I am now a 100wpm student! I passed my 80 test yesterday. Very exciting. I was at 80 for what seems like a lifetime. I am now practicing while my kids are at school 10-1230. and then in some evenings after dinner. It varies weekly because of our schedule with sports/commitments. I also am a treasurer for a Non-profit preschool which takes up some of my "should be writing" time. Good luck everyone and happy practicing. I know i stressed this before, but you get what you put in!!! I have to remind myself of that daily. If i want to get to 140 by August I better get on my machine and practice!!!
Today i start my 80 wpm speed. I am first going to dissect my errors from my 60 wpm test. Then start a warm-up of 100 wpm. Which, by the way, seems to be Mach 1. Support will send the 15 second increment file, and then i will repeat what i did in in previous speed. I do think that adding new dictation is helpful. Stenolife.com has free 5 minute takes at all the speeds. Once i master the 3 takes from CRAH, i will then try my hand at the Stenolife material. In my opinion, Stenolife is a little more difficult. Which is good. the goal is to push yourself. And, as much as i enjoy reading back...yes, insert sarcasm, it really is helpful. In theory, i dreaded reading back. But in speed building, you really need to find your errors.
Where do i need improvement? And if i mis-stroke a word, i need to refresh that concept. It is tempting to make a brief for any hard word that pops up. But run it through a filter before you try to add it to your dictionary. How often do you hear this word? Is the outline easy to stroke or remember? Does it conflict currently or what is the potential conflicts? I have mentioned briefapedia and brief machine. Check them out. An example, ALLEGE. A pretty common word. I can see the need for a brief. I went to briefapedia and typed it in. A bunch of options popped up. Okay, so then i went to brief machine. Again, a bunch popped up. Now what? Back in theory, i used a app called Steno Lookup (Android). It is based on the NYCI and StenEd theories. And the dictionary tied to the app is from the Plover Project. Back to my original thought. Since both websites gave too many options, i checked out Steno Lookup. the ONE brief they gave was AELG. So, i took AELG and reverse searched it on Brief machine. Yes, you can type in a brief and it will give you the word(s) in English. This is where you find potential conflicts. This is my detailed system on making a brief. Anyways, i have to get back to dissecting my test. I will post updates as needed.
Update 2/14/15: I set up my CaseCat student and i got the dictionary from support. Although they do not recommend that we use software till about 180 wpm. I asked for it anyways, since i already had CaseCat student. I can now see what i am writing on my desktop. This is very cool. BUT, at about an hour into my practice session. I can already see that this is a huge distraction. Yes, you don't have to have your screen showing you realtime as you write. But, the dictionary is very limited. You could spent A LOT of time perfecting it. I do think it will help with reading back more quickly. But at this point, i do not see the benefit to getting it early. And i was the one complaining in theory about not having it. I will spent time watching the tutorials and stuff like that. But, i can see how this could slow down your progress, if you let it. After you are done writing a 5 minute take. You can go back and read it. Which is great. Except, there are tons of mis-translates. Even "HOW WERE" did not translate. I think 180 is a little too far down the road to introduce software.. But right out of theory, is sorta a waste. IMO. I will spent one day a week working on my dictionary. That is all i can allow to pull me away from speed building. I have enough distractions on a daily basis, in the form of a 3 and 4 year old:)
Update 2/23/15: 80 is kicking my butt a little bit. I can to the 15 second drills just fine. But as one 5 minute take, i fall behind. I am marking where i start to fall behind and practicing that. I am working on drill 2 of 3. Drill one wasn't nearly as hard as drill 2. CaseCat is going fine. Still working out tweaks. I didn't get any practice in this weekend. So, this week i need to buckle down.
Update:3/17/15 I get a lot more bang for my buck with practice when do not have CaseCat open. I spend a lot of time, messing with my dictionary. I am doing well though. I am working on the 3, 80 wpm takes. I have memorized parts, so, as i get near the end of my third take, i will do the free dictation from StenoLife.com. I feel like CaseCat is a double edge sword. You really have to be diligent about not messing with it too much, because it does take away from writing time. I bought the Magnum Steno book by Mark Kislingbury. I love the phrases part. Other then that, i haven't used it too much. It is expensive, so, look on ebay for a used copy. I paid $80. Another book i like is One Word,Two Words Hyphenated by Mary Louise Gilman. I got my copy from NCRA store. My goal is to be at 100 wpm by my one-year anniversary. May 1st, so, i better get busy. 60wpm, didn't seem too bad to me, but 80 is a little more tricky. You have to start trusting your fingers because, if you start hesitating you will lose it and won't keep up. I didn't get a lot of practice the last week or two, my kids stopped napping, and it is really throwing me off. It is hard to up in my office when all i hear is arguing and fighting. I am working on quiet time with books and toys in their respective rooms. But, in true 3 and 4 year old fashion, they end up in the same room fighting over toys. I can see the benefit to brick and mortar school. I'll update soon. Good luck everyone!!!
Another Update 6/24/15:
I am still at 80. I moved my practice time to after dinner. I wasn't getting anything done in the middle of the day. The kids are out of school and the days are filled up with play dates and park visits. Still keepin up at 80 wpm. Not super clean writing though. Gotta keep at it.
Below is the PDF from the NCRA. This is how we will grade our tests. In the yellow binder, from CRAH there is a copy as well. Pay attention to the box on page two, "these will not be counted as errors." Since we, CRAH students will be the ones to grade our own tests, we should probably know the rules inside and out. Remember, the NCRA will not see our notes. They only see our final transcript. This is also a good place to add that you have to hold yourself accountable. If you fudge the errors by two or three, just to "pass" you are really only hurting yourself. Court Reporting and Captioning at Home doesn't care if you pass this week or next. But you have to eventually write 1,125 words with only 56 errors. (225wpm for 5 minutes at 95%)
So my speed building days are finally upon me! I received 4 emails from support. I saved and printed everything. They sent a detailed schedule of what to practice and for how long to practice it. they sent our audio drill broken down into 15 second increments. More on that later. They sent all CRAH and NCRA's grading guidelines And lastly, a bunch of info on how speed building works. Testing, grading, practicing, failing a test, etc. Everyone's practice regime will be different. But i assume, that the general speed building criteria is all the same.