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Tue, May. 6th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Hi everyone.
I am pretty down in the dumps about school lately. I hope you all don't mind if I vent for a minute or two.
I have always been a pretty decent writer, my speeds did not take long to attain until I started getting very anxious and nervous during testing. I completely freeze when my teacher is dictating tests to us now. I syke myself out the whole time, then get behind and lose it. I have no idea what brought this on except pressure I place on myself when I see other students who started after me passing me in speeds. (& of course people asking me WHEN ARE YOU GRADUATING?) My 2 year mark was up in the beginning of April and ever since then [and a little before] I am in a rut. Our teachers preach 4 hour nightly practice, but never once have I done that.
I am currently at 180 LIT, 200 JURY, and 200 Q&A with one test to go before I am in 225.

I guess I am just looking for any success stories you all have, or any words of advice and wisdom on what I can do to break through this mess and possibly see graduating in my future ;(

Wed, May. 7th, 2008 02:37 am (UTC)

i hate to break it to you, but this is where you HAVE to practice. you need to build up your muscle memory.
when there were hurricanes here in fl, i started practicing because there was nothing to do (i graduated dec 06) which was when i was 120/140-160/180 class. i got books on tape and practiced to tv.
good luck!!!

Wed, May. 7th, 2008 09:11 pm (UTC)

First off, just remember that it takes time to develop speed and you can't guarantee yourself to write 200 words a minute within a certain amount of time, no matter how many years you've been in school. It takes A LOT of practice, and everyone is different as far as progressing in speed. People get stuck at different levels. I've seen it happen mostly at the speeds of 160/180, and that was also the level I was at the longest. When you sign up in school, they tell you it's possible to get out of school within two years, but everyone is different, and when it's your time, it's your time. DON'T GIVE UP! There were many times out of frustration I wanted to quit, but then I would think about how much time, money and effort I'd put into it, and that kept me focused on my goal. Trust me, it's all worth it in the end. I've been working as a court reporter now for two years, and I can't tell you how much I love my job and how rewarding it is! It's worth it. Don't give up!

As far as test anxiety, what helped me with that was during practice dictation, in my mind, I treated each take as if it were a test. Also, it's very important to breathe! If you feel your muscles start to tense up, try to relax and breathe. You could also practice on your own with dictation RPR tapes.

Good luck!

Fri, May. 9th, 2008 07:30 pm (UTC)

Okay, so, you sound pretty much EXACTLY like me! Well, except I don't *really* have the test anxiety so much anymore... although at times it feels like "Um, a stenograph? Is that what this thing is between my legs?" lol out of nowhere when I'm writing, but my instructors have told us time and again that they even still do that as working CRs.

But ANYWAY, I believe you are one test ahead of me (I need one more 180 Lit and I'm 200 Q&A and Jury, but I haven't passed any 200s yet) and uh, I've been in school for 3.5 years now. So PULEEZE! Get outta here w/ your two-year sob story!! ;p (Two years was initially my goal, too, ha.) I have a very similar problem w/ practicing, too. It's just reeeally hard to make the time sometimes, what w/ work and the gym and whatnot in addition to school all week, but ya gotta just fit it in there somehow in order to get over some of those humps. And yes, it is QUITE discouraging when chicks that are two years behind you are catching up and/or passing you. None of them have PASSED me yet (pshhhh! I'll be damned! >;p), but it's getting close w/ the 200s. And you know what, that's actually something that pushes me... knowing that I CANNOT let an amature show me up lol. That's just me though because I'm a competitive person.

Anyway, I could ramble on but hopefully some of whatever I just said has helped you. Just know that you are NOT ALONE. We CRs are few and far between, but we are out there. Silently cheering each other on. ;]


Tue, May. 13th, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC)

Hi! I'm an official reporter in San Francisco and reading your post totally brought back memories of when I "plateaued." I completely know where you're coming from.

