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Certification Test Center - Online Testing

Online Skills Testing - FAQs, Requirements and Policies

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GENERAL 

What is online skills testing?

Online testing means that candidates will take the RPR, RMR, CRR, CRC, CBC and CCP skills tests using the advanced technologies of Realtime Coach and ProctorU.  Candidates will test at the convenience of their home, office, or other secure location (see Technical area below).  The test will be administered by a live, professional, online proctor using pre-recorded dictation

How often will the tests be administered?

Starting in the late Summer of 2015, one of each skills test is being released (e.g., 1 CRR, 1 RPR Literary, etc.) per month. The schedule for the remainder of 2015 and all of 2016 can be found at NCRA Online Skills Testing Schedule.  

 SECURITY 

How can NCRA be sure that candidates will not share content?

Every time a candidate takes an online test, a mandatory confidentiality form will be signed indicating that the subject and words of the test will not be disclosed to other candidates.  Failure to adhere to the policy will result in being banned from future testing and termination of NCRA membership.

ProctorU's proctors are connected to candidates in realtime, with live audio and video connections. Additionally, proctors view a live feed of the candidate’s monitor through screen-sharing technology. After authenticating their identity, candidates must show (using an external webcam) that their workspace is secure by giving a 360-degree pan of the entire room and desk or workspace.

ProctorU uses multiple levels of recording and reporting, including full session video and audio, and screen capturing. ProctorU’s screen-sharing software provides the proctor with a list of current running processes. Proctors are able to remotely disable or close unauthorized software on the test-taker’s computer. Additionally ProctorU will require you to remove secondary monitors and will disable unnecessary software.

Candidates will be required to acknowledge that they are aware of NCRA’s policy concerning testing honesty and integrity. That failing to follow NCRA Testing procedures may result in my automatic failure and being barred from taking NCRA-administered tests for a minimum of three testing cycles or permanently depending on the nature of the violation. NCRA members may also be suspended or expelled from the association. They must acknowledge that the tests are the exclusive property of NCRA and that copyright law protects the NCRA Tests. That no part of these tests may be copied or reproduced in part or whole by any means whatsoever, including memorization.

They will further attest that the skills exam they are submitting is solely their own and developed during the exam. That they used no notes, materials, or other aids other than those provided by NCRA.  They will further attest that they will not retain a copy (either audio, text or stenographically) of the skills exam.  They will further attest that they will not share any copies of the skills test with others including its content (terminology or topic), either privately or on a public forum. The theft or attempted theft of an NCRA Test is punishable as a crime.

 

How will ProctorU know the correct person is taking the test?

ProctorU has a layered authentication process that establishes the candidate’s identity:

  • Via a webcam, a live proctor sees the user, checks their photo ID and takes their photo to keep on file. (Please note that if the webcam is moved after its location is approved by the proctor, the proctor will interrupt the session due to security concerns, and the exam will be terminated.)
  • Using techniques based on industry leading fraud protection and banking standards, the user answers challenge questions to validate their identity.
  • Sophisticated keystroke analysis software creates a profile for each user.
TECHNICAL

What equipment/technical requirements do I need?

Click on: How to take an online test with Realtime Coach and ProctorU (CRITICAL!)

The above link contains detailed instructions on the three mandatory uploads that must be performed in order to complete your exam:

1.) Upload your notes file (2 minutes)

2.) Upload your transcript (time varies based on exam)

3.) Copy and paste your transcript into the Transcript area (time varies based on exam)

If you skip any of three steps above, your exam will result in an Autofail.

Software and Writer Setting Information

(Note: The proctors are not trained or allowed to help you with your CAT software. Do not take the exam unless you are familiar with the following processes:

  • How to place your writer in test mode.
  • How to connect your writer to your CAT software (for realtime) or how to read your steno notes into your CAT software (non-realtime).
  • How to edit a transcript in your CAT software (transcription tests).
  • Where to locate your CAT files on your computer.
  • How to distinguish the various parts of the CAT file from one another, such as a note file versus a transcript file.
  • How to mark and copy a chunk of text in your CAT software.  This part may be new to you because don’t necessarily do this on a regular basis.  If that’s the case, refer to the CAT-specific instructions above or contact your CAT software vendor for assistance.)

NCRA strongly recommends that you take your first online test Monday through Friday, between 10 AM and 7 PM Eastern Time, so that Realtime Coach's technical support team is standing by.

Click Realtime Coach Technical Support to bookmark the site to quickly reach RTC's technical support in the future or to ask them a technical question that is not covered in the critical link above.

 ProctorU recommends scheduling your test in advance and outside of their busiest period which is 4 PM - 8 PM Eastern Time. Always allow yourself ample time in case there are delays in getting a proctor or if there are technical issues that must be addressed prior to taking your exam.

What equipment is not supported?

At this time, ProctorU does not support the following; however, it is working on solutions to accommodate every platform:

  • Google Chromebooks
  • Android tablets (Nexus 7, etc.)
  • iOS tablets (iPad, iPad mini, etc.)
  • Linux operating systems
  • Microsoft Surface RT

What if I am unable to complete my test due to a poor Internet connection?

The likelihood of this happening is slim as you will have tested your bandwidth before logging in to take the exam. The recommendations set forth by ProctorU and Realtime Coach (such as not using a wireless internet connection, shutting down all unnecessary programs running on your computer, using their suggested browsers, and taking advantage of the free proctored practice) will also help you avoid this scenario. You will be responsible for reregistering to take the exam again at a later date.

