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Improving Handwriting Speed, For High School Students


NinjaWriter

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Hello!

 

I am a student in year 10. My senior years are coming up, and I have had a huge problem with my handwriting speed. So basically, I was researching around for handwriting speed tips or how to write faster or ANYTHING that could help me improve at all and I found that people like Nonsensical can write 'the quick brown fox jumped swiftly over the lazy dog' in 10 - 12 seconds, with very neat and legible writing .

 

 

All I can write at the moment is at max 24 - 27 words per minute under exam conditions. But to be honest, its not good enough at all. My handwriting is legible, and I've been holding the pen correctly since primary school but I simply cannot write fast enough to finish my exam papers or take down notes in class. We don't use fountain pens in school, only ballpoint pens and that is what I want to stick to at the moment, but I wanted to hit 40 -50 words. When I try to write as fast as I can for 1 minute periods, I can hit 30 words but then my wrist gets all cramped up when I try to maintain it. I think my writing motion may be incorrect as well. Does anyone have any tips, handwriting suggestions or links to other places where I can improve? I'm not really interested in adapting any shorthand techniques or dropping the 'e' while writing because I need to be able to write in English exams with my writing and I can't be accidentally leaving out an 'e' here and there or writing in a language that my teachers cannot understand. I do have till the end of the year to try practice and improve before it will start heavily impacting my grades.

 

And one more thing, I don't mind writing in cursive or print, I'm happy to learn any as long as they will be effective and fast in exams

 

Please help!

Thank you :)

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Hate to disappoint you but it is very unusual to write legibly that fast. On the other hand, it is very possible to take organized notes or answer exam questions at 20 to 30 wpm if you have a plan and work out what you want to say before starting to write.

 

One of my essay and analysis courses had four-question quizzes every Friday. The questions would be on the board at the start of class. I never failed to earn top marks on the quiz. Because I outlined the high points of each question before I started writing.

 

Best of luck,

Yours,
Randal

From a person's actions, we may infer attitudes, beliefs, --- and values. We do not know these characteristics outright. The human dichotomies of trust and distrust, honor and duplicity, love and hate --- all depend on internal states we cannot directly experience. Isn't this what adds zest to our life?

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For note taking, learn notehand or shorthand, and how to take notes.

 

For exams, you need to learn how to answer briefly and to the point.

If you do not have to answer in sentences, answer in outline form, with phrases. This is much faster and to the point.

 

Example1, I used to be a grader in college. I looked through the written response for the words that showed me the student had the answer. All the other stuff was 'fluff' that was written, I generally ignored. So don't waste time writing words to just fill up the paper, it won't impress the graders.

 

Example2, when I took the CPA exam, the US equivalent of your Chartered Accountant. I wrote my written exam in block print with a pencil, and writing in block print is NOT fast. But, as Randal said, legibility is the number 1 goal. Because going back to when I was a grader, if I could not read the answer, the student got a 0 on that question. And I was not about to lose points due to my handwriting. I found that when I knew the material, I could answer the question adequately within the allocated time. And whenever possible, I answered in outline/phrase form.

 

Finally, I suggest taking your exam results to your teachers and discus with them how you could improve your exam taking. You may be writing too much.

San Francisco Pen Show - August 28-30, 2020 - Redwood City, California

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Thank you for the replies!

 

As far as being prepared, I used to get 90% or above in all my exams and pretty much always 95% and above for assignments. I'm always prepared for my exams. But its simply that my hand can't keep up with my answers I have prepared. And as far as writing to much goes, I only write about 750 words in 40 minutes for an essay whereas the word count should be at 1000 words. I have all my content prepared, but its physically writing faster which is getting me.

 

If anyone has had experience with simply being a slow writer and could overcome this issue, please help! And all other tips are greatly appreciated,

 

Thanks again

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Very good points ac12. I've been writing 12-15 WPM (due to dysgraphy), and I've made it all the way to engineering degree.

 

For note taking, learn notehand or shorthand, and how to take notes.

 

Two more things:

Being prepared helps.

  • If you can, printout slides before lecture, and make notes over them.
  • If you have a text book, do a quick read before lecture. There is no point in detailed notes, if the topic is throughly covered in book..

Note taking, is more than writing up everything that was said. Mind maps and bullet points were my friend through high school and university.

Above high-school, one can take notes on portable computer, then touchtyping becomes essential.

 

 

If anyone has had experience with simply being a slow writer and could overcome this issue, please help! And all other tips are greatly appreciated,

 

If your handwriting speed is significantly below average, up to the point of impairing your grades, try to get professional help.

