I've been trying to get my 180 and 190 4VC tests for a while now, and I'm getting really frustrated. I understand it's fairly normal to hit "plateaus," but how do you work through them? I'm really eager to start sitting out with reporters, and I'm one test away from being able to start.
And while I have your attention, my unreliable car has forced me to drop out for the rest of the semester, and I want to do everything I can to keep making progress. If anyone has any ideas for good practice material/routines, I'd appreciate any suggestions.
Thanks for your time.

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180s is a very common plateau to get stuck, as is 200 wpm. Just some food for thought...how are you practicing? Are you being productive in your practice or just slamming thru it? It really is very important to write at a comfortable speed. Maybe do the same take at a speed that really pushes you, doing the same take and going down in speed again. Also, are you reading everything you practice on? You would be so totally surprised how that "trains" your brain to write right. No matter how you write, READ everything. RELAX, take deep breaths, be in a quiet room so you can concentrate, no music, no TV. And a 2-hour session is long enough. Maybe break it up one in morning, one in afternoon...push yourself with total concentration.

I hate to see that you had to drop out. I had an unreliable car, single, 3 kids in school...started taking the bus. It worked. It will put you back to drop out because you don't push yourself as much as when you have the unconscious competition with your fellow students. There are all kinds of drills available thru NCRA and usually your local association. Find a way to be able to accomplish going to class. It will make a difference. I realize it seems all negative, with few positives...but it makes those few positives feel so much better. HANG IN THERE!
I wouldn't be opposed to using public transportation at all, but my school is about 60 miles and three counties away, and I've checked every bus and train line but it's not a possibility. Even if I spent several hours transferring from different buses and trains, there wouldn't be any way for me to make it to the morning classes or to make it home from the night classes. I haven't dropped out just yet, I have about a week until I'd have to, so I'm trying to see if there's anything I can do to fix my car.
Since my school is so far away, I'm hoping I'll save enough money in gas over the next few weeks to have my car repaired before the next semester begins.
I'm sure everyone faces the same struggles, but it's really getting to me right now. I can barely afford the gas to go to school in the first place, which makes going there and failing every test day after day even more disappointing, but having to deal with the car problems on top of everything else just makes this feel impossible.
Thanks for the suggestions. I'll see what drills I can find through the NCRA.
It's been a while since I was in school, about 13 years to be exact, but I remember the 180 plateau well. And I was REALLY frustrated with it. What I did that worked was learned all the briefs I could and really made them stick in my memory. I practiced them nightly. The next thing I knew, I was passing all my tests. I know some people love to write everything out, but briefs really pushed me over that plateau. Good luck!
I think that may be something I need to address. I generally write everything out, but I think I may need some briefs to push through these last few speed classes.
Thanks for the suggestion.
I agree with Sabrina. Writing shorter builds speed. If you're writing everything out, your hand speed will top out. Yes, you can get to the end writing everything out. You just will struggle every day you work.

I know you already know I feel this way, Stephanie, but thought I'd post anyway.

Don't be too hard on yourself. Haven't you flown through school??

Maybe an online program will work for you in the interim. I hear Simply Steno is a good one. A student posted over on Depoman about a public (JC) that offered online classes at dirt cheap rates. Perhaps you can find it somewhere in the student thread. If not, if you post over there, I guarantee someone will get you to the right spot.

Good luck! I think you're progressing amazingly!!
I might look into some online options, but I doubt I'll be able to afford any of them.
I guess I've made pretty good progress so far, but it's very difficult to keep your head up when you keep failing tests day after day.
I know I'm pretty hard on myself, and I'm trying to keep things in perspective, but it's difficult.
Thanks though. I appreciate your taking the time to respond. It's nice to see that so many reporters are supportive of the students.
I just recently heard someone refer to the "pyramid" technique, and I wasn't sure it was. I'll do some research and see if I can find the book you're talking about.


I bet your friend is struggling every day, too. The job gets so much easier when you start writing "shorthand." I hope your friend figures that out soon.

This might be a good time to share a story about what happened to me this past week.

I've been doing a very diffucult case. Emotions are high. Seven-year-old girl sodomized by her 22-year-old uncle who happened to also give her chlamydia. His defense: She came on to him. So sad!

I am an Official. We had a lightning fast "expert" witness on the stand. It was only her third time testifying. She was extremely nervous and later told us she had been screamed at to slow down the last two times she testified by "everyone."

I'm writing RT to the judge. As soon as she starts her testimony, the judge immediately starts staring at his RT screen. Well, I'm having to keep on my toes, but I'm still on it. RT is clean. During the next three or four minutes, the judge kept looking back at his screen. My RT is still sweet. This goes on about three or four times. Think he's shocked I'm still with this witness.

Finally, the judge turns to the witness and says, "Ms. Lightning Fast Witness, you need to slow down for the benefit of the jury."

Oh, the ultimate compliment. She didn't have to slow down for the benefit of the reporter, but she did have to slow down for the jurors so they could comprehend what she was saying since she was FLYING!

Man, that goes down in my life book as a great day to be alive.

Have to add here, I write super short. My hands go at least quarter speed of the students graduating these days. That's why I was able to take the ride with that witness and come out smelling like a rose.

If I had been writing everything out, or even writing half as short as I do, I'd be the one having to interrupt the proceedings, slow things down, and feeling somewhat incompetent.

I'm at the stage of the game where I look forward to the hardest witnesses, the most difficult trials. I know if I can't handle it, nobody else I work with can. It's a great feeling.

Happy writing short!

What a shame that is. I'm hoping things will turn around in the future. I'm very thankful that that was one of the things my school did advocate -- three decades ago.
Hi Tami,
What do you mean by writing super short? I'm currently attending CCR and I love it, but I'm not sure how to shorten things up that much other than the briefs that we're supposed to learn.
You might regret asking that question, Debbi. :)

What theory did you learn??
Hi Tami,
I've learned Phoenix, although some students in my school transferred in after having learned a different theory. Some of their briefs are quite interesting and I've been thinking of implementing some of those, as well as Phoenix briefs.


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