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    Clickable dictation at various speeds is available at the bottom of this page. The transcript of the dictation appears here as well.

    Up until some time in the 1960s, shorthand tests were generally five minutes in length. After that, it was decided that three-minute tests were sufficient BUT, I can tell you, the person who can barely write three minutes at any given speed will probably fail writing that speed for five. It is up to you (or to your teacher) as to how long a shorthand test should be. On this site, I aim--and sometimes even succeed!--to get the 100 wpm speed to somewhere between three and fives minutes in length. However, that means that the slower speed takes are considerably longer and the faster ones, shorter. Unfortunately, in keeping true to the original text (of course omitting sections as I had to today to make the piece fit), the amount of dictation you receive will vary in accordance with the speed you are writing. Regardless, keep practicing until you can comfortably write (not scribble, but write) 20 words per minute faster than when you started. It goes without saying that the speed you start at should be one where you're pushed to write just a little bit faster than usual but not so fast that you can't read your notes. Remember, speed building is a balancing act!

Gregg Speed Building, Gregg Publishing Company, 1932, p 122-124

Reasons for a One-Price Policy
          Men and women at work in schools, libraries, and institutions of various sorts have been in the habit of receiving from publishers an educational or library discount.
          No one is, of course, naïve enough to suppose that this privilege is “given.”  Discounts are figured into the computations that determines the list price of a book.  If books are sold for less than they actually cost to manufacture and distribute, they will not continue to be published.
          The product our company, devoted exclusively to scientific and technical publications, is sold almost wholly to individuals who, by tradition, receive a discount.
          It follows, since nearly all sales might logically be made at the discounted price that the list price would have to be raised the full amount of the discount. . . .
          Certain unavoidable items enter into the list price of a book, apart from its cost of manufacture. . . . The list price of a book is fixed at a fair level when it accounts for all these costs.
          The only factors that should properly alter the list price, if it is fairly fixed in the first place, are factors that actually make it possible to manufacture and distribute more economically, and thus actually save some of the cost.
          A discount to the retail trade is thus reasonable and proper because the retailer assumes a part of the cost of distribution and usually buys in a larger quantity. . . .
          From time to time, the company has experimented with educational and similar discounts, partly because the practice was traditional and partly with the expectation that quantity orders would develop.  This expectation has not been realized and the result has been a disservice rather than a service to the buyer of technical and scientific books.—The Williams  & Wilkins Company

For more information on shorthand speed building, click here.

Instructions for Self-Dictation Practice:
    Copy and paste the above article into a word-processing document, using double or triple spacing and 12- or 14-pitch type.
    As always, be sure to check your shorthand dictionary for correct outlines before "drilling"!

Dictation Practice:
    Note that the material was counted and recorded for dictation at 100; all other speeds were copied from the 100 take and electronically adjusted and may therefore sound unusual.
    PLEASE ALLOW SUFFICIENT TIME FOR THE DICTATION TO LOAD depending upon your internet connection and the size of the dictation file. Slower dictation files are bigger.

60 wpm 80 wpm 100 wpm 120 wpm 140 wpm

The dictation material above is copyrighted, all rights reserved.


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Gregg Shorthand Pitman Shorthand Speedwriting Shorthand