 

My dysgraphy/dysortography was diagnosed in primary school. My essays were not "down-graded" for spelling errors. The person that graded my high-school entry exam was informed, that essay length requirements were not to be enforced (they were to grade argumentation, and composition).

 

My wife is a teacher in a school where about half of students have "special educational needs" (think: autism, physical disabilities, concentration problems...) Some students gets longer time allotment for exams, some are allowed to type their essays (on non-networked, school provided computer).

Edited by ksm
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Hello,

 

Thank you for your feedback on my problem. But yeah my handwriting isn't that bad, I have very legible writing, but it's just too slow for me to be able to finish exams. I would say that my speed is average, but I would like to improve my speed so I can write more during an exam.

 

Thank you!

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I would try drills, say a Palmer book, or something similar. My old typewriter classes were 1) learn, 2) practice, and 3) drill, drill, drill. Those classes were taken from the proved curriculum for Business Writing. And, while not necessarily better, the Palmer method is pretty good and has been around for some time. Think IAMPETH has an online book or two.

 

Best of luck,

Yours,
Randal

From a person's actions, we may infer attitudes, beliefs, --- and values. We do not know these characteristics outright. The human dichotomies of trust and distrust, honor and duplicity, love and hate --- all depend on internal states we cannot directly experience. Isn't this what adds zest to our life?

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How many words can you type in a minute, on average?

 

Have you tried a pencil? If your hand cramps as you say, your grip is likely too tight. Practice writing in a fluid manner. Do you join your letters, or print them separately?

 

Using shortcuts in note taking is standard practice; it does not automatically lead to accidentally using those shortcuts when writing formally. Write notes in phrases, and abbreviate words. Think about the shortcuts used in text messages, too. At one time, many abbreviations were used in telegrams, so try pretending you are paying by the word!

 

How fast do some of your classmates write? Find out, or you have no basis for realistic comparisons. I am not sure you are actually writing particularly slowly.

 

Also, I suspect you may write too much. Think out and carefully plan your answers so you use fewer words. Try for greater brevity.

 

Good luck!

Brian

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P.S.

I am puzzled. If your speed is average, yet you cannot finish exams, how do other students with average speed finish exams?

 

You say you want to write more. But that will only make your problem worse, as you are unlikely to speed your writing up and retain legibility. People who teach handwriting make that point, that speed and legibility are inversely related.

 

Again, I'd suggest brevity. I have some experience in this - both as a student, and as a college professor for nearly 35 years. Have seen a lot of student writing!

Brian

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Hello! Thank you for the detailed advice,

 

My friends have a wpm of 30-40 under exam conditions. They can write fairly legibly till 35, and a couple legibly till 45. My wpm 20-27 under exam conditions.

 

Taking notes as abbreviations during class and rewriting and revising them at home does sound like a good way to study, but with assignment workloads and yearly exams coming up, I don't think it's gonna be something I can do at the moment. Especially since writing notes in class and keeping up isn't impossible, we have power point presentations that we copy down and classmates are able to keep up writing while I fall behind constantly.

 

I do lack brevity and time allocation to questions in exams, but I've had this problem since primary school, being slow at writing.

 

I'm not sure how to be more concise with my answers or what the most important parts are, and perhaps, from the worry that I haven't written enough to get the marks for the question, I end up writing too much.

 

I think that its a combination of both, when we write out notes from the board, I would still have a third of the notes left to write and my friends would be done. So I'm lacking handwriting speed and time management during exams.

 

Would it be worth learning a business handwriting that has 'arm movement'? Are those something that would be effective for school? I only use ballpoint pens, so I'm not sure

 

And for exam timing in general, we need to write an essay of 1000 words around in 40 mins. Till now I've been memorizing them but I haven't been able to complete them and end up writing 700 - 750 words in 40 mins. And it might sound like a lack of preparation but honestly I've got it all remembered and ready to write down, but even in those situations I can't write fast enough.

 

I will also be writing essays on the spot from next year onward, so I do need to improve my efficiency for writing overall asap.

 

Thank you!

Edited by NinjaWriter
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Let me weigh your replies.

 

On one point, everyone benefits from transfering some of the work if handwriting to their forearm, upper arm, and even shoulder muscles. The hands becomes more and more a tool for simply gently holding the pen, rather than letting the fingers do too much of the work.

 

It takes practice. At first, you'll likely need to write larger, as it takes time to train other muscles in fine motor movements. But the payoff is huge: you can write longer without fatigue or pain. Also, consider bearing in mind that everyone's legibility drops as speed increases. Handwriting improvement books often contrast writing at speed with normal writing. It is a given.

