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Top 15 tips to master online testing

testing-tips-lightbulbBy Marybeth Everhart

  1. Review the Detailed Instructions found on and
  2. Practice the testing process. We all tend to practice just the steno portion of an exam. It won’t matter how good a writer you are if you cannot complete the test online!
  3. Send an email to yourself and attach a steno note file. You’ll need to attach a steno note file when testing, and the process of navigating to those files on your computer is the same. Practice it until you can do it in your sleep!
  4. Send an email to yourself and attach a transcript file from your CAT software. The process is the same as attaching a transcript during testing.
  5. Don’t make this harder than it is. You don’t need to make a PDF or RTF or any other non-CAT format, but you do need to know where to find your files and what to look for.
  6. Know how to copy and paste your transcript from your CAT software. Read the section of the Detailed Instructions about your software so you’re comfortable with it, and practice, practice, practice.
  7. Use the free practice tests on to practice the testing procedure! The practicing process is identical to the testing procedure. The more comfortable you are, the less nervous you’ll be for the actual test.
  8. Use the same equipment to test that you practice on. Test day is not the time to introduce something new.
  9. Take at least one proctored practice. Two free proctored practices are included with your test registration, so use them.
  10. Don’t install anything new or download any updates between your proctored practice and your actual test.
  11. Practice, take a proctored test, and take your test in the same location. Don’t take your proctored practice at the office and test at home!
  12. Test at approximately the same day and time as your proctored practice. Your Internet speed may fluctuate throughout the day, so be sure it’s sufficient at the time you plan to test.
  13. Practice with your headphones on! That’s how you’ll be taking the test.
  14. Analyze your practice performance. Remember, practice makes permanent, not necessarily perfect! Identify your common weaknesses and resolve them! If using myRealtimeCoach, pay attention to the Focused Feedback and remember to stop, look, and change what needs to be fixed.
  15. Ready, begin: Two words, four syllables, ten letters. Don’t let these words be your undoing on test day. Every practice session should begin with that phrase, followed by a few short, sweet, and simple words of encouragement.

Watch a series of short videos with step-by-step instructions for completing an online skills test on NCRA’s YouTube channel.

Marybeth Everhart, RPR, CRI, CPE, is the national marketing manager at RealtimeCoach, a realtime trainer, and former court reporter. She can be reached at