I am a student in 100 speeds. I have been in the speed for the past two year and thinking about quitting since i can't get past such a low speed. I practice twice as much as other students and I'm getting frustrated which doesn't help either. Only option I see is to quit and look for another career.

As a last resort, does anyone have any tips or tricks to help me get out of a speed? The teachers I asked advice said I'm doing everything right. Baby steps are taking to long and I can't continue like this. It will take several years to get through this program and I've already been in for four years.

Desperate student

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Sono, I accept secondary Tami status. I'll start using "Tami, too" here.

I think the financial aid might be the crippling factor in your case. The school will likely have a Federal obligation to teach you theory, since you haven't already learned one. They can't teach you StenoMaster because they don't know it. You could, as others have suggested, learn the theory, and transfer in for speed building after. I have another suggestion: You could try on the role of "worst student ever." Learn Phoenix -- poorly, just enough to get by, just enough to get to the next step. Try not to let it soak in. Take a little mental hiatus. Then plan to be in your first speed class a bit longer. The second you graduate theory class, study your chosen theory feverishly. You will sit in this class longer than your classmates, but I am certain you will catch up and surpass them later.

Tami, too
Thanks, Tami, too (though you're number 1 in my book!). I needed to take a break from thinking about all this as my head was about to explode. I am going to take your advice and take the Phoenix class, pass it, and not let it sink in. Then study Stenomaster furiously. It will be a good exercise for me as I have always been a people-pleaser which is good in a way, but can be a downfall. I really need to put myself first for a change.

The support I've received here has been invaluable. I value the honesty and that you all truly want to help us students succeed. I want to hear the truth, rather than hearing just what I want to hear.

I'm sure I'll be here often asking for more help. It's great having these forums for support.

Thanks to all.

Hello, Mr. Cuadras. Two years is an awful amount of time and money. My advice will be very realistic and I'm sorry to have to put it this way. Try all possible avenues. If after doing so, you don't make progress, then maybe you should not waste your money any longer and invest it on something else. Unfortunately court reporting is not for everyone.

Here's what I suggest you should try. Play speed takes 30 to 40 words above your speed. Try and hit a stroke for every word without thinking about accuracy or hessitating on any stroke. That will teach your fingers to move fast. Do that for about 20 minutes. Yes, your notes will be garbage, but your fingers will start learning to move fast.
Then go down to a speed that you can get at least 98 percent accuracy. Go back and forth doing that. Now, you probably won't see any change for at least a month. Unfortunately speed doesn't come overnight. Also, if you can practice at different times of day, that will also help. Practice no less than two hours a day, six days a week; you need one day to just relax and do anything you may have to do that's not reporting. Divide your time for crazy speed, accuracy, working on briefs and phrases. Don't try learning ten briefs at a time. Pick four or five and work on them until you've mastered them before moving on to others. If reporting is meant for you, then it should come to you.
Again, I'm sorry to have to put it that way to you, but I've seen too many people spend thousands of dollars before finally realizing reporting is not for them.

I am a reporter for 21 years, as well as an instructor for eight years, and run the court reporting program at NYCI in New York.

The best of luck to you and really hope what I suggest works for you and sets you on your way to being a succesful reporter.

Oscar Garzon, NYCI
Hi Oscar,

Thanks for the message. I am trying everything I can and I have 2 more weeks left of vacation before I start back to class again. I figured I'd give it one more quarter of classes and see how it goes and if nothing happens, time to move on.

Thanks again :-)
A few questions for you...

When did you join the school?

The school went through a name change, management change, and possibly an ownership change a while back. Are any of the old instructors pre-change still around?

Does your school still teach the same propriatory theory it did back in the late 1990s?

Has the theory changed, been updated, or does the school now a different theory; if so, which theory?

If someone comes in knowing another theory already, are they required to actually take your courses starting at Theory I (or whatever your school calls it), or can they test out, or just start at a higher appropriate speed and prove their capabilities?

Has you lab been updated?

Do "advanced" speed students still teach students?