 

Students who come to me with similar issues usually improve in several ways. One, does your school offer any academic support for tutoring or study skills? Note taking and exam writing are two areas you could work on. Both are skills.

 

Two, use abbreviation in class notes, but don't re-write notes later. Keep a list of abbreviations as you get used to them. The only time I recommend re-writing notes is before an exam, to make condensed study sheets.

 

Ballpoint pens demand more from us in writing. You might search online (try the Pen Addict blog) to discover which pens are markedly better. They are not necessarily more expensive! Size (diameter and length), grip, ink flow, etc. all affect your writing in many ways. Your choice if pens can slow you diwn and tire your hand.

 

Finally, talk to a teacher or two about these issues. They -we- see all of this from the other side, and also have spent our previous years as obviously successful students.

 

My ultimate conclusion is that there are likely several issues at work here, and that you need to keep a very open mind about what might be slowing you down. I am less concerned about wpm than developing the ability to write more efficient and shorter answers on exams. Also,keep an open mind about how you can improve your situation. This is where a tutor or teacher can help. My sense is that you firmly have set your mind on the idea that writing more wpm is going to solve whatever issues are bothering you and making you apprehensive about the coming years.

 

For the most part, as students advance in later years, they do not write faster. Instead they write just legibly enough (I know this is true!), and give better planned, organized and often shorter answers. Too often, less skillfully written tests and papers reflect the "brain dump" method of letting everything spill out on tbe page, including a lot that is not germane, in the hope you'll thus hit all the important points. I recognize it because I have done it mysrlf!

 

Please don't take any of this as personal criticism, and I hope I don't sound harsh. Each student has to grow and develop and refine skills as he or she progresses through school. I firmly suspect your issue involves more than simply a matter of wpm. You might gain a few wpm by using methods taught in books on how to improve your handwriting (Rosemary Sassoons has a good one), which will teach you to join a few letters in writing rather than linking all of them. Such a book can also guide you toward what are realistic speeds. But truthfully, look further as well, into how you prepare for, and organize yourself to write.

 

The answer will undoubtedly be a combination of things. Good luck, and perseverve! Congratulations on being wise enough to address this now.

 

Best wishes for success.

Brian

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Switch to a roller ball or gel pen that will write with much less pressure than a ball pen. This will eliminate the need to press down hard on the pen, see the next item.

 

If you are pressing down on the pen HARD, stop that and lighten up. The tensing of the hand and arm, from this alone will slow you down.

 

Posture is important, if your hand and arm cannot move, you can't write well/fast.

 

As Brian said, you do not have to write 'beautifully' but you do need to write legibly. So if you are writing slowly simply to make your handwriting nice, you do not need to do that. The key here is to know when your handwriting ceases to be legible, and keep well below that speed so that it is reasonably legible to the grader/teacher without them struggling to read it.

 

Also as Brian said, talk with your teachers and school counselor. It may be that you do need extra training on writing. Many students have undiagnosed issues that get in the way of their learning. Example, I did not know until 7th grade that I needed glasses. I thought it was normal to have fuzzy vision. And like most students, I wanted to sit in the BACK row of the class, which just made the problem worse.

 

BTW, a rough way that I planned/budgeted my time for exams was this:

  • 50 minutes to take the exam.
  • 10 questions
  • 50 minutes / 10 questions = 5 minutes per question
  • Then I would chose and mark milestone times on the exam or separate paper, so I could quickly see how I was doing against my plan, and if I was falling behind. You can choose any convenient increment of time as your milestone.
    • 10:00 exam starts
    • 10:15, 3rd question finished
    • 10:30, 6th question finished
    • 10:45, 9th question finished
    • 10:50, 10th question and exam finished
  • The thing is you need to answer ALL the questions, Answering the first questions very well and not answering the last few questions, because you ran out of time, is NOT the way to take an exam. You will loose too many points by skipping questions.
Edited by ac12

San Francisco Pen Show - August 28-30, 2020 - Redwood City, California

www.SFPenShow.com

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Sorry, I cannot advise about examination writing. It would be interesting to see a sample of your handwriting. Is it artistic and flamboyant ? In non-writing skills and techniques, that I have taught, simplicity of technique, minimal movement and distance moved, and muscle memory equal SPEED. Succeeding on the first attempt is always faster than two attempts.

 

For personal notes and class notes, I suggest shorthand. You don't have to learn all of it, but every short form that replaces a frequently-used word will save time and energy. In taking notes, concentrate on writing notes, rather than following lines and conserving paper. Re-copying the day's "chicken scratch" is a good way to review and study the information.

Edited by Sasha Royale

Auf freiem Grund mit freiem Volke stehn.
Zum Augenblicke dürft ich sagen:
Verweile doch, du bist so schön !

