NCRA celebrates the Best. Friday. Ever.

NCRA members can kick off their holiday shopping season on Nov. 24 by taking advantage of Black Friday discounts and giveaways being offered with the purchase of membership renewals, store items, educational sessions, and more.

NCRA members who renew their membership or join on Nov. 24 will be entered into a drawing to win a free registration to the 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo. Registered members who renew on Black Friday will automatically be entered into a drawing to win a free registration for the Speed or Realtime Contests held at the 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo. Members who renew their membership on Nov. 24 will also be eligible to win one of two Kindle Fires. That means the members who qualify may have three opportunities to win!

Other Best Friday Ever specials include a 20 percent discount on all NCRA Store items purchased using the promotional code FRIDAY at checkout. In addition, members who register for the 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference and book their stay at The Don CeSar will be entered into a drawing for a free spouse registration for the event.

Members who purchase an NCRA e-seminar on Nov. 24 will be entered into a drawing to win a free e-seminar while members who purchase a Skills Test on Black Friday will be entered into a drawing to win one of two free Skills Test registrations.

Members are urged to mark their calendars to be sure they don’t miss the discounts and giveaways being offered only on Nov. 24.

Testing where and when you want cited as a huge benefit of online testing

testing-tips-lightbulbThe many benefits of NCRA’s online testing program include a user-friendly and secure system, more testing opportunities annually, faster results, and greater affordability. However, users of the system continue to report that the freedom and convenience of being able to test in a location of their choosing, including at home or in the office, continues to rank as one of the biggest factors for success.

The program, which is a partnership between NCRA, Realtime Coach, and ProctorU, was launched in August 2015 and offers online skills testing platforms for candidates of the RPR, RMR, CRR, and CRC certifications. Since then, more than 2,300 tests have been taken online.

“This was my first online testing experience, and I was able to pass the last leg of the RPR that I needed to become certified, so I’d say it was a pretty great experience. I like the online testing much better than having to go to a brick-and-mortar testing site. I did not like having to wake up very early in the morning to make it to the testing site and having to bring all of my equipment. Less anxiety testing from home in that regard,” said Christina E. Sarisky, RPR, a freelance reporter from Rutherford, N.J.

Brittany Blesener, RPR, an official court reporter from Chaska, Minn., agrees that the best benefit to online testing is “taking it at your own time, one leg at a time, instead of having a set date.”

First-time online test-taker Megan Orris, RPR, an official court reporter from Middleburg, Penn., said she personally likes the online testing for the skills portion of certification because it makes things go quickly and, rather than the six to eight weeks it takes to receive official results from a brick-and-mortar site, online official results are emailed within three to seven days.

“I think people can get nervous over having to wait a period of time to know whether they passed or failed a test,” she noted.

For candidates preparing to take any of the NCRA online skills tests, veteran test-takers and Marybeth Everhart, RPR, CRI, CPE, national marketing manager for Realtime Coach, agree that practicing is also an important factor for ensuring success.

NCRA recently made available on its YouTube channel a series of nine online testing instructional videos created by Realtime Coach that cover the entire process from a basic orientation to scheduling the actual test. The short videos were designed to provide candidates with an easy-to-use resource for prepping.

“Online testing instructional videos were created, so candidates can quickly and easily refresh their recollection of a step or two of the testing process, or replay a step multiple times if needed,” said Everhart. ”With testing instructions now available in print and video formats, candidates can select the format that best suits their needs.”

Additional security measures required by the online system include candidates signing a mandatory confidentiality form that indicates that the subject and words of the test will not be disclosed to other candidates and proctors that are connected to candidates in real time, with live audio and video connections that include a view and live feed of the candidate’s monitor through screen-sharing technology. Candidates are also required to use an external webcam to show that their workspace is secure by giving a 360-degree pan of the entire room and desk or workspace.

Under the online system, NCRA allows candidates to take up to three skills test attempts in each quarter. For information visit NCRA’s online skills testing page.

NCRA online testing met with enthusiasm

OnlineTesting1In August, NCRA launched the long-awaited online skills testing platforms for candidates of the RPR, RMR, CRR, CRC, CBC, and CCP certifications. The program, which is a partnership between NCRA, Realtime Coach, and ProctorU, has been met with positive responses from many who have taken online tests.

