. As an USCRA member, you also have the opportunity to sit for four Federal Certified Realtime Reporter (FCRR) examinations per year. Regular, Job Share, and Student Member applicants may apply for or renew their membership online. Join us today!

3. I recently left the federal court in order to work as a freelance reporter. Why should I maintain my USCRA membership?
Some former federal reporters enjoy working in federal court on a contract basis. Maintenance of your USCRA membership will enable you to stay abreast of current issues that affect reporters working in federal court. As a freelance reporter, you would be eligible to join as an Associate Member at $50 per year. What a bargain!

4. If I join in the middle of the year, how long will my membership last?
If you join at any time before the Annual Convention (held in October of each year), your membership will be in effect to the end of the current calendar year. If you join after Annual Convention, your membership will be in effect until the end of the next calendar year. For instance, if you pay your dues in September of 2005, your membership will expire December 31, 2005. However, if you pay your dues at the end of October 2005 after the Annual Convention, your membership will expire December 31, 2006.

5. Do I have to be a member of USCRA in order to sit for the Federal Certified Realtime Reporter (FCRR) examination or USCRA’s Realtime Speed Contest?
Yes, you have to be a member in good standing with the Association in order to sit for the FCRR exam or compete in the Realtime Speed Contest. Any category of membership will satisfy this requirement. The Realtime Speed Contest has the additional requirement that you be registered to attend some portion of the Annual Convention at which the contest is administered.

6. I’m a current member of USCRA. When do I need to pay my annual dues?
Membership renewals become due on December 31st of each year. Anyone who has not renewed by April 1st will be removed from the USCRA membership rolls.

7. I have a question specific to my own membership, or my question hasn’t been answered in this area of the website. What should I do?
Send further inquiries to membership.uscra@gmail.com, and your questions will be answered promptly.



FAQs FEDERAL CERTIFIED REALTIME REPORTER (FCRR) EXAMINATION


What is the FCRR Exam?
What is the format?
Can I write the examination in all caps?
Are reporters required to use the Test Mode of their writer?
Are reporters allowed to use a wireless hookup to their laptop during the FCRR?
Is the dictation live or recorded?
Who can take the exam?
Does the Administrative Office for the United States District Courts recognize the FCRR exam for purposes of realtime certification?
When is the FCRR exam given?
How many tests are given at each exam offering?
Do I have to register for both tests?
How much does it cost?
How do I register to take the FCRR exam?
Can I wait to register onsite on exam day?
Do I have to register for the seminars in order to take the FCRR exam?
Will I receive confirmation of my exam registration?
What if I need to cancel my registration?
How many errors are allowed on the exam?
Will I receive a numerical score with my results?
What is a test verification and how much does it cost?
What should I bring to the exam site?
Am I required to use a disk or paper in my writer for the exam?
How is the exam administered?
Is anyone allowed to help me during the exam?
Can I use a cheat sheet for briefs or special terms?
Does NCRA award continuing education units for the FCRR exam?
Are there practice tapes I can purchase?
Who can I contact for more information about the FCRR exam?


Q.     What is the FCRR Exam?
A.      Five minutes of dictation at speeds ranging from 180-200 words per minute designed to test the basic realtime skills of federal official court reporters.

Q.     What is the format?

A.     Three-voice, question and answer, material taken from actual federal court transcripts. The third voice is colloquy, and the speaker identification is provided with registration confirmation.

Q.     Can I write the examination in all caps?
A.     Yes, writing in all caps is allowed.

Q.    Are reporters required to use the Test Mode of their writer?

A. If a steno machine has a Test Mode capability, the Test Mode must be used.

Q.    Are reporters allowed to use a wireless hookup to their laptop during the FCRR?
A.    Candidates are prohibited from using electronic devices of any kind once they have signed in at the test site.  Electronic devices include, but are not limited to, audio sync, Bluetooth, wireless connections, and digital recorders.

Q.    Is the dictation live or recorded?
A.    It is recorded on CD.

Q.    Who can take the exam?
A.    You do not have to be a federal official court reporter, but some form of membership in USCRA is required.

Q.    Does the Administrative Office for the United States District Courts recognize the FCRR exam for purposes of realtime certification?
A.    Yes.