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Allow me to emphasize two points that others have made: 1) Work on increasing your efficiency rather than output. The difference between 27 and 35 wpm -- that's 8 wpm -- pales when the 8 are wasteful or redundant. You might start by minimizing use of adjectives. 2) Test a variety of pens and select the one with the best flow and balance. A carefully selected $3.00 ballpoint allows me to glide as quickly across a page as my finest fountain pen.

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Ac12, great advice in general, but especially on timing, and so clearly stated!

 

Yeah, it's called the school of HARD KNOCKS for a reason.

It's amazing the stuff that they do NOT teach you in school and that you have to figure out yourself, like how to take an exam.

San Francisco Pen Show - August 28-30, 2020 - Redwood City, California

www.SFPenShow.com

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BTW, a rough way that I planned/budgeted my time for exams was this:

  • 50 minutes to take the exam.
  • 10 questions
  • 50 minutes / 10 questions = 5 minutes per question

 

Although the OP sought help about increasing the speed of his writing for taking notes and writing exams, I join with several others who believe that his difficulty lies more with organization and tactics than writing mechanics. So the relevant question for taking an exam is, how should he parse those 5 minutes? It takes time to read the question carefully, structure a deductive answer, and review what's been written. If he devotes more than 3 minutes to composing the text, the other tasks have been neglected.

 

Note-taking is primarily a conceptual task. Notes are aids for studying and predictions of what is likely to be on the test. Rather than reiterating, notes reflect how the instructor thinks and presents material. If the instructor lectures by stream of consciousness or is disorganized, notes create a meaningful structure. I learned to take notes on blank paper in order to create diagrams and write formulas, and give meaning to the size and placement of text. I used spacing and brackets to separate the instructor's remarks from my own questions and notes, identified key concepts by circling or underlining, used arrows to indicate the flow of an inductive argument, and abbreviated whenever possible. How do you calculate diagrams per minute?

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Ac12,

Thanks for reminding me that I need to go back to teaching notetaking and test-taking skills in my college classes this year.

 

It is the old adage of giving a person a vegetable or a fish, versus teaching that person to farm or to fish. Faculty are expert students (to have survived) and need to communicate these skills.

 

Thanks again.

 

Brian

Brian

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Hello!

 

Sorry I could not respond to your comments these past days.

 

I had a comprehension test for English today, and I tried to use brevity in my answers. Turns out I managed to complete all the questions in time. But the problem is that I feel like I haven't written enough to gain the marks for each question. It would be nice if along with brevity, I could learn how to physically write faster so I can have 5 mins at the end to review my answers and be confident that I have completed the criteria for all questions.

 

So through being concise, I have improved my time management significantly. When I did a similar practice test, I had missed 6/20 marks at the end for the extended response, but I received full marks for the questions I attempted. However, is there any way that I can still improve my handwriting speed?

 

I realise that many of you are trying very hard to convince me that being clear and concise is the solution to my problem, but if writing quickly and legibly is a skill that is acquirable, I wish to learn so. Exam technique is partially my problem and I have started visiting a tutor to further my understanding about the school syllabus, although the other part of my problem which is learning how to write around 40 wpm longhand is what I would like advice about. I understand that this will not actually improve my grades, but it is something I wish to learn.

 

My cousin is currently studying in India. He has beautiful handwriting and he uses a 5 rupee ballpoint pen (0.103 Australian Dollars) for everyday writing and exams. When I visited him and his brother last year, we were having writing speed challenges while they tried to teach me how to improve my handwriting. My younger cousin, 14 years old. hit 45 words per minute after around 15 tries, he was using different texts each time so he hadn't memorized the text by then. My elder cousin, who is in Australian equivalent of 1st year uni, got 50 wpm on his second try picking up the pen for his first time in the day. And that's the thing, he could maintain a very legible handwriting at that speed. He is a left handed underwriter, and uses a quadropod grip. ( 3 fingers and ring as support)

 

So although it may be rare, there is still such skills present. I wish I could learn off him but we live far away and communication is difficult. Also he is not very good at explaining how he could write at such speed.

 

Does anyone else have such writing capabilities? I know many other of his classmates can write at his speed or more with practice.

 

If anyone has an tips about exam technique or handwriting speed like he can produce, it is greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks,

 

Jay

Edited by NinjaWriter
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And also, another point that might be worth knowing, I have a habit of constantly changing my pen grip when I write. I have no explanation for it, but it always feels uncomfortable when I keep the same posture for too long. So I'll start of underwriting with the tripod grip, then I'll change to overwriting and my thumb on my index finger, and then the quadropod grip, then back.

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