I have to say that the speed you're at is usually where I and my friends in school usually plateaued. My advice is not to get frustrated and look at your training regimen. Is there something you're not doing? Is there something you could do different? Take every test. Transcribe them. Examine any errors you may have. Make changes. And yes, you may need to up the number of hours you're practicing.

Don't worry about hitting your two year mark. That's excellent progress as far as I'm concerned. It took me four years, but that's mostly cuz I screwed around for a while. But when you're ready to go, it'll all fall into place. Don't give up. Just change up your routine and that might help you out of your plateau. Good luck!!

Wed, Aug. 4th, 2010 09:09 pm (UTC)

Hi, I know this is a pretty old comment, but I am just now having an interest in getting into court reporting. I also live in the Bay Area, and I am planning to go to West Valley College for court reporting school, but am unsure about whether to get my associate's or certificate. I already have a bachelor's in Psychology, if that makes any difference.

Also, what would you say the job opportunities are like around here?

Thank you so much!

Fri, May. 16th, 2008 05:53 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous): Word of advice.

Court reporting can be frustrating as hell, believe me, been there, done that.

You are almost there. Now, about four hour evening practice, well, they didn't request we do that, but I lived Stenography, day and night and it helped.

One thing that I know can help is an electric-assisted stenograph, which automatically spaces without overhapping, and striking the keys is light and consistent. You don't need a $5000.00 machine they try to stick you with, the keyboard setup is the same with all the machines, but that electric assisted machine is a winner. I know where there is one in perfect condition for #300.00, plus of course, shipping.

If you need someone to talk to, e-mail me and I'll respond, believe me in all my years of reporting I've seen it and heard it all, and I sure as hell know shortcuts to get you through. Three of my transcribers are CSR's that I mentored.

You can do it: ajpscribe@valornet.com

If you need to talk with someone, through me a e-mail and I'll respond.


Thu, Jul. 3rd, 2008 05:52 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous): Hang on

I know what you are going through at this moment. I have had some of those moments myself. As far as the nerves, you should take in a long deep breath right before your test is dictated to you and slowly release while typing. In addition to that,
(and it may sound corny) but put a peppermint under your tongue; it completely takes the focus off of the fact that you need to pass to a higher speed. As far as your graduation date, and that annoying question of when? Just let them sit in front of the machine one time and see how diffcult it can be. They will shut up. I promise. ;0)

Sat, Dec. 20th, 2008 05:32 am (UTC)

I can definitely relate to what you are going through. I can remember being at those speed levels and being at a plateau. I would achieve my previous speed levels in three months, but when I hit 200 wpm, I stayed in it for a year before I went on to 225. Sometimes I felt like throwing that machine off of a high-rise building. What kept me going was the fact I had invested way too much time and money to give up. What helped me get out of my 200's was I took a five minute dictation that was broken down into 1 minute increments. At the end of the five 1 minute increments, it would put the five minutes together and made it more attainable for me. It didn't do any good to have shattered notes. I would take each minute over and over until I mastered it, looking over my notes and transcribing the take to see where my drops were and where I was starting to lose it. There's a pattern there in your notes, and you will see it. Only then can you fix it and find what's holding you back. Good luck and hang in there!

Wed, Sep. 2nd, 2009 04:41 pm (UTC)

Don't worry all you have to do is stick with it it will all fall into place trust me you are way ahead of me I thought when i first looked at down in the dumps you would have a real dilema like me but my situation is alot worse so just stick with it your almost there. My story is this I have been attending Las VegaS College for almost three years I am only at 100 wpm right now I have had a few set backs and there telling me that I am not reaching academic progress. I've heard of some people taking up to five years to complete this program it was nothing like i thought it was when i started but i do know the theory now i'm prett much just working on speed. Anyway my dilema is that i am moving back to my home town Minnesota and there are no schools that offer court reporting at all so i have been looking to do it on line and im a littler nervous i'm more of a hands on learner i dont really uderstand how someone could learn this program on line. Any encouragment out there? I do already have the machine but i have been out of school for about 9 months and its driving me crazy but my only option is on line so is it hard?