The Scary Transition from Theory to Speeds

The Scary Transition from Theory to Speeds

A court reporting student brought up a very good question recently about transition.  She expressed concern for…

“Going from theory, where you are not allowed to make any mistakes, to speed, where you are expected to ‘let go’ and make up your own briefs, and not care about mistakes.”

So what is the best, healthiest, and easiest way to transition from your theory classes, where everything is slow, careful, and as precise as possible, to your speeds where your are not getting beat up with your theory book anymore?

The answer will probably surprise you. But the truth is that you really shouldn’t treat speed classes any differently than your theory classes.

The only differences between your theory class and your speed class is:

  1. Instead of word drills or learning new parts of your theory, you just write to dictation and take tests.
  2. You have more freedom to make up briefs and phrases, IF you want.
  3. You are encouraged to “push” sometimes to achieve certain speeds (but not so much that you ruin the accuracy and control of your writing).

Now while every school works a bit differently, the above-listed items are just the bare essentials as far as the differences between your theory and speed classes.

But when it comes to how you approach your writing, the attitude you have when taking the class, and your desired result from the class, these core things are not drastically different whatsoever than what you should be bringing to the table (mentally/emotionally) to your new classes.

Here is what I mean by this:

THEORY CLASS: You strive to make all your strokes strong, clean, and accurate so that your writing is always as readable as possible.
SPEED CLASS: You strive to make all your strokes strong, clean, and accurate so that your writing is always as readable as possible.

THEORY CLASS: You carefully learn all of the writing components of your theory so that your writing is consistent.
SPEED CLASS: You use all of the writing components of your theory so that your writing is consistent. However, you can make changes on the fly if you find a better way that reduces strokes and/or hesitation between strokes.

THEORY CLASS: You have the mindset of “get everything you hear the first time, as much as you are able.”
SPEED CLASS: You have the mindset of “get everything you hear the first time, as much as you are able.”

THEORY CLASS: You learn briefs and phrases that your theory recommends in order to make your writing easier.
SPEED CLASS: You learn more (or even make up your own) briefs and phrases that your theory recommends in order to make your writing easier.

THEORY CLASS: You give your time on the steno machine your absolute best effort so that your writing is strong and accurate, which reinforces all of the correct finger movements so that your brain can absorb them subconsciously.
SPEED CLASS: You give your time on the steno machine your absolute best effort so that your writing is strong and accurate, which reinforces all of the correct finger movements so that your brain can absorb them subconsciously.

So don’t look at transitioning from your theory class to speeds class as anything scary or intimidating. And don’t get thrown off by the fact that you can implement more briefs, phrases, or your own personal writing style once you are in your speed classes (because you’re going to be doing that for your entire court reporting career anyway).

Just look at speed classes as your next step. No more, no less.

In my opinion, speed classes were easier than theory classes because theory required that I not only learn something totally new every day but also had to write as accurately and strong as possible. With speed classes, I just have to worry about that second part.

If you want more strategies to get through your speed classes better, and even pass your certification exam with much more ease, then you’ll want to read about this.

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About the Author:

Cale McCabe is a Texas-certified court reporter who specializes in helping other court reporting students pass their certification exam the next time they take it. Visit the website today at www.PassTheCourtReportingExam.com