What Steno Briefs Should you Learn Right Now?

As court-reporting students, you are faced with a constant flood of new outlines to learn.

Nobody knows all of them, and nobody can learn all of them right now.

And that begs the question, “What briefs should you learn right now?”

The answer is elegant and simple: learn the ones that give you the most trouble.  A word that shows up time after time after time is a better candidate to be briefed than one that appears sporadically.

Here’s an example:  Learning a brief for “record” is much more important than learning a brief for “reformation.”  “Record” is a very popularly used term.  Knowing “reformation” is nice, but it isn’t very popular and the stroke itself is probably a bit hard.  When you learn “record,” you are solving a problem that you face every day.  You can’t say that about “reformation.”

Am I saying that you should never learn a brief for “reformation”?  No, not at all.  You will probably learn it when you learn “reform,” but even “reform” is not as popular as “record.”  I would learn “reform” way down the steno avenue after I learned “record.”  As to “reformation,” I decided long ago that the brief was too hard.  I am much better off using two easy strokes, rather than one hard one.  If “reformation” was more popular, perhaps I would look for an easier brief.

What are the briefs that show up the most?  That’s fairly easy to figure out.  Review your dictations, and write down the problem words.  From that list, pick out a few of the really popular ones, and work on their outlines.

Review your drills.

Make a list of problem words.

Memorize the most popular words on your list.

I have much more detailed methods that we can talk about another day, but if you follow the simple plan that I just outlined, and you will have an effective method of memorizing briefs.

Barb DeWitt

Snake River (for the holidays), Washington

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