When do I Move Up / On?

A question for those who studied under a real teacher.

I’ve taken dictation for Chapter 2 at approx 47wpm three times now, and my error rate is still 6%.

(I add up the total words, subtract one word for each wrong or missed word and 1/2 a word for each bad outline.)

Should I:

a) Try taking the passage at a faster speed? If so, how much faster?

b) Consider it good enough and move on to Chapter 3?

c) Change my scoring method?



(by cricketbeautiful-1
for everyone)

9 comments Add yours
  1. I took Speedwriting under a shorthand teacher.  She had us write the lesson twice (once down one column, then copy our own shorthand down the other).  yes we had  key.  Then we would transcribe (type up) our shorthand copy.   Then we took dictation from prerecorded tapes for the course.  They had us take the material, one letter at a time (yes it was all business letters), once at once speed, say 40 wpm, then once at another speed, 50 wpm.  I'm trying to think if we took each letter more then once or went up a speed.  I can't remember, it was a long time ago and to avoid copywrite laws, she had the master copy and made copies for us from our own tapes and we just taped over them on the same tape (I saw someone who didn't, but I figured I wouldn't need them again).  We did every letter and I think there were like 5-6.   After that we moved up to the next lesson.   I know when we got closer to the end of the book, she would give us "live" dication and dictate to us.  She would push our speeds.   So now when I"m recording my own dication, I'll do one letter at my comfortable speed, go up 10 wpm, then if needed go back down to gain control.  Sometimes I do push myself.    I think you do need to push yourself.  With what you know.  And I've done that.  I've done the same letter say at 80, 90, 100, 110 and then back at 80.  And I would find 80 sooo easy.  I would know the letter an the shorthand so it made it so much more easier at 80.  But that's when I wanted to push myself and it was a very short letter.  Otherwise, I only go up 10-20 wpm to push for speed. Debbi

  2. Oh about errors, they will come no matter what.  I'm not sure what % I would consider bad.  I can't do math, so I don't know what mine is.  If you feel you're making too many errors in dication, go back to the lesson and review it again.  Maybe after you copy it down, reread it before dictation.  Or if you're only copying it once (you didn't mention if you wrote it before from the text), copy it twice, like the example I gave above.  That can help a lot. Debbi

  3. When I was in my first year, we would not necessarily work for speed until the theory had been completed.  During theory instruction, we would be given dictation at roughly around 50-60 WPM.    When you start speedbuilding in earnest, you should be able to maintain a given speed for at  least 3 minutes.  When you are pushing, you should work at a speed 10 words higher than you can comfortably write.  Debbi's dictation suggestion is spot on.  You should do repetitive dictation, i.e., the same take multiple times at increasing speed and then pulling back to regain control.  Part of the dictation should be much faster than you can take comfortably.  It will probably shatter your notes, but it is a good way to force speed.  Until you finish theory, you probably shouldn't attempt any sort of new matter dictation.  Until you finish, the dictation should be on material that you are somewhat familiar with.    As for error counting, 95% is considered acceptable.  So, the longer the take, the more errors you are allowed.  Missing words, misspellings, grammatical errors all count.  I don't think you need to deduct points because you flubbed an outline.  All you need to do is recognize that you wrote incorrectly, get the correct outline, and practice it several times.  Then take the dictation again.  So long as you get something down for every word, and you can read it well enough, you shouldn't penalize yourself for missing an outline.  As Dr. Gregg once told Louis Leslie, "you can read it, can't you?"    The only thing that anyone will look at that matters to them is the accurate transcript.  Whether you used an over-ith or an under-ith is not crucial.    Peter

  4. Thanks for the advice! I'll burn a CD at 10 and 20 words up (or my best guess at what will give me those speeds) and see what happens.

    Yes, I'm only having known material dictated. The Reading practice and then the Writing practice at the end of each chapter. That's 15-*0 minutes at my speed.

    Looks like I'm spending more time than necessary copying out every single one of the Fundamental Drills 2x, and should spend more time on pushing dictation and then moving on. Not a huge shift in the balance, but a bit.

    Yep, the % is based on the total words per lesson, as is the stated speed.



  5. Hey, Cricket —   Good plan.  Any dictation reinforcement you give on the lessons will never hurt.  Using the Fundamental Drills is very good material.  I read through the book a few times during my very short commute to work.  It is great reinforcement of the Manual's chapters.    Your accuracy will improve as you progress.  You'll find that as you progress and then go back a lesson or two, you will be very pleased at how easy the material will seem to you.  It's a great confidence booster.    Which Manual are you using?  The 1929 manual or the Functional Method?  I picked up a set of the Functional Method and I was impressed by the amount of reading and writing practice it gives.  I've been using those manuals for my theory review.    It sounds like you're doing really well.    Peter

  6. I worked through the 1929 Manual.  With all the demand on limited mad money, it would be hard to choose.  The dictionary is very handy.  The Functional Method books are a bit of a splurge since they come in two volumes, but the wealth of reading and writing materials is quite good.  I have found, however, that they tend to use briefs forms before they are introduced in the presentation.  This morning while reading on the train in, I noticed they used the brief form for "flowers" and it seemed to me that it hadn't been introduced yet in the manual.  I flipped ahead and it wasn't introduced until the next lesson.  That can cause a student a certain amount of angst.    The 1929 Manual is pretty good for the presentation of the theory.  Having the Fundamental Drills does provide good reading and writing material if you're not using the Funcational Method volumes.  In your case, it probably all comes out even in the end.    How far along are you?

  7. I'm speed-building chapter 2 (thanks for the advice on how hard to push this!). (I only speed build on the stuff in the manual.) Today I burned the CD for what I hope will be 50 and 60 wpm for this chapter.

    I've written out chapter 3 of FDrills, but used both columns, so I can't copy from my own material like I did for the earlier chapters. I may regret that. I haven't this chapter from dictation.

    I find self-study has two problems: knowing how much to do / expect at each chapter, and actually doing it without a deadline.

  8. Your progress should be governed by how much time you can devote to your study.  If you are able to, you could conceivably do a unit a session.  It probably wouldn't be a bad idea to spend a couple of days on the unit if you're doing the FDrills and doing dictation practice on it.    In school we had a 50 minute class period and would cover one lesson a day.  Our homework would be to review the presentation of the principle and then read and copy the connected matter in the lesson.  (This was using the Series 90 text book).  The 1929 Manual sometimes presents more material in a unit than the later text books.  At the end of each chapter, you could do yourself a favor and not move on right away and spend you next session reviewing the last couple of chapters.  You do need to let what you learn percolate down.  You can do yourself a disservice if you try to absorb too much too fast. 

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