on the cheap and sleazy side (www.cheapandsleazy.net)

Words by Ann Plainos Record, CSR, RMR, CRR, CMRS, CRI, TCRR, TMR, CCR; XHTML by G.D. Warner

How to Get Out of Court Reporting School

In Which Ann Plainos Record Offers Advice to Get You Out Of CR School Quickly


Meet Ann Record:

Ann Record Being Sworn in for her First Officialship

Ann Record Being Sworn in for her First Officialship

Recently (16MAR13), Ann Plainos Record posted this in the "Encouraging Court Reporting Students" Facebook group.

As I was, at the time, suffering from a lack of internet access at home, I loaded the page and all the comments for later "at home" reading ... and as I did so, it became obvious that Ann's article deserved more exposure, so I created this article (and I'll get around to asking for permission to publish it ... later!).

If you're reading this, she said yes! :o)

In this article, Ann mentioned some finger exercises.

Turns out those finger exercises are also on Cheap and Sleazy as "Da Dreaded Duo Digits Finger Drills" ... but you can read a (slightly modified) version of the original .pdf here.

As I (re)write this, Ann is busily working towards taking the Texas RMR exam, which means she will be writing 260 wpm Q&A dictation.

Most of the things she talks about doing in this article are what she is doing every day, in her efforts to pass that 260 WPM Q&A ... so, despite what one misguided school counselor once told her, she knows what she's doing ... and she shares that knowledge with you here.

Your mission is to follow her recommendations (less the 260 WPM dictation, of course -- unless you are also aiming at RMR speeds).

Good luck -- er, *skill* ...!




Most important.

Whatever you think or speak, whether good or bad, you give life to what you're saying. The key is to send your words out in the direction you want your life to go. You cannot talk defeat and expect to have victory. You can't talk lack and expect to have abundance. You will produce what you say. Do not use your words to describe the situation. Use your words to change the situation. Don't talk about the way you are. Talk about the way you want to be. (Joel Osteen)

Quit saying you're afraid of this or you're stuck at that or you're frustrated about where you are. Turn that thinking around and enjoy what you're doing. Push yourself harder. Some people will progress faster than others, especially if your full attention can't be just solely focused on your schooling. If you have other commitments instead of school, then it could take you longer to get through this than someone who doesn't have commitments. You will have more progress when you change your mindset and have fun with this instead of worrying and having fear. Fear is nothing more than False Evidence Appearing Real ... it's not even real! Quit doing it!


You must be consistent with your practice. Do it six days a week. If you skip days, you lose speed. If you only have five or ten minutes to get in a quick practice, do it.

Break up your practice sessions. Do two, three, four or however many you want to do sessions in a day. Focus intently for 20 to 30 minutes and then take a quick break. Then get back to it.

Practice Briefs and Finger Drills

From S. Sanford Heller's finger drills book: "These drills were developed not only for their RAPID effectiveness in overcoming finger difficulties, but also as warm-up exercises to maintain finger efficiency and flexibility at a peak for actual stenotype operation. By faithfully following the instructions, the stenotypist can improve finger technique and control so that it will be possible to accomplish more in an hour's practice with a perfected technique than can otherwise be attained in two hours with a mediocre technique."

"It is common knowledge that it is easier to control a strong muscle than a weak one. The author has observed stenotypists who, in an effort to overcome their individual weaknesses, have increased their speed from 20 to 40 words per minute in a week or two after continued application of these drills simply because the HESITATION resulting from difficult combinations was ELIMINATED by increasing their control."

I can attest to this. I have seen major speed and accuracy improvement in the little over two weeks since I've re-incorporated these into my practice routine.

Listening to High-Speed Dictation

Listening to high-speed dictation helps make your target speed sound slow. I listen to it while doing my finger drills and practicing my briefs.

Fluctuate Your Speed Building Days and Your Accuracy Days

When you're focused on speed building, do not set up your laptop and do realtime. You're pushing for speed, not accuracy. If you don't hit the right key(s), then picture in your mind what you should have hit and move on. Don't stress over it not being perfect. You're wanting to get your fingers used to moving faster. On your accuracy days, don't push too much for speed. Focus on writing everything as perfectly as you can ? even if that means slowing your speed way down and having to write the take over and over and over until you get it.

Surround Yourself With Like-Minded People

Stay away from negative people. And please do not listen to anyone who says you can't do this. My high school counselor told me I couldn't be a court reporter because I wasn't smart enough, didn't know English and grammar good enough, blah, blah, blah. I learned punctuating for court reporting and haven't looked back. I've been reporting for almost 21 and a half years. I just used his comments as fuel to my fire to motivate me to push myself and to do this. Really, I used anyone's negativity as fuel to my fire and push myself harder to get this.

The Zone

Learn to get in The Zone quickly and stay in it. Concentrate 100 percent. Focus. See yourself writing. Stay on the speaker. I tend to focus on something on the floor or the wall.

Lastly, love, enjoy and have fun on this journey! It's a very hard schooling and can be very difficult, but the rewards are so worth it. It's such an awesome career!

Oh, by the way, this is what I started doing on January 10 of this year, 2013, and I can say my little experiment is working. I am writing faster and more accurately since doing all of the above, especially the mindset and the finger drills.

So what I have typed above should be in addition to your schooling, if you?re going to school. You also need to be typing up as many tests as you can, whether they feel good or not. I would especially type up the ones that you didn't "feel it" when writing. Why? Because you will be surprised that many times you've done a lot better than what you think you have. Plus, you can also see what types of mistakes you're making and learn to correct them. It's just a great gauge of where you are in that particular speed.

Read back your steno notes. Reading back your steno notes is great for reinforcing your theory and when learning new briefs and phrases, if any.

Of course, I can't and shouldn't assume everyone is going full time to CR school. For those of you who are part timers and/or have other commitments, just do the best you can. That's all anyone can ask and that's what you deserve. If you're always giving your study/practicing time your 100 percent focus when you're doing them, then don't worry. Again, people will progress differently than others so don't beat yourself up or worry or get fearful because of that. Remember your mindset.