You’ve just purchased one of the most impressive, unique, and useful practice books you will use in your Court Reporting career. Its design is to increase your speed and accuracy, utilizing repetition, briefs, theory briefs, phrases, squeezes, and multisyllabic words.
To get the most out of the book, follow the Instructions:
Mastering Machine Shorthand is designed to focus on repetition, retention, and reinforcement of briefs, phrases, and squeezes. Because there are many theories taught for machine shorthand, this book contains one or two brief suggestions to pick from for a particular word or word grouping. This allows you to choose whichever you like best (what “sticks in your mind”) or whichever is most compatible with your theory.
How to use the Pyramid Practice Form [ for Speed and Accuracy ]: The repetition provided by the Pyramid Form of the sentence will help reinforce the strokes, will help the briefs become cemented in your mind, and reduce hesitation—all leading to increased speed and accuracy. Start at the first line and write the word without error <ex: After>. Then move to the second line and write the words there, each word without error <ex: After pulling>. Then move to the third line and write the words there, again, each word without error <ex: After pulling the>. If you make an error—shadowing, misstroke, or any error—return to the very first line and start from the beginning. Repeat this process until you can write the entire page without error from beginning to end. Also write the last line, the full sentence, three times through without error to complete the page.
How to use the Pyramid Practice Form [ for Retention ]: The best way to increase your retention using this book is listen to the Mastering Shorthand audiotapes or CDs. As you listen, begin writing only after the dictations for that sentence has finished. Once completely dictated, then begin to write the sentence from memory and increase your retention as you practice this method. Alternate Retention Practice: Have your instructor read this book in Pyramid Form, but have the class begin writing only after dictation for that sentence or partial sentence has finished. Example: Wait until “After pulling the revolver” is dictated completely and only then begin to write the partial sentence. Follow this pattern until the entire sentence is dictated. Note: There are schools where the instructor will read this book in class in this retention style for you. If your instructors do not use this book, show them yours, let them read this paragraph, and give them the information on Page II to order a copy.
How to use the Progress Chart: When you have completed the page, using Pyramid Practice or Retention Practice, put a check mark or date in the top left box of the Progress Chart—this will allow you to track your practicing habits and have a visual display of completion. When you’ve finished the book once, return to page 1 and start once more, this time filling in a second box of the Progress Chart as you complete each page. Some pages you may want to come back to more frequently and others you may have already mastered.
Conflicts: Using all the briefs, phrases, and squeezes in this book will give your dictionary conflicts. However, the CAT systems of today are incredible at recognizing conflicts, sentence structure, word usage, etc., and choosing the correct word when the conflict arises. This allows you to still have a strong, clean realtime display even though you have conflicts in your dictionary. A reporter in Los Angeles consistently has a 98.5 to 99.3 percent translation rate on almost every job; yet, she does not have a realtime theory and does have conflicts in her writing. It is best to avoid conflicts whenever possible; yet, don’t let that get in the way of increasing your speed and accuracy, especially when the computer can help you tremendously.
Use brIefs wisely, don’t get hung up on them: Use the Phrase & Brief boxes as a reminder to write the word or words in one stroke whenever possible. However, if these briefs do not make sense to you as written out, or if they cause you more hesitation by trying to remember what to stroke, it is advisable that you not incorporate that particular brief, phrase, or squeeze into your writing, or come back to it at a later date. The briefs are suggestions. your writing may, and most likely will, change as you progress in speeds. If a brief doesn’t work for you now, it may make more sense at a later date or be easier to stroke once your dexterity has improved (get “Finger Drills Plus” - Book 6 in the Mastering Machine Shorthand Series)
Alternative Practice: If you think you’ve mastered the book, try practicing to the rhythm of a metronome or try listening to music and writing to the beats! One stroke per beat, include asterisks and corrections as a beat. This will increase accuracy, which will increase speed. It’s important you stroke once per beat, including misstrokes, errors, corrections, et cetera—no exceptions. Vary your music for faster or slower tempos.
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