Online Skills Testing - FAQs Requirements and Policies



Test Scheduling



Practice, registration and fees


Why should I get an NCRA certification?

NCRA certifications help members prove their ability at the national level and increase their earning potential. While not required in every state, NCRA certifications set members apart while providing credentials that are universally recognized by the profession.

What is online skills testing?

Online testing means that candidates will take the RPR, RMR, CRR, and CRC 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. Please review the Technical area below for equipment requirements).  The test will be administered via the Realtime Coach platform and monitored by a live, professional, online proctor using pre-recorded dictation. 

How are the tests graded?

At the end of your test, you will copy and paste your transcript to generate an estimated score. All tests with a score of 92 percent or above are reviewed by an NCRA Qualified Grader. Tests with a score of less than 92 percent are final grades.

Where do I find the forms that I need?

You can find all the testing and certification related forms here under Testing Forms.

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Test scheduling

What is block scheduling?

Block scheduling is NCRA’s new online skills testing schedule to make registration and testing an easier and more efficient process for our members. Beginning June 2019, candidates may register for a single attempt at each skills test that they are eligible for during the open registration window, and then test the following month.

What is the 2019 schedule for registering and testing?

The new registration schedule begins on: June 1 – June 20 followed by a testing window: July 1 – July 20. The future online skills schedule is outlined below.
Certification - Online Skills Test Schedule

Can I register for more than one test at a time?

Yes. Candidates will have the opportunity to register for a single attempt at each skills test they are eligible for and wish to take during each testing window. Candidates must register and pay for each test individually.

Example: Candidates could register for one attempt at the RPR Jury Charge if they only wish to take that leg. Or they can register for a single attempt at all three legs: Jury Charge, Literary, and Testimony. Registration will be every other month, followed by a testing window in the subsequent month.

Can I register for future test months in any registration window?

No. Only one testing window will be open for registration at a time. This testing window will be in the month immediately following your registration.

When can I schedule my test after I register?

Confirmation emails are sent within three business days of registration. Candidates should schedule their test upon receipt of their confirmation email to secure their preferred test date and time during the testing window that follows registration.

All tests must be scheduled 72 hours in advance and within the testing window that immediately follows the registration window.

How do I schedule my test?

Once you receive your confirmation email follow the instructions in the email to schedule your test online through ProctorU during the designated testing window dates. Remember, all tests must be scheduled 72 hours in advance and during the testing window for which you registered to test.

Can I test during a registration window or register during a testing window?

No. Each window is designated to its purpose. Candidates must register during a Registration Window and test during a Testing Window. No exceptions.

Do I have to test during the subsequent testing window following my registration window?

Yes. Tests not taken during the testing window immediately following the registration window will expire unless canceled before the testing window expires or the scheduled test date.

Can I extend my test registration from one testing window to the next?

No. Tests must be taken during the testing window that immediately follows the registration window. Example: Register in June 2019 must take that test during the testing window in July 2019. The test will expire after the testing window. There are no extensions.

Can I cancel a test?

Candidates needing to cancel an online skills test must cancel by the date of their scheduled test. A signed cancellation form should be sent to NCRA will retain a $35 nonrefundable processing fee for each test cancellation.

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

Testing information is confidential. By registering to take an online test, the candidate agrees 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. They must also acknowledge that failing to follow NCRA testing procedures may result in an 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. This could also result in being suspended or expelled from the Association. Candidates must acknowledge that the tests are the exclusive property of NCRA and that copyright law protects NCRA Tests.  They must also acknowledge 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 test they are submitting is solely their own and developed during the exam. They will also attest 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 (including audio, text, or stenographic) of the skills test.  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.

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What equipment/technical requirements do I need?

Please read: 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 (three 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 automatic failure.

Candidates taking transcription tests (RPR or RMR) are authorized to print test documents, including paper notes, as long as all materials are shredded before closing the exam window.

Realtime Coach offers videos on testing in their system: Realtime Coach Tips/Tutorials.

Software and Writer Setting Information

Note: The proctors are not trained or allowed to help you with your CAT software.  You MUST know how to do the following processes before testing:

  • 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 you 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 a.m. and 7 p.m. Eastern Time, so that Realtime Coach's technical support team is standing by.

Click Realtime Coach Technical Support and bookmark the site to quickly reach Realtime Coach'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 p.m. - 8 p.m. Eastern Time. Always allow yourself ample time in case there are delays in getting a proctor or 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 equipment and operating systems; 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?

You need a quiet location 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; and 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.

What is NCRA's testing policy?

All online testing candidates are required to sign the following disclaimer prior to taking their test(s):

I acknowledge I am aware of the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) policy concerning testing honesty and integrity. Failure to follow any NCRA Testing procedures may result in an 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. I understand that the test is the exclusive property of the National Court Reporters Association. Copyright law protects the NCRA tests. No part of these tests may be copied or reproduced in part or whole by any means whatsoever, including memorization, unless previously authorized by NCRA.

I further attest that the skills test I am submitting is solely my own and was developed during the test. I have used no notes, materials, or other aids other than those provided by NCRA. I further attest that, to the best of my knowledge, I have not retained a copy (including audio, text, or stenographic) of the skills test. Further, if I discover at any time that I have accidentally retained said copy, I will immediately delete it (any and all formats), and notify NCRA promptly of the discovery. I further attest that I will not share any copies of this skills test with others, nor will I share 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.

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 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 automatic failure.

Are there any tutorials or videos on online testing?

Yes!  We have YouTube videos that cover every step from how to register for a test to taking a test.  Realtime Coach also offers videos on testing in their system: Realtime Coach Tips and Tutorials. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the system before taking your tests.

What should I do if I can't upload files during proctored practice?

The most common cause of this specific issue is insufficient computer resources. Here are some troubleshooting steps you can take to tackle this issue:

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Practice, registration, and fees

Is there any way to practice the online testing procedure before taking my real test?

Yes, and practicing is highly encouraged! You have access to practice files on (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 up to two complimentary practice sessions with a proctor. By doing so, you can confirm that all your equipment is in good working order for the test, such as your webcam, microphone, and internet connection.  Be sure to schedule your proctored practice sessions 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 icon will be displayed on your screen too without the word "Practice."

How do I register?

Visit Online Skills Testing Registration page to register.  You will receive an enrollment confirmation email that your registration is complete and instructions on scheduling your exam within three business days from NCRA. You must schedule your exam with ProctorU within the appropriate testing window.

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

If you already have a Realtime Coach username, but it’s not your NCRA member number, you will have a second Realtime Coach membership created for testing. If you’d rather have a single membership with which to practice and test, please contact Realtime Coach with your NCRA member number so your Realtime Coach 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, he/she 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.

For more details on pricing, please visit our Online Skills Test Information & Registration page.

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