The book is a true “skinny minny.” I’ve seen thicker pamphlets. It comes in at 31 pages. It has a picture of Faye Crowsen, one of my best friends, on the front, and a picture of me as a child on the back. It took me two days to write because I know the subject by heart. Editing and proofing took a week. And I don’t expect many sales because students generally look for “secrets” rather than down-to-earth advice.
(How am I doing so far with that self-promotion?)
I do, however, think that it is a valuable tool for any student. I show you how to best use your present skills. I give examples in and out of stenography. I set up a framework for how to prepare for your tests, how to beat your test nerves, how to effectively practice your drills, how to stay under control, a little bit about analysis, and hopefully, a lot of humor.
Here are the chapters:
The Nature of the Beast: An explanation of why students fail for the most frustrating of reasons. I answer in simple language such questions as “Why do I do so much better at home? Why do I always goof up one minute on the test? Why do I get a bad start? and as many other topics as I could think of. The answers are simple.
Drill Like You Test; Test Like You Drill: A common sense explanation of why most of us are drilling the wrong way. Here’s a hint: If you pretend every drill is a test, you’ll do tons better on your tests. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ve heard all the reasons why you just gotta use your drills to learn briefs, to learn
endurance, to build speed, to — well, any of hundreds of reasons. All of those things are supposed to make you better so you will perform better on your tests, but none of them are really about how to master the art of testing. And testing is the one and only thing that will get you out of school.
Bad Advice; Bad Strategy: A compendium of the most commonly given bad advice such as “Use your drills to learn new outlines,” “Strive for perfect notes,” and my personal favorite “Write as fast as you can; your notes will clear up later.” Bull hockey. All bad advice. After I destroy the logic (or actually, the lack of logic) behind such advice, I offer good solid easy-to-follow advice that works.
The Meat and Potatoes: This chapter gives you step by step what to do in the days before the test, the day of the test, the hour before the test, 15 minutes, 5 minutes, 30 seconds before the test, when the test starts, during the test, and after the test. All good advice, and most of it you have probably heard before from your Momma, your coach, your typing instructor, your boss at McWendyKing, etc. It’s just good stuff about how to do things correctly.
Then I have two chapters on psychology as it affects your mind and your body, and I show you how to relax both. Again, good advice, but probably stuff that you have heard before. Those chapters are:
The Psychological Aspect in General: Really easy stuff like get your butt out of bed, wash your face, put on some clothes, and act like a winner. Isn’t that what Momma always says? Isn’t that what they tell the car salesmen to do? Isn’t that what you should do?
The Psychology of Test Nerves: This is an explanation of, surprise, why test nerves are your friend. As I say in the book, you don’t want them to go away. They warn you of danger. You just want them to sit down and stop shouting. I cover visualization, breathing exercises, how to relax your entire body, focused relaxation techniques for the neck/upper back where we all have those sharp pains and a few more topics.
Wrapping It All Up: Nuttin but a short page and half, but it does have this gem: “With all the advice I have put in this book, the steps that you take are up to you. What works best for you? Do it. It’s that simple.”
It’s an easy read. You can scan it in well under an hour. It’s not a novel. It’s a reference book. It’s a blueprint. It’s the answer to how to use your present skills a lot more effectively than you do.
If you want a novel, don’t buy my “skinny minny.” You can find plenty of very thick, very complicated and very expensive books on other sites. Some are hundreds of bucks.
This one is $12.99 on Amazon.
To paraphrase Mad Magazines’ famous saying, it’s suitable for “reading or wrapping fish.”
And finally, let me say that I am glad to be back “kicking steno butt.” I will be putting my audio drills on Amazon, compiling my past articles into books, writing entirely new books, and generally being a pain in the ah, ah, ah to the Old Guard who insist that stenography is hard.
‘Tain’t true. Steno is fun.
Momma told me so.
Click this link to go to the Amazon listing: Steno Test Strategy for Court Reporting Students.