I asked one of my wonderful SimplySteno students, Jenny Melius, to share her experience as a volunteer at the RPR exam. Some great information!
RPR Exam Story
Last weekend I had the opportunity to volunteer for the NCRA tests. I wanted to volunteer so that I could see firsthand what to expect when it’s my turn to take the RPR exam. It was interesting to see how the actual testing procedure was laid out. People started showing up over an hour before the test began, lugging in their writers and their laptops and their printers. It looked like people were moving in for the weekend with their roller bags and suitcases to carry all of their equipment.
From my perspective, the actual test went pretty quickly. The chief examiner went into the room, played the three tests back to back, and then opened up the door and let people start transcribing. I was surprised at how much commotion there was in the transcribing room. People were constantly moving in and out to go to the bathroom or come out and ask questions. I hadn’t thought of it before, but after seeing the test in progress, I would definitely recommend ear plugs for anyone who needs complete quiet for concentration during transcription.
Even though I was there primarily to see the testing process in action, I was surprised to learn that the whole format for RPR exam testing is changing next year. It’s going to a completely online format where we can take the test anywhere we want at any time we want. I think it’s a great technological advance from the current lug-in-your-own-printer format, but it was a little sad to me to realize that I probably won’t ever get to go to a testing center and experience that communal excitement and anxiety of taking a test. Being an online student, I feel like I miss that aspect of knowing there are other people in the same boat as me. However, being online students to begin with, I think we may have a big advantage when it comes to being able to take the RPR from the comfort of our own homes, in exactly the same environment where we’ve done all our other tests.
One thing that won’t change about the RPR exam, however, is how we frame our attitudes around the test. I checked in all of the RPR testers on Saturday. Some of them showed up with feelings of excitement or nervous energy. Others showed up already feeling defeated, acting like this test was just a waste of their Saturday morning. The few people who walked in with negative attitudes were the same people who left the transcription room early without having turned anything in. Marc’s already drilled it in to us, but this was my chance to see it with my own eyes. The people with the negative attitudes were the people who sealed their own fate and didn’t even give themselves the chance to pass. They believed they would fail, and they did. I’m sure not everyone who went in with positive attitudes passed, but at least they gave themselves a fighting chance.
I’m glad I got the chance to volunteer for the RPR exam. I learned a lot about the way the tests are structured and the way people conduct themselves before a test, but it also was a chance to talk to other students and reporters. I even got a chance to do a little networking and made plans with a reporter to shadow her in court when I get a little higher in speed. Being an online student can be isolating. Take every chance you can get to meet other people in the field and start building a network!