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Taking and Passing a Typing Test
Before you begin your job hunt, it’s a good idea to take an inventory of your skills. Some employers want to make sure that their workers have strong keyboarding skills. If a job ad mentions typing, take note of it and be prepared to demonstrate your typing speed if you are called for an interview.
Calculating Typing Speed
Typing speed is measured according to two criteria: how many words you can type per minute and on your accuracy. Since words can be of different lengths, typing tests measure the number of word-units that you can type in one minute. A word unit is defined as five keystrokes, including spaces. This means that a five-letter word such as “begin” is considered one word, as is the phrase “I did.”
Computer-based typing tests also incorporate accuracy when providing a score and analysis. Employers set their own standards for scores and will often indicate requirements in job postings. If typing skills are required, you’ll often see phrases like “60 WPM,” which means the employers are seeking someone who can type at least 60 words per minute.
Workplace Typing Tests
If you’re a candidate for a job that requires typing skills, the employer may ask you to complete a typing test. It’s up to the employer which testing package you’ll have to use; for example, you may just be asked to complete a free online test or a test that’s part of a job skills software package.
Prove It! tutorials are available for some skills, including Microsoft Office suite. Taking a tutorial for Microsoft Word can be a good investment, particularly if an employer makes use of Word and expects employees to be able to use special formats and macros.
Improving Your Typing Speed
Practice is the most obvious way to improve your speed and accuracy. Get some typing time in every day. If you don’t need to type as part of your current job, find reasons to do so: Catch up on email correspondence, start a blog or begin a journal. Typing tutorials are available online and as software packages. These tutorials typically offer significant feedback on your typing, including words typed per minute as well as error statistics. Keep track of your numbers so that you can monitor your improvement.
Getting your eyes checked and learning exercises and body postures that reduce the risk of repetitive stress injuries can help you feel better while also improving typing speed. Neck and shoulder pain, as well as headaches, can slow your typing and cause errors as well as the need for more breaks. All of these symptoms can be the result of poor eyesight: If you can’t see well, you may unconsciously lean toward your screen to get a better look at it. They can also be the result of postural problems.
Even if you are confident in your typing skills, take an online typing assessment before going into an interview. Your assessment of your abilities may be inaccurate: For example, you may rely on spellcheck and grammar correction features more than you realize. In addition, if you don’t usually type numbers or special characters, you may not be as familiar with their position on the keyboard as you are standard letters. Keep in mind that you’ll probably be somewhat nervous during the test, so being well-prepared can help ensure a strong performance.
Even if you are confident in your typing skills, take an online typing assessment before going into an interview. Your assessment of your abilities may be inaccurate: For example, you may rely on spellcheck and grammar correction features more than you realize. In addition, if you don't usually type numbers or special characters, you may not be as familiar with their position on the keyboard as you are standard letters. keep in mind that you'll probably be somewhat nervous during the test, so being well-prepared can help ensure strong performance.
Lainie Petersen writes about business, real estate and personal finance, drawing on 25 years experience in publishing and education. Petersen's work appears in Money Crashers, Selling to the Masses, and in Walmart News Now, a blog for Walmart suppliers. She holds a master's degree in library science from Dominican University.