Q.    When is the FCRR exam given?
A.    
Twice a year, at USCRA's Midyear Board Meeting and Seminars held in the spring and at USCRA's Annual Convention in the fall.  [See the Calendar page]

Q.    How many tests are given at each exam offering?
A.    Two.

Q.    Do I have to register for both tests?
A.    No. You may elect to take one or both. If you choose to take only one test, you are required to write both, but only the first one is graded. This procedure is necessary in order to reduce delays and distractions for candidates who register for both tests.

Q.    How much does it cost?
A.    $150 for one test; $250 for two.

Q.    How do I register to take the FCRR exam?
A.    By mailing in the registration form included with the brochure for either the midyear seminars or annual convention which all USCRA members receive.

Q.    Can I wait to register onsite on exam day?
A.    No. The registration deadline is the Monday prior to a scheduled exam. This is strictly enforced in order to ensure adequate testing facilities.

Q.    Do I have to register for the seminars in order to take the FCRR exam?
A.    No.

Q.    Will I receive confirmation of my exam registration?
A.    A confirmation letter with instructions and special terms will be  mailed prior to the exam. If you provide an e-mail address, it will be sent via e-mail. Please note that USCRA does not provide confirmation for seminars, only for exam registration.

Q.    What if I need to cancel my registration?
A.    Should you need to cancel for any reason, you must contact the Chief Examiner prior to the exam. A voucher will be issued to you deferring any exam fees paid to a future exam date, not to exceed two years. There is a $25 processing fee per test. You are required to pay the difference in exam fees, if any.

Q.    How many errors are allowed on the exam?
A.    96% accuracy is required; thus, 38 errors are allowed.

Q.    Will I receive a numerical score with my results?
A.    No. Results are pass/fail only.

Q.    What is a test verification and how much does it cost?
A.    In requesting a test verification, you receive a copy of your test to see your numerical score and the types of errors you made. All text is blacked out but for the errors. You have 30 days following notification of results to request verification, and the fee is $35.

Q.    What should I bring to the exam site?
A.    Your confirmation letter, a picture ID, your writer, computer, realtime software, the cable that connects your writer to your computer, and a disk/thumb drive/CD on which you will submit your PDF file. Extra power strips are also helpful.  

Q.    Am I required to use a disk or paper in my writer for the exam?
A.    No. If you have the ability to write diskless and/or paperless, you may do so.

Q.    How is the exam administered?
A.    After showing a picture ID and being handed a numbered test envelope, you are given about 30 minutes for setup and practice. The proctor then gives step-by-step instructions for closing practice files, labeling the media used to turn in the exam, as well as opening and labeling the test file. The exam CD is then played, consisting of a 1-minute warm-up followed by a brief pause, then Test 1 followed by a brief pause, then another 1-minute warm-up followed by a brief pause, and finally Test 2. Because the warm-ups and tests are played continuously, the pauses are not long enough to allow you to open a new file and/or job dictionary. Thus, you will need to create just one job dictionary for use during the exam, even if you are taking both tests. At the end of Test 2, you will be instructed to step away from your equipment. A monitor will come to you and ask you to create a PDF of the test file and save it to your disk/thumb drive/CD, ask if you would like to verify that it is saved there, and instruct you to delete all test files from your computer and either reformat your steno disk and/or erase your writer's memory. After placing your PDF and paper notes, if any, in the test envelope and handing it to your monitor, you are free to leave.

Q.    Is anyone allowed to help me during the exam?
A.    No. The exam is designed to simulate the work environment, so you are not allowed to seek assistance with either setup or the creation of your PDF file. You may, however, utilize a cheat sheet with step-by-step instructions.

Q.    Can I use a cheat sheet for briefs or special terms?
A.    Yes.

Q.    Does NCRA award continuing education units for the FCRR exam?
A.    No.

Q.    Are there practice tapes I can purchase?
A.   Yes. Each volume of the FCRR Practice Series consist of one cassette or CD containing previously administered FCRR exams. Cost for each cassette or CD is $25 for one and $40 for two and can be ordered here: Practice Materials

Q.    Who can I contact for more information about the FCRR exam?
A.    The Realtime Issues Committee at fcrr.uscra@gmail.com .