NCRA's professional testing cycle includes skills examinations on the first Saturdays of May and November. I have achieved the highest level of professional certification in my field - the Registered Diplomate Reporter - which certifies that I have amassed the professional experience and knowledge of a well-rounded professional court reporter. What I lack is the consistency and accuracy of the realtime reporter.
I have taken the test three times. Twice I actually felt really good about the skills test - it was a nice narrative about a mundane topic; the third time was Congressional Record, at which subspecialty I am appallingly deficient. This November I'm thinking that we're going to have another difficult, possibly Congressional Record-type, test.
With two months before the exam, I know I've waited a little long to start my practicing. However, I have a new steno machine (the LightSpeed) and a nice portable computer (my ASUS) and I plan to focus on my LS setup and my accuracy on small words.
I will be using the Google Calendar to record my practice. If you're in the testing mode and want to have a buddy to spur you on with your practice, let me know and I'll allow you access to my calendar. I think in this manner we have a "conscience" that keeps us honest even if our own doesn't. After all, how easy it is to say "I'm too tired" or "I have too much work to do" and neglect our practice? With a buddy, perhaps many more of us can succeed where alone we have not.
Practice makes permanent. Let's shoot for a positive result on November 1.