Hi, I'm a student in my 200s with one 4-voice test left. I've had a couple tests lately where I'm almost sure I got it and then completely miss it because of sloppy writing. Sometimes it's the wrong brief/stroke (I don't remember/I don't recall, this/that,) sometimes it's a misstroke so bad I have to figure it out from context, and other times it's a misstroke that is similar to another word and I transcribe it wrong. Most recently was a test where I dropped seven words (and added two) and still ended up missing 24. That's 15 times in a 5-minute test that I had a stroke for what was said, but it was the wrong stroke. Sometimes it's so messy that it takes me a minute to figure out what I wrote. I can't imagine what I would do if I got called to read back at a job. I've done a lot of adding common misstrokes and stacks to my dictionary, but it's pretty clear to me that I need to start working on writing cleaner. Any suggestions?


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If you're using the wrong brief/stroke, maybe you should ditch that brief/stroke and find another way to write it. For instance, write it out, that way there's no confusion.

If it's a misstroke so bad that you can't read it, that sounds that you need to increase your speed.

What's the issue with the similiar sounding words? Give us a for instance what you're talking about that you missed recently. That might just be an issue of boning up on your vocabulary

Just my .02.

Speed, speed, speed. That seems to be the cure-all for sloppy notes. Do you practice hooked up to your computer? I find writing realtime when I practice is tremendously helpful because you see your mistakes and what you need to work on instantly. Also, I hate to do it, but reading my notes out loud and correcting the outlines is invaluable too.
Rather than speeding up, it's my opinion that a good practice to clean up notes is to slow it down a notch for accuracy. You're never going to be able to write accurately at higher speeds until you gain control at a slower one. That always held true for me anyway. Try some slower practice maybe at the beginning of your practice session and then speed it up.
I agree with Beth. Slow it down and get back to phonetics. Also try dropping the second you hesitate. If you just drop the one word, you won't miss the next seven. You have your whole career to fool around with briefs, but a solid way of writing out perfect notes phonetically is the first step.
Thanks for the replies. I definitely have been focusing on speed lately and have neglected practicing at lower speeds. I guess I'll try going into 180s and maybe even 160s with my laptop .

Judy - an example of that recently was where I misstroked the word "down." It was a complete mistran, and when I was editing it, I transcribed it as "I was thrown under the dash."

Thank you all again, I really appreciate your help!

You mean one word turned into six words? I agree with Diane about not adding words on a test. That sounds like what you did there, just made something up because you couldn't read your stroke.

I agree with whoever said that you should probably slow down your practicing and work on getting your outlines 100% correct, and then work on your speed. Speed does you no good if you can't read it.
Oh I guess that did seem like that's what I was saying. What was dictated was "I was down under the dash."

When I'm adding words, it's not when I'm editing, it's actually while I'm writing. I think I do it when I'm trailing and my brain just sticks in the extra "the" or something because it makes sense.

I do my tests with my software, not from paper.

Thanks for everyone's input, I think my new strategy will be to read from my notes every day, practice getting cleaner at lower speeds, and then work on getting a little more speed.
Do you type your tests by reading off your paper notes or do you use your laptop & software? With paper notes you can unwind an untranslate during transcription, but with software not only do you have to deal with untranslates but those drops and mistranslates too. Adding words will usually count against you, so try to avoid doing that. My school's test policy included tape recording the test. Then the student could grade their own test along with the tape and submit a possible pass for regrade. If your school does this, I suggest grading all your tests so you can see where your problem words/phrases lie. Take that info and make up practice sentences with those problem words to help with accuracy. You won't make those same mistakes again.


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