Mixing it up with individual sentences

July 15, 2023

As we initially discussed in the blog post "Break it down," when you're properly revising a dictation you need to identify your sticking points, otherwise your efforts to improve your shorthand will be thwarted.

The good news is, there are typically only a handful of challenges in any given dictation.

It is, therefore, worth the time to figure out which parts are tripping you up and then make a conscious decision to work on them until you get it right.

So how might you employ this strategy?

There are currently ten mocks where we have broken the dictation down into individual sentences. Start by picking one.

Here are the links to the original blog posts.

Council’s attempt to reduce anti-social behaviour

Ring for the King

Secretary welcomes attendees

Screen Time

Eco-Friendly Glamping

Chamber of Commerce talks

Getting around the city centre

Cosy Coats

The Art of Conversation

Car Repairs

Let's say you chose "Car Repairs."

Although you could choose to take the dictation first (and identify any trouble spots after), you could also choose to begin by simply listening to a single sentence. This is a particularly good strategy if you wish to work at a speed that is slightly "above" the level where you currently are. An entire dictation at 120 might be too much right now, but a single sentence? Try it and you will likely surprise yourself with a little effort.

Carrying on with our example. You can find the individual sentences for "Car Repair" here on Soundcloud.

Before you begin, find the repeat function (see highlight below) and click until you see a "1". Then, once you hit play on a selected track, it will repeat that one sentence over and over again until you are ready to move to the next one.

With this type of revision work, you can systematically practise a challenging sentence numerous times within a very short span. Do not underestimate this, for it allows you to hone your skills in a meaningful way. Don't knock it until you have tried it. What at first seems difficult can become trivially easy once you have made the decision to stay with it.

If you are up for an even bigger challenge, you can employ this same strategy by shuffling ALL of the individual sentence mocks we have broken down.

1. Go to our Individual Sentences Playlist here: https://soundcloud.com/letsloveteelinetogether/sets/individual-sentences

2. At the bottom of your screen, you should see the following Controls Bar. Click the Shuffle icon as highlighted in the picture below.

Shuffle icon

3. Click play when you are ready to start dictation practice. This will run through the individual sentences and then randomly present you with another one from a different mock examination. Currently, there are 167 tracks assigned to the playlist.

This exercise is good for a few reasons.

  1. Oftentimes, you can find yourself "memorising" a particular passage when you've been running through the same dictation. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, you don't want to become too comfortable with what's coming next if your aim is to improve your dictation skill.
  2. By shuffling individual sentences from a wide variety of mock examinations, you will be forced to confront each sentence as it is presented to you (and at different speeds).
  3. This is a challenging exercise because the "context" of a dictation is effectively removed. After hearing one sentence from, say, Ring for a King, the next one could be a sentence from Cosy Coats.
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