Examination Information

Please Retain for Reference

In this document, the Court Reporters Board has attempted to answer many of the frequently asked questions regarding the application-examination process. Further questions may be directed to the Board office at the address/telephone above.


All persons desiring to practice as Certified Shorthand Reporters in the State of California (Section 8017, Business & Professions Code) must possess a valid license/certificate issued by the Court Reporters Board. Licensure is attained by successfully completing a written/performance examination offered in three subjects, as well as other eligibility requirements discussed herein. Persons applying for the FIRST TIME must complete an Application for Examination (Form 41A-1) and submit it to the Board together with the required qualifying documents and the fee indicated on the face of the application. Every item on the application must be answered; if the question does not apply, simply state "not applicable." Your qualification date is calculated dependent upon your method of qualification. If you are qualifying through a school, the date of the transcript is used. If qualifying as a working reporter and presently employed, the date of your qualifying letter is used. If not presently employed, then the date you last worked is used. If qualifying with an out-of-state license or an NCRA certificate, the original issuance date of the certificate is used. Persons applying for RE-EXAMINATION do not need to re-qualify, but must complete and submit an Application for Re-examination (Form 41A-4) together with the fee indicated on the face of the application. Dictation examination dates, and written examination information, can be found on the Board's website.

An applicant must take and pass all three parts of the examination within three (3) consecutive years to have passed the examination. If an applicant fails to pass all three sections of the exam within the three-year period, they will have to take all three sections again. The three-year period shall begin from the date of the examination for which the applicant is first scheduled and continues to toll even if you skip one or more exams during the three-year period.

All applicants must send two (2) current PASSPORT photographs with each application. Passport photos are either color or black-and-white photographs of the head of the individual. The two pictures must measure 2" X 2". Attach one passport photo to the upper left corner of the application using adhesive tape around all four edges of the picture. Attach the other (2nd) photo using a paper clip. Applications which are received without two current photos included will be sent an application rejection letter.


Applicants with Disabilities: Pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, special testing arrangements are available for applicants who can substantiate the need for reasonable accommodation. It is the responsibility of the applicant to notify the Board of such needs, in writing, when filing each application so that suitable arrangements can be made. Medical verification of the disability must accompany this written notification. The written requests for special arrangements and medical verification must be received with each application in order to receive consideration. No special accommodation will be provided if the required documentation is not submitted with the application.


Examinees are responsible for their own accommodations and travel arrangements. Every effort is made by the Board to select examination sites which are reasonably accessible to public transportation, parking, etc.


Subsequent to the review of an application and approximately two weeks prior to the dictation examination, eligible applicants will receive notification of the date, hours, and location to appear. No one will be admitted without a Final Notice of Examination. Applicants will only be admitted at the examination times stated on their Final Notice of Examination. No one will be admitted late into the exam, and schedule changes are not allowed for any reason at any time.


Applicants will be required to show (1) their Final Notice of Examination with a passport-type photo attached and (2) an "approved" photo identification which has the applicant's photograph permanently attached in order to be admitted into the examination. These will be required to be shown at the door as applicants sign in. Approved photo identification includes the following current items:

  • 1. Drivers License
  • 2. Department of Motor Vehicles ID Card
  • 3. United States Passport
  • 4. Military Identification
  • 5. Alien Identification
  • 6. Certificate of Naturalization

No one will be admitted into the examination without this second photo identification.

Dictation & Transcription (Performance). Includes four-voice dictation from an actual court or deposition transcript, at 200 words per minute for 12 to 13 minutes. The material will be dictated live. 97.5% accuracy is required to pass. Allow approximately four hours, including a maximum of three hours for transcription. Only your stenotype machine, tripod, and Final Notice of Examination will be allowed into the dictation room.

Final transcripts MUST comply with the minimum transcript format standards, include line numbers on the left side of the page, include page numbers in the upper right corner, be double-spaced, and be typewritten in upper and lower case; MANIFOLD not allowed. All corrections to transcripts must be typewritten. YOUR TRANSCRIPT WILL NOT BE GRADED IF YOU DO NOT COMPLY.


A stenotype machine, steno paper (unless you have a paperless writer), computer and printer. Transcript paper will be furnished. Your transcript will NOT be graded if you use your own paper to print your final transcript, rough draft, or steno notes. Steno notes MUST be provided. If you do not provide your steno notes, your transcript will NOT be graded. If you pass the dictation exam, your notes will be compared to your transcript. The notes can either be on paper, CD or flash drive ONLY. The notes saved on the CD or flash drive MUST be in PDF FORMAT ONLY. We recommend you print your notes; the Board is not responsible if the CD or flash drive cannot be read. If the CD or flash drive cannot be read, your transcript cannot be graded. One paper dictionary, and/or electronic dictionary, may be used, but it may NOT be taken into the dictation room. It must be placed at your assigned seat in the transcription room ahead of time. Your dictionary and other personal items must be placed at your assigned seat during computer setup.

Readback is not required of examinees in the Dictation/Transcription Test.


Eligible applicants are assigned identification numbers and group numbers which are indicated on the Final Notice of Examination. THE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER MUST NOT BE DISCLOSED TO ANYONE. USE IDENTIFICATION NUMBERS AND GROUP NUMBERS ONLY, on all test materials, NOT your name. Examinees who use an incorrect identification number will receive an automatic fail in the subject.


Effective July 1, 2008, both the English and Professional Practice examinations are conducted via computer-based testing, offsite, separate from the dictation examination. After an applicant completes the examination application and is approved by the CRB to take the written exams, the candidate information is sent to the test vendor, PSI, for scheduling. The test vendor mails to the candidate a "Candidate Information Bulletin" that has the candidate's unique identifying number plus complete information on how to schedule yourself at a test center. The determination of the test center for scheduling, date and time of scheduling is completely up to each candidate. Candidates can sit for any written examination a maximum of once every exam cycle: July-October; November-February; March-June. For more information on the English and Professional Practice examinations, or to review the candidate information bulletin, please go to PSI's website at https://candidate.psiexams.com/index.jsp.


