One of the biggest anxieties our students face, whether prospective or currently enrolled, is the critical tests in the Complete Scoping Course.  There are three – the punctuation test, the software test, and the final transcript – and students can’t access the rest of the course without passing these tests.   That means that potentially a student has taken the leap, invested time and money in themselves and then can’t pass a test.  Then what?  Have you just paid close to $5,000 and spent hours and hours learning and that’s it?   That feels so overwhelming and scary, and we get it.  We’ve been there ourselves.   

So let’s talk about this.  Why do we have critical tests in the course?  How do we recommend that you prepare for them?   And what should you do if you fail? 

Why do we have critical tests in the Complete Scoping Course? 

Believe it or not, these tests are really for you, our students and potential scopist.  In our opinion there are two really big reasons why these tests benefit you: 

  • Testing ensures that Scoping International only produces the best scopists.  We feel very passionately about Scoping International’s reputation in the court reporting industry.  We want court reporters to see a Scoping International student and snatch them up before anyone can work with them.  We want our graduates to be the best of the best and have really profitable careers so that, when you start out professionally, you only have to say “I’m a Scoping International graduate” and you’re booked; you’re set.  This can only happen if we make sure that you truly understand and are applying what we teach you, and these tests, especially the final transcript, help us to see your caliber as a scopist and give you the feedback you need to become a successful scopist.   
    • Now, don’t panic if you’re about to tackle your final transcript.  We do NOT expect you to be perfect.  We will NOT fail you over one missed comma or any other one-off errors we find in your submission.  We are looking at the overall picture.  Overall, are you showing you understand when to shift from Q and A to colloquy?  Overall, are you showing that you understand and follow reporter preferences?  Overall, are you showing a grasp of grammar and are able to apply your knowledge to the verbatim record? 
  • The second reason is to help you face any fears you will experience when you are scoping professionally.  That feeling of clicking “Send” on a job and waiting for feedback does not go away once you complete our course.  In fact, those of us who have been scoping for years still feel that old anxiety popping up anytime we’re sending a job for the first time to a new client.  It’s scary!  What if they don’t like my work?  The testing process in the Complete Scoping Course allows you to confront that fear and get familiar with it.  It’s not a comfortable feeling, and we really understand that.  Unfortunately, that discomfort never really disappears, and this is a good opportunity for you to work through being uncomfortable and not let that stop you from achieving what you have set out to do. 

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” 

– Jack Canfield 

How does the faculty at Scoping International recommend that you prepare for the critical tests? 

We’re going to give you the scoop on how to pass our tests.  We’re doing this because we really, really want to see you succeed, and we want to give you all the tools you need to do so!  You still have to do the work, but we’ll make sure you know where to focus.  

Here’s a breakdown of each critical test and our top tips for preparing for each one: 

The punctuation test: 

  • Make sure you’ve done all of the worksheets provided in the course. 
  • Make a list of each section and subheading.   Note which sections you aren’t clear on and get more information.  Look up quizzes, go through blog posts on the subject.  If you’ve already invested in the resources recommended in this course, use those to work on firming up your understanding.   
  • Ask for tips and further explanations from your fellow students in the Facebook group. Ask for help at our drop-in sessions.   
  • Book a one-on-one coaching call with Coralie at

The software test: 

  • The biggest tip we have here is use the transcript that you download in the section to physically practice what you’re learning.  None of the concepts you’re studying will really stick until you’ve been applying them kinetically.  It’s okay if you completely “mess up” the practice transcript.   That’s the whole point of this – make your mistakes, figure things out.  This is a safe place to do that.  You can always close the transcript without saving your changes and you’ll have it back to its original form the next time you open it.  And the transcript is available to download as many times as you need to “play” with it.  So get in there, explore, make mistakes, learn from them, then take the test! 
  • Again, reach out to your fellow students in the Facebook group and ask them for suggestions and help and attend our drop-in sessions to ask your questions to one ?of the instructors. 
  • Book a one-on-one coaching session with Rachel at

The final transcript: 

  • Do the practice transcripts.  I’m going to say it again because it’s simple but serious:  Do the practice transcripts.  Compare your version to the scoped version provided.  Notice grammar decisions, formatting decisions, make notes, and learn why those decisions were made.   When we are grading your final transcript, we can tell if you’ve utilized those practice transcripts or not.  So don’t cheat yourself.  Do the work. 
  • Pay very close attention to preferences when you’re doing the practice transcripts.  Learn to follow them closely.  Following preferences is one of the most important skills an excellent scopist has, and we pay attention to your ability to follow them when we grade the final. 
  • Follow the Scoping Recipe Card provided in Section 4.  Using this tool will help you to avoid the pitfalls both new and experienced scopists fall into. 

What should you do if you fail? 

“We are all failures – at least the best of us are.”  

– J.M. Barrie

Oh, the heart-sinking-into-your-stomach feeling you get when you see you’ve failed a test.  Trust me, all three of us course instructors are all too familiar with that horrible feeling.   We’ll share a little secret with you that we hope will give you hope.  Very nearly every student who has taken our critical tests have failed on the first try.  You are in the company of greatness.  It’s not about failing; it’s about not giving up.  So when you fail, after your heart has emerged from your stomach and returned to its proper place, take some time to think about the parts of the test that were difficult for you.  This is why we give you more than one chance.  We all need an opportunity to try again and room to grow and apply our lessons, and that’s what we are giving you.  

 We recommend writing down notes soon after failing a test so that you can capture what your biggest struggles are while they are fresh in your mind.  Then take a break.   Give your brain a rest and time to process.  Then go back and study the portions that you see you need more information on.  Again, attend drop-in sessions and ask for clarification on those points you’re struggling with or book a coaching call for a one-on-one conversation. 

Now while we do give you chances to retest, those chances are not limitless.   There are three chances to pass the punctuation section and the software training.  There are two chances to pass the final.   If you have used up all three chances, there is still hope.  You can pay a fee to take the test.  Every retest after that point will incur a fee.  And we strongly advise you to be taking full advantage of all of the resources we’ve mentioned many times in this post – drop-ins, coaching sessions, and the Facebook group – as you continue to study. 

Also, please remember that you have lifetime access to the information you’ve gained access to so far.  We are sure there is a reason this career appealed to you.  It may just be that you need to take more time, take a break and come back to it later.  You can come back a couple months later.  You can come back 10 years later.  It’s always yours.  And after that time, you may have gained the knowledge and skills you need to pass these tests.   

“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

– Bill Gates 

The faculty at Scoping International truly wish you success in your scoping career, and we offer as much support as we can.  We hope this post has encouraged you to work through your fear, face and take those tests, and to calmly approach each setback or failure as a chance to learn.   

We look forward to seeing you at our future drop-ins and in our Facebook group with all of your questions! 

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more