Methodology & Curriculum

Mark Kislingbury Academy of Court Reporting Trophies and Awards

Writing Short

Writing short means typing using as few keystrokes as possible and as many brief forms as you can learn to use. Learning to write short increases your overall speed of writing. Reporters who write everything out phonetically can somewhat make up for the extra strokes by having faster fingers than most, but that is only half of what you need in order to achieve your maximum speed. Using Mr. Kislingbury’s theory, you reduce the strain on your hands and energy used versus writing out phonetically.

Writing Fast

The second part of the methodology is training your fingers to move faster. This is accomplished by hard, repetitious practice slowly building up your speeds while retaining extremely high accuracy. Reporters who have slower fingers can somewhat make up for it by writing shorter, but that is only one component of what you need to achieve maximum speed.

In summary, the court reporter who writes BOTH very short and with fast fingers will be among the best and most sought out in the profession.

Why Mr. Kislingbury’s Method Works

It’s in the numbers! There are nine possible combinations, but below we’ll provide overall results for only the short and fast reporters, as that is the level you will have obtained by graduation.

  • Medium Strokes: 1.2 strokes per word
  • Short Strokes: 1.0 strokes per word
  • Very Short Strokes: 0.8 strokes per word

Now, let’s look at how fast they move their fingers:

  • Medium Speed: 3.5 strokes per second
  • Fast Speed: 4.0 strokes per second
  • Very Fast Speed: 4.5 strokes per second

Now, we will combining the “strokes per word” with the “strokes per second” for the fastest two speeds in both. For the reporter with short strokes + fast speed, we get a reporter that can hit up to 240 words per minute. When we combine the reporter with very short strokes + very fast speed, we have a reporter that can hit up to an amazing 338 words per minute. The graduation requirement is 225 words per minute.

The curriculum includes using shorter strokes, writing at higher speeds, and reading back. Reading back teaches students how to become proficient at this particular skill. It is essential for every professional court reporter to be good at reading back. At MKA, you will learn how to read back at a good pace and how to practice keeping pace.

Program Description

This program will teach students how to become a professional court reporter. It will fully prepare them to pass the state and national tests that may be required in certain venues, such as Certified Shorthand Reporter (CSR) and Registered Professional Reporter (RPR). The principal occupational skills that will be taught on-site include using machine shorthand to write literary dictation at speeds up to 180 words per minute, jury charge dictation at speeds up to 200 words per minute, and question-and-answer testimony in legal settings at speeds up to 225 words per minute, all at a minimum of 95% accuracy.

Students will learn how to transcribe dictation using CAT software (computer assisted translation), how to create and format official court transcripts, how to mark and index exhibits, how to create mini-transcripts and ASCII disks, how to connect to other computers for providing Realtime and other technologies related to court reporting. They will receive advanced schooling in English vocabulary and usage, punctuation, proofreading and editing skills, current events, as well as law, legal and medical terminology. Students will receive instruction on court reporting procedures and will complete a practical internship. Graduates of the program will be thoroughly prepared to immediately obtain employment in both official and freelance court reporting positions.

Course Catalog and Descriptions

Quarter 1

  • Theory, Quarter 1

Quarter 2

  • Theory, Quarter 2
  • Medical Terminology

Quarter 3

  • Theory, Quarter 3
  • English and Legal Terminology

Quarter 4

  • Speed Building (100 Literary/120 Jury Charge/140 (Q&A) Testimony)*
  • Court Reporting Punctuation
  • Court Reporting Technologies/C.A.T. Software

Quarter 5

  • Speed Building (120 Lit./140 JC/160 Q&A)

Quarter 6

  • Speed Building (140 Lit./160 JC/180 Q&A)

Quarter 7

  • Speed Building (160 Lit./180 JC/200 Q&A)
  • Court Reporting Procedures*
  • *Students move to this course once they are working in their final test out speeds in at least two categories.

Quarter 8

  • Speed Building (180 Lit./200 JC/225 Q&A)
  • Internship

*Please note that those are the speeds you need to test out of, not start at.

Keep in mind that this course plan is for finishing this program in 24 months (2 years), with Theory taking nine months.

** Online non live students have four months to complete the first three quarters (Theory/Eng/Med) versus the three months online live/onsite students do it in. If you take a year to complete Theory (vs. the nine months onsite and online live students finish it in), and would like to complete the program in two years, you would need to get through Speed Building in a year.

***In calculating the hours for attendance, EVERYONE is on a three-month quarter.

All student status types (onsite, online live, and online non-live) are required to complete the same courses. The only difference is that online non-live students are afforded 4 months to complete each quarter of Theory and academics.

** Please note that while Theory is separated into three quarters, it is one large course with three progress/grade checkpoints to assess student progress and academic standing. If a student withdraws prior to completing all three quarters of Theory, they will have to start from Theory, Quarter 1 upon re-enrollment.

THQ1: Theory, Quarter 1

This course is designed to introduce machine shorthand writing. Students will learn how to use all the keys and form words, phrases, and punctuation at increasing speeds from live dictation. Prerequisite: none.

THQ2: Theory, Quarter 2

This course is designed to complete the basics of machine shorthand writing. Emphasis is on memorization of one stroke words, dates, numbers, punctuation, prefixes, suffixes, and increased vocabulary. Students will apply these skills in increasing speed and accuracy in live dictation. Prerequisite: 80 or above in Theory, Quarter 1.

MT: Medical Terminology

Students will learn the meanings and spellings of medical words and combining forms to be able to correctly transcribe medical testimony. Prerequisite: none.

THQ3: Theory, Quarter 3

Advanced theory principles are completed and include the memorization and use of briefs to increase speed and accuracy. Prerequisite: 80 or above in Theory, Quarter 2.

ELT: English and Legal Terminology

In this course, students will learn the basic principles of English structure, grammar, and usage with an emphasis on punctuation, spelling, and vocabulary, increase their vocabulary in general English with an emphasis on homophones and pseudo-homophones. Law and legal terminology will also be a strong component of this course. Prerequisite: none.

CRPU: Court Reporting Punctuation

Students will learn how to punctuate spoken English in a judicial environment.

CRT: Court Reporting Technologies/C.A.T. Software

Students will learn how to use DigitalCAT court reporting software, including but not limited to writing Realtime, creating, building, and maintaining, dictionaries, editing, formatting, using keyboard macros, using, making, and launching macros from the steno machine. A basic computer skills review is included in this course.

Speed Building

Students will develop machine shorthand skills and increasing speeds in literary, jury charge and testimony transcription. This class involves dictation in literary, jury charge, two-voice and multi-voice testimony, and medical/technical dictation. Students may advance through speeds at their own pace and within multiple quarters. 20.75 quarter credit hours will be earned each quarter until the student passes out of their test out speeds. Prerequisite: 80 or above in Theory, Quarter 3.

CRPR: Court Reporting Procedures

This course teaches students, in simulated courtroom scenarios, how to swear in a witness, how to mark exhibits, receive evidence, proper courtroom and deposition room etiquette, the professional rules, duties, and ethics pertaining to court reporters, and more. Prerequisite: CRT.

INT: Internship

The Internship shall include a minimum of 40 hours of participation under the supervision of a practicing court reporter using machine shorthand technology, verified by the reporter(s) under whom the internship is being completed and the production of a 40-page salable transcript based on testimony written. Prerequisite: CRPR.