What type of location/environment do I need?

A quiet one that meets the mandatory technical requirements.  Place a sign on the door/entrance stating that you are taking a test and cannot be disturbed.  Other things to consider: turn off all phones, if you are sharing an internet connection with other members of your household ask them not to play video games or stream movies, remove all distractions that may make noise (animals, etc.) prior to putting on your headphones to take the exam. For security reasons, do not speak during your exam or the proctor will terminate the session. Pick the best location that is conducive to a secure, quiet testing environment. Read through the candidate instructions to make sure you meet the criteria such as a cleared desk with only one monitor and keyboard or a laptop. If your exam is interrupted for any reason that is beyond ProctorU and Realtime Coach's control, you will be responsible for reregistering to take another exam at a later date at your expense.

NCRA Retesting Policy

Please note that NCRA has a retesting policy that governs all certification and certificate exams:

 *   Candidates are not permitted to retest/sit for the same certification or certificate exam during a given test administration period. This includes, but is not limited to, the following programs: RPR, RMR, RDR, CRR, CRC, CBC, CCP, CLVS, Realtime Systems Administrator, and Trial Presentation Professional.

 *   Unless the retest is required due to an NCRA technical malfunction or other extenuating circumstances deemed appropriate by the Council of the Academy of Professional Reporters, candidates must wait until the next test administration to retest, and all expenses to retest (registration fee, travel expenses, etc.) will be covered by the candidate.

What is the role of the proctor?

NCRA is partnering with ProctorU to enable you to test online in the comfort of your own home, office, or whatever location you choose. ProctorU works with a large population of Certification & Training Organizations, Higher Education and other Integrated Partners including: LexisNexis, Paralegal Institute, National Association Boards of Pharmacy, UNC at Chapel Hill, New York Law School and many more (visit www.proctoru.com for a complete client list). They have thousands of proctors at proctoring centers across the country.

Proctors are provided with overall general guidelines for proctoring our testing candidates. They are not trained on steno machines or the operation of steno machines. Their role in your testing experience is to ensure that you are following NCRA’s testing rules and are not receiving any assistance during the testing process to produce your exam transcript.

If you violate any of NCRA's testing rules such as removing your headphones, moving the camera, speaking during the exam (unless answering a proctor), leaving the room, or moving outside of the camera's range, the proctor will create an incident report and your exam will result in an Autofail. 

 

 PRACTICE!, REGISTRATION AND FEES

Is there any way to practice the new testing procedure before I schedule my exam?   

Yes and HIGHLY encouraged! You have access to practice files on www.myrealtimecoach.com (please create a user account using your NCRA membership ID number as your user name as that will be the account used for your actual test), and you can take those practice tests again and again, as many times as you’d like. Once you’re comfortable with the layout of the site, the testing steps, and attaching your files, you can then schedule one complimentary practice session with a proctor. By doing so, you can confirm that all your equipment is in good working order for the test, such as your web cam, microphone, and Internet connection.  Be sure to schedule your proctored practice session as close as possible to the same day of the week and time that you plan to test. When you take your proctored practice test be sure to click on the icon with "Practice" on it. If you are registered to take a real exam that will be displayed on your screen too without the word "Practice." Please note that you will incur a $9 expedited fee from ProctorU if you schedule your practice exam with them within a 72-hour timeframe.

How do I register?

Visit Online Skills Testing Registration to register.  You will receive a confirmation that your registration is complete from NCRA and instruction on scheduling your exam within three business days from Realtime Coach. You must schedule your exam with ProctorU within 30 days of receiving that email. Note: If you wish to take your exam within 72 hours of scheduling it with ProctorU you will incur a $9.00 expedited charge. 

I already have a Realtime Coach account. Can I use that to test as well?

If you already have an RTC username, but it’s not your NCRA member number, you will have a second RTC membership created for testing. If you’d rather have a single membership with which to practice and test, please contact RTC with your NCRA member number, so your RTC username can be changed to be your NCRA member number.

What is the registration fee?

One of the many benefits of online testing is that candidates will now be able to take each test separately.  For example, if someone wants to take just the RPR Literary, but wait to take the Jury Charge and Testimony, s/he can do that.  To accommodate this, the registration fees have been broken out so candidates can now pay for just the test(s) they need.

 

Student Member

Reporter Member

Non-member

Each RPR Test

$72.50

$90

$115

Each RMR Test

Not Eligible

$90

Not Eligible

CRR

Not Eligible

$195

Not Eligible

CBC/CCP/CRC

$165

$195

$215

So, if I need all three legs of the RPR or RMR, I’m paying more than I am now?

Under the new proposed pricing structure, candidates will be able to pay for just the leg they are taking.  In creating the new pricing, NCRA was sensitive to those candidates who needed to take just one, two, or all three tests.  The pricing structure is such that candidates needing just one or two more tests to become certified will pay the same or less than they are currently paying, and those who need all three tests will pay slightly more. 

 Why are the CRR and CBC/CCP fees higher now?

Although the realtime tests do not have legs like the RPR and RMR, the cost to administer these individual tests has increased; therefore, a slight pricing increase was needed. 

If you have additional policy questions or suggestions, please contact Testing@ncra.org. If you have additional technical questions, please contact Realtime Coach.

Good luck on your exam from all of us here at NCRA!