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

  • Beginning Court Reporting Machine Technology

Quarter 2

  • English Homophones 1
  • Medical Terminology for Court Reporters 1
  • Intermediate Court Reporting Machine Technology

Quarter 3

  • Advanced Court Reporting Machine Technology
  • English Homophones 2
  • Medical Terminology for Court Reporters 2

Quarter 4

  • Speed Building 1
  • Court Reporting Punctuation
  • Court Reporting Technologies

Quarter 5

  • Speed Building 2

Quarter 6

  • Speed Building 3

Quarter 7

  • Speed Building 4

Quarter 8

  • Court Reporting Procedures
  • Speed Building 5/Internship

Quarter 9

  • Speed Building 6
  • Speed Building 7

Beginning Court Reporting Machine Technology

Introductory course in conflict-free, real time stenographic machine shorthand writing. Chapters 1 to 33 of Mark Kislingbury's theory book, Magnum Steno: Beginning Theory, will be covered. Students will learn brief forms for writing thousands of the most common words and phrases and a phonetic-based system for writing all words. They will learn all keys on the stenographic machine, proper writing posture and form, read back and transcription of notes, and dictionary building. Concepts covered include: Philadelphia Shift, Finger Spelling, Numbers and Number Bar, and Introduction to Right-Hand Phrase Enders.

English Homophones 1

The field of court reporting demands exceptional English skills. This course will teach students to recognize and distinguish between homophones: words that sound the same/similar but are spelled differently and have different meanings. Students will learn the differences in meaning and spelling of hundreds of homophones, such as "slight" and "sleight;" "imminent" and "eminent;" "compliment" and "complement;" and "confirmation" and "conformation," in order to develop the ability to decipher correct homophones in context.

Medical Terminology for Court Reporters 1

In this course students are given an overview of basic human physiology and its related medical terminology. Students study word structure, word roots, prefixes, and suffixes to learn proper pronunciation, spelling, and usage of medical terms. Knowledge of medical terms serves court reporting students well in both quality transcript production and certification testing.

Intermediate Court Reporting Machine Technology

Intermediate course in conflict-free, real time stenographic machine shorthand writing. Chapters 34 to 66 of Mark Kislingbury's theory book, Magnum Steno: Beginning Theory, will be covered. Students will continue to develop skills in high-level, efficient writing. Concepts covered include: Question and Answer Court Reporting Symbols; Q&A Extensions; Legal, Testimony, and Jury Charge Terminology; Prefixes and Suffixes; State Names; Common First and Last Names; Years in One Stroke; and Advanced Right-Hand Phrase Enders.

Advanced Court Reporting Machine Technology

Advanced course in conflict-free, realtime stenographic machine shorthand writing. Chapters 67 to 94 of Mark Kislingbury's theory book, Magnum Steno: Beginning Theory, will be covered. Students have already learned to write on the stenographic machine at a high level, but the course in this module continues to develop mastery. Concepts covered include: Speaker Identification, Additional Finger Spelling, Advanced Prefixes and Suffixes, Common Countries and Regions, Geographical Directions, and Advanced Right-Hand Phrase Enders. Speed development ranges between 80 and 100 words per minute by end of course.

English Homophones 2

A continuation of English Homophones 1, students will recognize and distinguish between homophones: words that sound the same/similar but are spelled differently and have different meanings. Students will learn the differences in meaning and spelling of hundreds of homophones, in order to perfect the ability to decipher correct homophones in context.

Medical Terminology for Court Reporters 2

A continuation of Medical Terminology 1, this course covers more medical terminology. Students study word structure, word roots, prefixes, and suffixes to learn proper pronunciation, spelling, and usage of medical terms. Knowledge of medical terms serves court reporting students well in both quality transcript production and certification testing.

Speed Building 1

In this course students begin to develop speed in machine shorthand writing, with particular emphasis on Mark Kislingbury's speedbuilding methods. Students are given question and answer, literary, and jury charge dictation material at speeds of 80 to 120 words per minute. Students will be taught to apply the rules of grammar, spelling, and punctuation to produce quality transcripts. For successful completion of this course, 95% accuracy on 5 minutes of unfamiliar dictation at 120 words per minute is required.

Court Reporting Punctuation

In this course students will learn how to punctuate spoken language according to the rules of English. Special consideration is given to punctuation for the spoken word, versus the written word, given how spoken language can deviate from standard English sentence construction. Students explore difficult punctuation scenarios from actual transcripts, including broken, layered, and incoherent speech; and discuss proper punctuation. Concepts covered include: proper placement of periods, commas, dashes, semicolons, quotation marks, etc.

Court Reporting Technologies

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; and using, making, and launching macros from the steno machine. A basic computer skills review is included in this course.

Speed Building 2

In this course students continue to develop speed in machine shorthand writing, with particular emphasis on Mark Kislingbury's speedbuilding methods. Students are given question and answer, literary, and jury charge dictation material at speeds of 140 to 180 words per minute. Students will continue to apply the rules of grammar, spelling, and punctuation to produce quality transcripts. For successful completion of this course, 95% accuracy on 5 minutes of unfamiliar dictation at 180 words per minute is required.

Speed Building 3

In this course students continue to develop and finalize speed requirements in machine shorthand writing. Students are given question and answer, literary, and jury charge dictation material at speeds of 200 to 225 words per minute. Students will continue to apply the rules of grammar, spelling, and punctuation to produce quality transcripts. For successful completion of this course, 95% accuracy on 5 minutes of unfamiliar dictation at 225 words per minute is required.

Court Reporting Procedures

This course addresses the role of the court reporter on the job. Students will learn how to properly perform features of a court reporting job, including how to mark and handle exhibits, identify multiple speakers, swear in witnesses, and format transcripts. Attorney-court reporter interaction is covered, and absolute professionalism in dress and action is emphasized.