You may bring an English dictionary, and/or electronic dictionary, which may be used in the transcription portion of the Dictation/Transcription Test. The dictionary may be brought into the transcription room during computer setup.

If there is any concern or confusion regarding spelling, hyphenation, or one-word/two-word designation, Merriam Webster's most current "Collegiate" dictionary will be considered the definitive and deciding reference. The Board is currently using the 11th edition as reference to grade the examination.



Tables and chairs provided for transcription are of standard height. It is suggested that examinees who feel this may be a problem should bring their own personal accommodations for height in seating. This must be done during computer setup. No additional items will be allowed into the transcription room after computer setup.


If, after an application has been submitted to the Board, an applicant finds that he or she is unable to appear, the Board must be notified IMMEDIATELY. An eligible applicant who fails to appear for the assigned examination subject shall forfeit his or her fee. If the Board is notified before the Final Notice of Examination is mailed from the Board office that an applicant will not be appearing, the fee will then be held over for the next regularly scheduled examination ONLY. In cases where an applicant must cancel after the Final Notice of Examination is mailed, the Board can vote to hold the fee over for one exam only, if written request is mailed to the Board within 10 days of the exam. Regulations section 2419(d) specifies the grounds on which the Board can decide to hold the fee over. There will be no refunds issued. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS.


Dictation examination results are mailed on the same date to all examinees after grading has been completed and the Board has certified the results. Results are not available by telephone. Please do not call the Board to inquire when the results will be mailed. Each call requires that the examination process be interrupted and takes just that much longer for the final results to be processed. You will be notified at the examination of when the examination results will be mailed out.


Request to Review Dictation and Transcription. Examinees interested in receiving Dictation and Transcription documents may submit a written request to the Board office postmarked within 30 days of the date of the notice of examination results. A copy of the examinee's transcript, dictated test, and notes will be forwarded by mail. Only those examinees that did not successfully pass the dictation/transcription portion of the test may request a copy of their transcript. Successful candidates will not receive a copy of their transcript.

An opportunity to hear the taped recording of an examinee's dictation group will be granted upon receipt of a request received within 30 days of the date of the notice of examination results. Contact the Board office for an appointment.

Appeal requests must be in writing and must be postmarked within 45 days of the date of the notice of examination results. Reconsideration requests must be specific and must identify the page and line number on the examinee's transcript and on the dictated test in order to facilitate the Board review. A sample form will be provided for those who wish to appeal.

All examination documents for Dictation/Transcription are destroyed 90 days after the date of the notice of test results.


Examinees who receive notification that they have completed all examination subjects are at that time declared eligible for licensure. ACTUAL LICENSURE IS ATTAINED BY SUBMITTING THE STATUTORILY-REQUIRED FEE AND THE FORMS PROVIDED BY THE BOARD. SUCCESSFUL EXAMINEES SHALL NOT REPRESENT THEMSELVES AS CERTIFIED SHORTHAND REPORTERS UNTIL SUCH TIME AS THE FEE HAS BEEN SUBMITTED AND THE LICENSE HAS BEEN ISSUED. Upon issuance of the license, the licensee is entitled to all the PRIVILEGES and RESPONSIBILITIES which the State of California has conveyed to the licensee in the form of a license. The license is, at all times, the legal property of the State of California.


The Shorthand Reporters law is contained in the California Business & Professions Code beginning with Section 8000. The regulations adopted by the Certified Shorthand Reporters Board are contained in Title 16 of the California Code of Regulation, beginning with Section 2400. In addition to the Business & Professions Code and the Code of Regulation, other laws exist which govern reporting practice and administration which appear in the following California Codes: California Constitution, Civil Code, Code of Civil Procedure, Evidence Code, Government Code, Labor Code, Penal Code, Probate Code, Rules of Court, U.S. Constitution and the Welfare & Institutions Code. Candidates should be familiar with the contents of these reference materials, as well as the references identified in the school curriculum in the California Code of Regulations, Title 16, Division 24, Section 2411 (k)(1) and (2).


Business & Professions Code, Section 123: "It is a misdemeanor for any person to engage in any conduct which subverts or attempts to subvert any licensing examination or the administration of an examination, including, but not limited to:

(a) Conduct which violates the security of the examination materials; removing from the examination room any examination materials without authorization; the unauthorized reproduction by any means of any portion of the actual licensing examination; aiding by any means the unauthorized reproduction of any portion of the actual licensing examination; paying or using professional or paid examination-takers for the purpose of reconstructing any portion of the licensing examination; obtaining examination questions or other examination material, except by specific authorization either before, during, or after an examination; or using or purporting to use any examination questions or materials which were improperly removed or taken from any examination for the purpose of instructing or preparing any applicant for examination; or selling, distributing, buying, receiving, or having unauthorized possession of any portion of a future, current, or previously administered licensing examination.

(b) Communicating with any other examinee during the administration of a licensing examination; copying answers from another examinee or permitting one's answers to be copied by another examinee; having in one's possession during the administration of the licensing examination any books, equipment, notes, written or printed materials, or data of any kind, other than the examination materials distributed, or otherwise authorized to be in one's possession during the examination; or impersonating any examinee or having an impersonator take the licensing examination on one's behalf. Nothing in this section shall preclude prosecution under the authority provided for in any other provision of law. In addition to any other penalties, a person found guilty of violating this section, shall be liable for the actual damages sustained by the agency administering the examination not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000) and the costs of litigation.

(c) If any provision of this section or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the section that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this section are severable."