For these words, writing the terms out fully is not an option. The brief must be used. An example is “is.” Initial S is used in most theories, and IS is used for another outline. If you refuse to use initial S, then you must figure out the conflicts because you will certainly encounter them. After all, they are called mandatory for a reason.
For some mandatory outlines, there may be options readily available. Suppose you have trouble with FR for “from” and F-R for “for.” If you try to change your “for” outline, you will run into plenty of conflicts with sound-alikes, prefixes, and suffixes. But if you modify your “from” outline, you will problably be okay with FR-M or FROM.
Two other words that give a lot of trouble are “these” and “those.” The words and the outlines are very similar. Any sloppiness in the vowels can render the true outline impossible to discern. At that point, all you can do is guess. However, if you remove the vowels from one of the strokes, you can easily read both words even when the strokes are sloppy. If the stroke has any vowels at all, it must be the outline with the vowels. If it has no vowels, then it must be the outline without the vowels.
It is always better to stick as close as possible to your theory. Change whatever you must, but be very careful. Conflicts cannot be tolerated in your steno notes. In real-life court reporting, our job is to translate 100% of all dictations.