FCRR 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.

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.    Following the announcement of the names of the reporters that passed, you will receive an e-mail with your scores of the exams.

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 $50.

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 (external link)

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