Benefits of the new online testing program include a user-friendly and secure system, more testing opportunities annually, instantaneous results, greater affordability, and the convenience of testing in the location of the candidate’s choosing, including at home or in the office.

“NCRA takes seriously the need to develop and administer objective and valid exams that meet the needs of its members,” said Mike Nelson, CAE, NCRA CEO and Executive Director. “The new online platform for certification testing meets the needs of today’s member.”

“My testing experience was great,” said NCRA member Jessica Croxford, RPR, a freelance reporter from West Jordan, Utah, who recently took an online skills test. “It was a very easy and smooth process. I’ve been attempting the RPR for two years now, and being able to test without the stress of getting to the testing location and hauling a printer and all my equipment around was extremely helpful in doing so well on the test.”

Additional security measures required by the online system include candidates signing a mandatory confidentiality form that indicates that the subject and words of the test will not be disclosed to other candidates, and proctors that are connected to candidates in real time, with live audio and video connections that include a view and live feed of the candidate’s monitor through screen-sharing technology. Candidates are also required to use an external webcam to show that their workspace is secure by giving a 360-degree pan of the entire room and desk or workspace.

“It has been rewarding to see that the new online skills platform has been well received by members who have expressed appreciation for its flexibility and convenience. I strongly encourage every test taker to read through the information on our website before registering for the test as all the successful candidates have done, and to also take advantage of the free practice test with a proctor,” said Irene Cahill, NCRA Director of Professional Development Technology.

“I am so excited about the online testing. We didn’t have brick-and-mortar testing in my area, so it is a huge convenience to be able to do it online,” said Sherene Hunt, RPR, CRR, a freelance reporter from Victoria, B.C., Canada. “I thought the instructions were great and easy to follow — the CRR went very smoothly.”

Under the new online system, NCRA will allow candidates to take up to three skills tests per quarter in 2016, and up to four tests per quarter in 2017. For information about the schedule for the remainder of 2015, visit NCRA’s online skills testing schedule.

Read more about NCRA’s online skills testing. Register for an online skills test.

NCRA to launch online skills testing in 2015

Beginning in 2015, NCRA will move away from the traditional brick-and-mortar testing sites and shift the RPR, RMR, CRR, CBC, and CCP skills tests to an online proctoring model using the advanced technologies of myRealtimeCoach and ProctorU.

Why the change?

NCRA heard the call of the membership. Among the requests were: 1) more testing opportunities each year, 2) instantaneous results, 3) the chance to pay for each test leg individually, and 4) more convenient testing. The shift to online testing allows for the fulfillment of these requests and more.

Benefits of this new format include:

  • Increased convenience – test when you’re ready
  • Test from the comfort of your home or office
  • No distractions
  • Flexible scheduling – you will be able to take a test when you are ready, not just in May, August, and November as the current model dictates
  • Cost savings – no more travel, gas, hotel expenses to the closest testing site
  • Registration fees will now be priced per test leg, which will result in cost savings for most candidates
  • Get your license sooner for those CSR boards that use the RPR
  • Get your increase sooner for those employers who offer an increase/bonus with new credentials
  • Decreased anxiety – take the test in your own environment

Timeline

The skills tests will be administered at all current brick-and-mortar sites on November 1, 2014, and at select sites on May 2, 2015. From then on, all skills tests will be administered online via a live, professional proctor. Please visit the Certification Test Center at NCRA.org/testing for updates on the timeline.

Vendors

NCRA is pleased to partner with Realtime Learning Systems (“myRealtimeCoach”) and ProctorU to offer online testing.

Realtime Coach For over 30 years, the creators of Realtime Coach have delivered world class online learning and testing solutions to students and working professionals alike. In early 2006, Realtime Coach was launched as a smart, fun, and habit forming way to increase speed, accuracy, and confidence. It quickly became the most popular online skill-building and assessment tool on the planet, with nearly 2 million practice hours logged, thousands of tests delivered and scored, and a growing and energetic membership. Today, Realtime Coach members are more active than ever before, doing things they never thought they could, and going places faster than they imagined. For more information, visit myrealtimecoach.com.

