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How to Test Your Clerical Speed

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Find an excerpt from a piece of academic writing, such as a book, email or report. You can use a collegiate-level book from home or search a college website for academic papers.

Display a copy of your selected excerpt close to your computer, either fixed to the wall next to your screen or lying near your keyboard.

Open your word processing program to a blank document.

Set your timer for five minutes.

Start your timer and begin typing the words into your computer exactly as they appear on the written page. Avoid looking at your hands as you type; many clerical tests will require a cover to be secured over your hands to keep you from peeking.

Type continuously for five minutes. Employers are just as concerned with accuracy as they are with speed, so correct your errors as you type them.

Stop typing when your timer goes off.

Determine how many words you typed by using your word processor or counting them manually.

Divide the total word count by five to find your clerical speed in WPM.

  • If you find yourself regularly looking at the keyboard while doing your clerical test, try draping a handkerchief over your hands or cutting a shoebox to fit over your hands and keyboard. If you have trouble typing without being able to see the keyboard, you may want to do some extra practice typing while looking at the screen. This will increase your accuracy and eventually your overall clerical speed.

Low began writing professionally in 2005. She writes primarily about parenting, personal finance, health, beauty and fashion. Low holds a Bachelor of Arts in writing.

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