Are you interested in improving the speed and accuracy of your shorthand skills? Are you looking for a fun, rewarding, low cost way to sharpen your mind and increase your productivity? You have come to the right place. This blog provides answers to all of your questions about shorthand. I will provide you with the information you need to learn shorthand, improve your skills and make an easy transition into the exciting world of court reporting.
What is shorthand? Shorthand is the process of writing by hand (or typing or voice recording) a reduced symbolic representation of language sounds.
What does that mean? Shorthand is fast writing. It’s an alternative to longhand, which is what people have traditionally used for writing by hand. In shorthand, you can write much faster than in longhand.
Shorthand has been around since the 1400s, but it got a big boost when Samuel Taylor first published his system in 1786. Since then, it’s been used in many ways and different forms. The most common use has been in court reporting, though shorthand was also used to record lectures, speeches and sermons. There are many different forms of shorthand, including Pitman, Teeline and Gregg Shorthand.*
How do I learn shorthand? The best way to improve your shorthand skills is to practice!
Here are some tips for practicing:
Read aloud as much as possible! Reading aloud helps with your spelling and enunciation as well as your speed. And reading aloud will help you integrate your new knowledge into your everyday life and speech patterns. Practice all the time! Write everything down that you possibly can – even if it’s just grocery lists or the notes from
For shorthand classes, it is important students have the ability to follow along with their class. This means being able to write down the information on their own and not be dependent on the instructor for taking notes.
What are some ways you can practice your shorthand skills? The easiest way to get used to your new shorthand system is to type it up. One of the best tools for this is a blog. You can use a blog to post your notes from a lecture or meeting so that you can have them available for review at any time.
TIP: If you are typing up your notes, make sure that you are creating a draft first and that you proofread it as well before publishing it publicly.
Practice typing up your notes in your free time so that if something comes up at work or school, you are prepared and can take good quality notes in a short amount of time.
Many have asked. Yet, there is no quick fix, and any great results require time and hard work.
First and foremost, you have to have a good reason to do it. If your purpose is to be able to take notes in class and write faster, but you’re not willing to put in the time and effort required for that goal, then don’t bother.
That said, here are some things you can do:
1. Practice everyday for at least 10 minutes. Write as much as possible on your own. You can practice with other people, but don’t rely on them too heavily as they may not be as serious as you.
2. Use shorthand every chance you can get! This means carry a pad of paper with you everywhere, and use it often.
3. Learn the principles of Gregg Shorthand so that you know what’s going on when it comes to writing shorthand.
4. Make sure that whatever system you learn uses the principle of building words across lines (not writing out each word individually) which will save you mucho time when writing notes in class or copying down what someone says or types online (such as this blog).
5. Don’t expect fast results from just reading about shorthand
There are lots of books on shorthand out there. I’ve read several of them and found that they all pretty much said the same thing. Here’s a sample from one such book:
A common error is to confuse similar letters. It is important to realize that there is no similarity in the action of writing a stroke or letter. If a certain letter or stroke is difficult, then concentrate on that particular letter or stroke until you can write it correctly; do not attempt to write everything in a hurry…
This advice might well be true for learning longhand, but when we’re learning shorthand we don’t have time for this approach. We need to learn it all at once. In fact, we need to learn it more quickly than we probably learned longhand.
Now I’m not saying that you can’t improve your longhand by working on it slowly and carefully, but if you want to improve your shorthand speed, then you must learn it before you forget the longhand.
The first step is to determine the accuracy rate you want to attain. If you want to take down the words of an expert speaker, you will need to reach a 90% or better accuracy. If you are going to use shorthand for business dictation, 50-55% is probably sufficient. The higher your accuracy rate in taking down the speech of others, the more difficult it will be for you to reach your goal.
In order to reach one’s goal, one must know how far away from that goal one is at present. This can be done by using an ABC test. The test is conducted as follows:
You select a subject that speaks at a fairly rapid rate (ideally at least 100 wpm) and record him/her on audio tape in your usual shorthand style. After making your recording, play it back and transcribe it into longhand with a word-per-minute count for each minute of recording time. After you have made your transcription count the number of words contained in it and divide by 6,000 (which is 60 minutes x 100 words per minute). Multiplying this product by 100 will give you the percent accuracy of your transcription.
An example of an ABC Test:
You make a transcript of 10 minutes at