ProctorU ProctorU is a live online proctoring service for candidates taking exams online. ProctorU’s professional proctors use a three-step process to replicate the face to-face proctoring experience over the Internet: 1) The proctor connects with the candidate via a Web cam, 2) the proctor monitors the candidate’s computer screen in real time, and 3) the proctor authenticates the candidate’s identity using a multi-factor process. Through this process, the professional proctors can see the candidate, see what they are doing, and know who they are monitoring. ProctorU does this while adhering to the highest standards in the industry. For more information, visit proctoru.com.

Technology requirements

Both myRealtimeCoach and ProctorU have systems in place to allow candidates to test their systems online. In addition, both companies provide customer service for technical assistance. With the shift to online testing, candidates will need to meet the following equipment requirements:

Minimum Recommended
Web Camera 640×480 resolution 1280×720 resolution
PC Users Windows XP Windows 8
Mac Users Mac OS X or higher Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks
Internet Download Speed .768 Mbps 1.5Mbps
Internet Upload Speed .384 Mbps 1.5Mbps
RAM 1024MB 2GB

Other requirements:

  • Headphones
  • A functioning microphone (sometimes web cameras have built-in microphones)
  • One of the following compatible web browsers:
  1. Google Chrome (preferred)
  2. Mozilla Firefox
  3. Safari
  4. Internet Explorer 7, 8, 9, or 10
  • The following plugins for your Web camera:
  1. Adobe Flash Player v11
  2. Adobe Shockwave player
Not yet supported

At this time, ProctorU does not support the following platforms; 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
Security

NCRA and its partners are dedicated to securing candidate data collected during all aspects of the testing process. This data includes personal information, financial data, test performance, and records. In particular, ProctorU is compliant with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and myRealtimeCoach’s secure data center includes enterprise-level security and privacy, advanced security systems and defensive barriers, and redundant Tier 1 ISP backbones.

Appreciation

NCRA would be remiss if it did not thank the hundreds of volunteers who made NCRA testing possible over the past 30+ years. Much appreciation is extended to the state associations that helped sponsor the exams, testing personnel who assisted on-site, the Qualified Graders (who will still be needed for grading verification), and finally the extremely dedicated and passionate chief examiners, who gave their time and efforts in administering the exams. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Watch the video: New NCRA Testing – 2014 NCRA Exhibit Hall. NCRA is very excited to be making the move to online testing. To learn more about NCRA’s online testing process, please visit TheJCR.com and NCRA.org.

NCRA Certification Notes

WRITTEN KNOWLEDGE EXAMINATION NOTES

The next RPR and CLVS written knowledge tests will be offered July 8-20. The registration period opens June 4 and will close July 3. For more information, please visit the NCRA Certification Test Center at NCRA.org/testing.

Please note that the registration process for the written knowledge test requires registration first with NCRA. Within 72 hours of receipt of your paid registration for the written knowledge test by NCRA, you will receive your email confirmation. Upon receipt of your confirmation from NCRA, you will then need to contact Pearson VUE to schedule the actual date, time, and location to go to a Pearson Vue Professional Test Center to take the written knowledge test.

IMPORTANT REMINDERS FOR TEST CANDIDATES

If you’re planning to sit for an upcoming skills examination or written knowledge test, please make note of the following reminders:

  • NCRA testing is for stenographic reporters only.
  • The name on your photo ID and the name you register with to sit for an NCRA examination must match to gain entrance to the testing facility.
  • Examination registration cancellations and/or registration requests for test site changes must be submitted in writing by the deadline, using the NCRA cancellation/site change form found online at www.ncra.org/testing. Registration fees will not be refunded for cancellations received after the registration deadline, and site change requests cannot be accommodated after the registration deadline.
  • To ensure that your test materials are available at the test site you register for, please adhere to the examination registration deadlines.

NEED MORE INFORMATION?

The NCRA website (NCRA.org) contains the most comprehensive information on the RPR, RMR, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, and CLVS credentials. You can also call NCRA’s Member Services and Information Center toll-free at 800-272- 6272. Or feel free to email the NCRA Department of Certification and Testing at testing@ncra.org.

Best of luck in your pursuit of professional credentialing and certification!