BOOK REVIEW: The Purple Book

By Anthony Frisolone

Monette Benoit is a well-known figure in the area of court reporter education. She has created The Complete Written Knowledge Test Prep Textbook, 7th Edition, and NCRA Certified Realtime Captioner Primer, which can be purchased separately or in a three- volume or four-volume set.

The “Purple Book,” as it is known among court reporters, is 331 pages long, covering six chapters of material organized into chapters starting with test-taking tips and ending with computer terminology and prep for the Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC) Exam. The seventh chapter is titled “Suggested Study Material as Review.”

This is the ultimate test prep book; you won’t need anything else, save for a subject area specific to your state. The “Purple Book” can serve as a reference guide to be kept at your desk at home or in the office. I view this to be a value-added component of the book.

The book starts with an introduction, laying out Benoit’s education and background, which is extensive, as a freelance and official court reporter, captioner, author, and educator of court reporters worldwide.

This book stands out from the rest because it can be used for individual learning as well as for classroom instruction. The professional using this book on his or her own will find plenty of advice from Benoit in the first chapter on how to use this book effectively. Classroom instructors are given a syllabus and instructions as well as course objectives so students can get the most out of this book.

Chapter 1 begins with Written Knowledge Test (WKT) Test-Taking Tips, featuring an explanation of NCRA’s certification examinations and their requirements. This chapter broadly covers state Certified Shorthand Reporter (CSR) tests, and it is recommended that the reader contact their local CSR board for more specific information.

Chapter 2, Legal and Court Terminology, starts with a review of 350-plus legal terms and proceeds to review the steps of a trial and on to the steps of a criminal proceeding.

Chapter 3, Court Reporting Rules, reviews 91 court reporting rules that reporters will encounter on WKTs. The numbered list format of this chapter allows the reader to focus on individual rules instead of becoming bored with reading paragraph after paragraph of rules.

Chapter 4, English and Grammar, starts with spelling and then flows into a grammar glossary, and then Part One of Grammar and Punctuation. In the middle of the chapter, almost strategically placed as to give the reader a break, there is a review of misused words. The chapter ends with Grammar and Punctuation, Part Two.

The medical information found in Chapter 5 is worth the price of the book in preparing reporters to take the medical terminology portion of a test with confidence. This chapter is another example of the research performed by Benoit, who has made sure to cover prefixes and suffixes, types of fractures, regions of the body, and anatomy, just to name a few subject areas found within this chapter.

Chapter 6 is an extensive review of computer terminology with the primer for the NCRA CRC exam intertwined with the extensive glossary of computer, Windows 8, and Windows 10 terms as well as the NCRA Advisory Opinions.

If there is one suggestion, it would be that the NCRA CRC Primer could be a standalone book or, at the very least, worthy of its own chapter within the “Purple Book.” If your goal is to take and pass the CRC exam, this chapter covers captioning-oriented material to strengthen your knowledge. This chapter is especially useful if your computer literacy is lacking and you want to understand computer terminology or have a better grasp of Windows 8 or 10. The screen captures of the features found in Windows are helpful and add depth to this chapter. The NCRA Advisory Opinions complete the chapter and are an item every test candidate should be familiar with.

Chapter 7 contains further study material, including additional Latin terms, similar and somewhat similar words, misspelled words, abbreviations, and definitions. It is suggested that the Companion Guide and Workbook be purchased to enhance the learning experience.

If you decide to purchase the Complete Written Knowledge Test Prep Textbook, 7th Edition, and NCRA Certified Realtime Captioner Primer, you will not be disappointed. This is the author’s labor of love since 1990. The care with which this book was written and updated sets it apart from other test prep books on the market.

Anthony D. Frisolone, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, CRI, is an official court reporter in the Eastern District of New York. He can be reached at AFrisolone@aol.com.