It is the truest thing about reporting. You NEED dictation. People want free, free, and free, but it takes money to make money. There is very few quality free dictation on YouTube and StenoTube. Practicing to TV is great if you’re planning to become a captioner, but it won’t necessarily make a QA any easier. In order for TV to even be effective, it needs to be extremely challenging and it needs to be supplemented with quality highspeed dictation and the passages read during class.
Before I passed the RPR, because I lived so close to my school and didn’t need to battle traffic to get home, I used to stay and sit behind Mark and write an hour or two of Rush Limbaugh. I could never do three hours. As a student, that seemed so long! In a world of 5-minute and 10-minute tests, even an hour is a stretch. Two hours is a killer. You don’t have endurance or the muscle to sustain that yet, even though reporters can go four hours before their arms start to hurt. But it will come.
I say this to say that I passed that RPR test shaking and barely, and the thing that put me over the top was all the dictation I bought and the fact that I CHOSE to live next to my school, so I’d stay and put in hours behind Mark on the extremely challenging Rush Limbaugh Show. I’ve captioned Fox Business News, and currently at 6 pm Eastern, there is a show called Making Money with Charles Payne that is extremely challenging. This is perfect to supplement your other practice in school and with dictation. Some TED talks can be challenging, but they have to be quick. An Obama, Hillary, or Ted Cruz speech is extremely slow, for instance. Won’t cut it, unless you’re trying to be a captioner.
(1) Magnum Steno Club ($30 a month) – free if you’re enrolled in Mark Kislingbury’s online program
(2) NCRA downloads (the exact same dictation as those on Realtime Coach)
If you have extra money:
(3) Speed builders – buy individual dictation
(4) Ev360 – dictation club
I don’t recommend Realtime Coach (RTC), unless you’re going for the CRR, which is not a test students take.
Remember to ask your mentor and teacher for their dictionary or dictation they already might have. No need to build everything up from scratch.