Hi everyone! I've been in school now since last May. I'm in the 70-90 speed now and I get so dang nervous during testing. I come home and practice and can knock out a clean 80 dictation, but can't pass a 70 at school. Any testing technics anyone can pass along so my hands don't shake like I have parkinsons?

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Comment by Jonathan on March 18, 2009 at 15:12
Well I took the advice of a few others here, and it helped. Mostly I noticed that when I was testing I was so nervous I wasn't breathing normally. Now I try to be conscious of my breathing while still focusing on the dictation. Also, my sister bought me the rubber pads to put on top of my keys. They helped a great deal also. Now my fingers don't slip off the keys when they sweat. It took me about a week or so to get use to them, but now it feels quite normal. Hope that helps some..

Comment by Karen Hlubek on March 18, 2009 at 10:08
Whew! I thought something was wrong with me. I get so nervous when taking a test (which is every night), that my fingers actually sweat, and then slip off the keys...well the rest is history. I'm so afraid of not getting everything down...that I don't, and then I'm discouraged. I don't know what I need to do.

Comment by Deborah Morin on February 6, 2009 at 8:44
This may sound really bad and against all your teachers' advice, but I say break all the rules! I always enjoyed practicing to speed tapes way ahead of my speed and challenged myself to get what I could. I didn't care if had to brief something for the first time on a test. I stop writing punctuation to concentrate on getting the words. Who cares about commas and periods when what you really need is the words. These are things I would do in a crunch when I'm behind. Of course when I'm right on top of it I try to write cleanly and "stroke it out," but in tough times, get what you can down. You'd be surprised what you can figure out later on during transcription. Lastly, don't ever give up when you're thinking "Man, I really blew this test. There's no way I'll pass it now" -- Just keep writing and transcribe as much as possible, even the crap. I used to keep notes on the words that gave me a hard time so that that word NEVER gives you a hard time again. People used to wonder how I breezed through and passed speed tests so quickly, even after the first week in a new speed class. It's because I never bought into thinking that you have to spend time in a speed class before passing out of it. It's just not true! You can and should fly through most the early speed classes in a month. The upper speeds are where it starts to get really fun! Challenge yourself to push the limit each and every time you write. When it feels too easy, pause about five seconds and let yourself catch up. Trailing is a very valuable skill in the real world, let me tell you!
Comment by Candice Lane on February 5, 2009 at 12:00
Monica, thanks so much for this excellent advice. This will make my practice sessions and test taking alot more productive. I am striving for accuracy and speed. I want the speed but I know it will come, I really want to be able to write with accuracy and without hesitation.
Comment by Jonathan on February 5, 2009 at 5:49
:->... off to class now with a totally different outlook.
Comment by Melissa Hill on February 4, 2009 at 19:15
I think ALL of this is great advice and you've probably had enough of it. But in summary, the best advice is the reason you're nervous is mainly due to the fact that you've got to get way faster than the speed of the test. This will let you relax a little more cuz you KNOW you can do it. It will be a piece of cake if you go in there with the ability to type 20 words a minute faster than the speed of the test. It worked for me every time and I was such a horrible test taker. I would almost have an out-of-body experience I was so nervous! Also, visualization is great. Picture the whole test before it happens. Imagine yourself going in, getting set up, your fingers effortlessly gliding over the keys, smiling all the while. I think all the advice you've received from your court reporting family here is ALL great. I KNOW you'll do it. Let us all know how it goes!
Comment by Tami on February 4, 2009 at 18:49
I think you're right on. Monica, even though I've never considered my crazy nerves a friend. :)

I am The Super Freak when I take a test. "Nerves are inevitable," I can't agree more.

Being way above test speed will get you those passes. When students complain about dictation -- mumblers, false starters, spurters etc. -- I always tell them to take the bad dictation out of the equation. Get faster. Practice significantly above your goal speed, so when Mr. Mumbler or Ms. Spurter starts, you'll have time to do a bit of deciphering and/or keep up when they find themselves way slow and have to catch up.

When my son was in school he'd occasionally complain about the dictation, and I'd just grin. I don't think he liked my lack of sympathy. I just knew it was going to make him a better reporter.

My high-speed teacher in school had a tracheotomy. His dictation was extremely difficult. The reporters who made it through his class all became top-notch reporters.

Guess that was a little off topic, but the point is I think speed is a cure-all.
Comment by Jonathan on February 4, 2009 at 18:10
Thank you so much for all the great advice. I know I do put too much emphasis on passing tests. I really need to get over it. I've never been a highly competetive person before in my life, but I have a fear of being the last one to advance to the next level. I know that is crazy! I shouldn't measure my advancement by what other people are doing and how fast they are advancing. This is my future job and career. I don't want to breeze through just because I can pass a test. I have to change my way of thinking, and stay focused.

Feeling better already..

Thanks for all the advice.
Comment by Tanya Saar on February 4, 2009 at 10:20
Hi Jonathan,
I was a nervous wreck at testing time, too. I usually passed tests when I didn't know it was a test. I went to see a hypnotist hoping he could calm me down. During the hypnotising process he must have been very close to my face, and the only thing I could think of was man, this guy's breath stinks. I did end up getting out of 180 a couple weeks after that, which I was stuck in for a year, but I don't think it had anything to do with the hypnotist. We'll try anything to get out of school. Good Luck.
Comment by Jonathan on February 3, 2009 at 20:43
wow! thank you all for all the advice. Yes, I do tend to hold my breath a little during tests. I actually did notice that today. I will try everything that was mentioned and will let you know how I do next week!


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