How to Practice for a Typing Test

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Table Of Contents

If you’re applying for a data entry, transcription, or office job, you may have to take a typing test. A typing test is an easy way for potential employers to quickly evaluate your typing ability. If this makes you nervous, you’re not alone. Some people type often, but don’t know their typing speed. Others rarely use a keyboard and prefer to send messages from their phones.

The good news is that you can practice typing to prepare for a typing test. By practicing every day, you can increase your speed and accuracy. Regular practice will help you score better on a typing test, and improve your chances of landing the job.

The easiest way to practice with real life tests and feedback, is to sign up for Job Test Prep Typing Test. This is hands down the best bang for your buck, but if you’re not into shelling out money, this guide will cover everything you need to know to practice on your own.

Which Jobs Use Typing Tests And What Are The Required Scores?

Many different types of jobs require typing tests, but the WPM requirement varies depending on the type of position.

PositionWPM Requirement
Clerical and administrative jobs35-40 WPM
Federal Civil Service jobs40 WPM
Typists and legal secretaries50-50 WPM
Transcriptionists and data entry specialists50-50 WPM
A 911 operator80-85 WPM
Stenographers200 WPM

How To Practice For A Typing Test

Understand The Typing Test Format

Before you start practicing, understand what kind of test you’ll be taking. Will the employer be evaluating words per minute (WPM) or characters per minute (CPM)? Does the job consist primarily of typing text? If so, you can probably expect to type mostly words. Is it a data entry job? You’ll have to prove that you can type numbers quickly and accurately.

Most typing tests look at your accuracy in addition to your speed. Any incorrect character will count against you. Many companies will share the accuracy and speed they’re looking for on the typing test. Typing speed requirements might vary depending on the type of job.

Take A Practice Test To Get A Baseline

Once you understand the type of test you’ll be taking, try a practice test online. You can find short one-minute typing practice tests that will measure your CPM, WPM and accuracy. Don’t sweat these numbers too much. They’re just a starting point! Write your test results down in a notebook or put them into a spreadsheet. You’ll be tracking your results over time to see how you’ve improved, and to know when you’re ready to take the test for real.

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Learn To Touch Type If You Don’t Already Know How

Some jobs have a high WPM requirement that you won’t be able to achieve if you don’t know how to touch type. If you have to hunt and peck to find the right key, it’s time to take a touch typing course. You won’t be able to achieve the speed required for most typing jobs without the ability to touch type. Just search for touch type courses online to find free training.

When you’re first getting started, take it slow. You’ll be learning different finger placement on the keyboard so you may actually be slower at first. As you practice, you’ll get used to touch typing and it will become more natural.

Check Your Equipment

Your equipment can have a big impact on your typing speed. Make sure that you’re using a high quality keyboard with working keys. A sticky key that you have to hit multiple times for one character will really slow you down. Try different keyboards to see what works best for you. Full-sized keyboards will generally be easier to use than laptop keyboards. You can also try an ergonomic keyboard, which puts your fingers in a different position that might be faster.

When you’re preparing for a typing test, make sure that you’re sitting at a table or desk at the proper height. You should be able to sit comfortably, with good posture and your feet on the floor. You should be looking straight ahead at the computer monitor if possible, not hunched over a small laptop. Your arms should be in a comfortable position.

Practice In The Same Position As You Will Take The Test

Once you’ve found an office and equipment setup that works for you, make sure to practice with that equipment. It doesn’t make sense to practice on a laptop if you’ll be using a keyboard and monitor for the test. Don’t practice on the couch if you’ll sit at a desk for the test. By practicing in the same way you’ll take the test, your practice will be more effective.

If you’ll be taking the test in an office setting, try to get some information in advance. What sort of keyboard will you have? Will you be in a quiet area? What is the seating like? Asking a few strategic questions can both help you prepare and show the employer you’re serious about the test.

Take Targeted Practice

Once you’ve taken a few practice tests, you may start to notice a pattern. Again, Job Test Prep does a great job with [practice tests][0] and feedback. Do you stumble over commonly misspelled words or punctuation? Search for typing practice that helps with your specific problem. You can work on those areas so they’ll improve by the time you take the typing test.

If you know what will be on the typing test, make sure to practice that as well. If you’ll be typing a document or sentences, take similar practice test. Take practice tests that ask you to type random words if that’s what the employer’s test will be like. You may not be able to get this information, but use it if they do tell you.

Track Your Progress

Take a practice test every day to see how you do. Write down your scores or track them in a spreadsheet. Do you notice any patterns in your results? Experiment with different approaches. Take a few tests in a row to see if you consistently score better on earlier tests or later tests. Maybe you need to warm up, or your fingers get tired as you take multiple tests. All of this data will be valuable when you’re preparing for a typing test.

On The Day Of The Test

Cold hands can definitely slow typing speed. If you’re practicing for a typing test in the winter months, spend some time warming up your hands before you practice typing. If you’ll be taking the test at an office location, put some hand warmers in your pockets when you go to take the test.

If you need glasses or contacts to see the screen well, make sure to practice with those. Wear your glasses or contacts on the day of the test. Make sure to bring eye drops if your eyes get dry. Dry eyes can affect your vision slightly, and you don’t want to waste precious seconds trying to read the screen.

When you’re taking the test, take it slow and pace yourself. Don’t try to rush because you’ll end up making mistakes. Errors will hurt your score. Instead, go as fast as you can accurately. Maintain a comfortable sitting position so you’ll be able to comfortably type for the duration of the test.

Get Strategic When You’re Practicing For A Typing Test

You know exactly what’s expected when you take a typing test, which means that you can easily prepare for it. First, research the typing test you’ll be taking. What will the employer be evaluating, and what is the test format? This information will help you prepare effectively.

Get strategic about your equipment to maximize your comfort at the keyboard. Take advantage of online training to pinpoint problem areas. You can learn to touch type or just refine your skills. Practice tests are also a great way to level set on your skills, track progress as you practice, and know when you’re ready to take the real typing test.