There was a handout written by Simmone floating around your school in the late 1990's. Is it still around? Available?
Hello Gary. I took over running the Court Reporting program in September of 2005. I don't know what was happening before I took over, but I have only professional court reporters teaching all the classes. I take on new instructors if they have had at least five years working experience, I train them well before putting them in a class. The school did go through all those changes of ownership and school name change. The only instructor still here from that time is Ms. Gorman, and she teaches the school theory. The theory has been updated to comply with the realtime teaching. I have made some changes also to comply with the new teachings of realtime.
If someone comes in knowing another theory, I test them at or near the speed the student says they're at. That allows me to place them at the appropriate speed class. If they have not completed theory at the other school, then they may have to start theory here. I do make sure that I guide the student down the most realistic path.
The labs have been updated with new computers. No, students do not teach classes here, They may serve as tutors, but that's it. Dont't know what handout you are talking about. sorry. Can't answer that question. I am a court reporter of 18 years experience and have made many changes here at the school to put the school up to date with the technology and the teaching the new breed of students to make sure when they get out there, they know what they are doing and can take a deposition, and are able to produce a good transcript.
Hope that answers all your questions.

Oscar Garzon
Diane Hickman had great advice. When I was in school, if we didn't pass a speed within two terms, we had to go back down a speed - meaning if in the fall I was supposed to pass 180 that term and I didn't, and I didn't in the winter term either, then for summer term I had to start back at 170.

If you're not moving - compare yourself to sitting on the sofa - doing nothing. You're just sitting there. In order to move off that sofa you have to do something to make change. Meaning you have to do mental processes of thinking about moving, getting a plan together to move, start the physical process to move. And the end result is, of course, you move.

It's the same thing with building shorthand. Diane's advice was great. If that doesn't work, then quit.

But did you practice during your school break? Do you have a plan of how to go about practicing, the days and the times? When you set up those appointments with yourself (and they are appointments), do you keep them?

When you sit down for your practice appointments, what is your mindset? Do you sit down and think, "Well, I will do this, but I know it won't make any difference." Do you sit down to practice, and start with say 160, and start writing "just to be writing". Is that how you always practice "just to be writing." If you are writing "just to be writing" - then how are you EVER going to get any accuracy? You can't move from 120 to130 without accuracy. Writing garbage to "just to be writing" is fine - for about 20 minutes. Someone else had also said,

"Hear the word, write it. Hear the word, write it." That is how I was taught. I might get one word, maybe two, a strong, and then sentences.

Diane's suggestions were the best. Each time you do your practice appointment (and it is an appointment), do readbacks. Do them each time.
P.S. I wouldn't strive for 98 percent accuracy. It's practically unreachable. Be content to write and read it back. When you read back, you will see what mistakes you are making - like if you don't hit the vowels - or if you write in bad strokes (such as "don't) - you will know it.

For your purposes right this minute, be content to be able to read back. Practice with the newspaper every day. It is an easy, fairly relaxed way to build speed. Do a paragraph, read it back. That will tell you automatically what strokes are bad.
Hi Mykael -

I'm a current student at the 100-120 range. I've taken tests and passed at 100 and 110, and I've taken tests at those same speeds after already passing previously, and failed. For me, a lot of it is a mental block. If I get too worked up before a test, I'll blow it. I have found that taking a break can do wonders for practice. If I'm having an off night it can be counterproductive. Often it's best to walk away for a bit or even for the night. Do something that you enjoy or just catch up on your favorite TV shows for the night.

I have found that practicing at a higher speed than where we are testing is very helpful. Even if you can barely write anything at that high speed, it gets you listening faster so that when you drop back to the slower speed, it really seems slower. Right now, the faster speed for me is 150, and I'll go through the dictation 3-4 times and then drop back to 110-120 and see how I'm doing. Generally I have found that I write better that way.

I currently practice 6 days a week for 2-3 hours a day. I also work full-time and take 2 other classes on top of this (it's an Associate degree program.) I try to break up the practice into an hour in the morning and then 1.5-2hours at night.

There are a lot of good tips from the other reporters on here. Thanks for posting your frustration because you are not alone. We all get frustrated with it! Good luck in breaking past your barrier, Mykael.

Wow!!! I just joined this site today and the information is amazing. I am enrolled in the Court Reporting Institute of Dallas, I am going into my first speed building class in September. I am doing my last Phoenix Theory exercises this week. At this point I am not sure if I will ever get it. I cannot even imagine getting to 60wpm let alone 225wpm. These posts have been extremely helpful.

Hi mykael,
my only advice is want it. Want it bad. You will not "happen" upon passing a speed.
I got stuck at that speed too. I had to change how I was practicing. I started practicing at 140 and 160 and that got me through my 100's this summer. Listen to higher speed dictation, then when you come back down to a control speed it sounds slower than you thought making it easier to write. That's what works for me.


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