Everything you need to know to pass a typing test

data entry test

Maybe you’ve passed the first round of screening for an exciting new role that you’d love to have, but you’ve been asked to take a typing test. Perhaps you have started looking around for your next challenge, but have noticed that a typing test is either a requirement of a specific position or is simply a standard part of your future employer’s recruitment? Regardless of your situation, there is no need to panic. Typing proficiently is a skill anyone can learn to master with practice. Here, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know so you can pass that typing test, land your next role, and use your typing skills to excel in it!

What is a typing test?

A typing test is a practical test that measures your typing speed and accuracy while working with an actual passage of text. While tests vary, you’re typically given a set piece of writing and a set time to complete it within. Your test results look at three scores, the number of words you can type per minute, known as WPM or words-per-minute, the number of errors you have made in the text, and finally your adjusted words per minute, which takes into account any errors you have made while typing.

The different kinds of typing tests

While many companies state that their recruitment process includes a typing test, they often don’t mean the same thing to all organizations. This is why it is so important to clarify the kind of typing test you will take, so you can practice more effectively. If you’re not sure which typing test you will be asked to take, have a look at the job description to see which skills are used most often in the role or ask human resources to clarify this for you.

Normal text passage typing tests

A normal text passage typing test requires you to type a paragraph of text. You will be asked to type as much as you can in a space of one to two minutes. Other typing text passage tests ask you to type a full paragraph without a time limit. These tests typically contain a few numbers as well, or a few simple symbols such as quotation marks and question marks.

Transcript typing tests

A transcript typing test is a test of your ability to turn spoken words into an accurate written recording. Audio transcription typing tests most commonly use a rerecorded sample for you to listen to during your test. Lengths can vary depending on the demands of the employer; a test could run anywhere from one minute to ten minutes or more. If the role you have applied for requires you to spend a significant amount of time typing the words of others, then it is possible that the test could be quite lengthy.

Data entry typing tests

A data entry typing test requires you to fill in data fields with accuracy. This includes but is not limited to short pieces of numerical or text-based data, including addresses, names, company names, social security numbers, and telephone numbers. Client information is very important, so accuracy is critical. You will typically have a two to three-minute window to complete the test and you can typically complete as many as you can handle during the duration of the test.

Which occupations often require typing tests?

Typing tests are mandatory in jobs that have typing duties as a core function. This means that you spend most of your day typing at speed and the accuracy and speed of your work is critical. Jobs like this include any kind of secretarial work, assistant roles, transcription, data entry, closed captioning, subtitling, court reporting, emergency services operators, or any other positions that require you to type or input important information as a core function of the role. If your potential employer asks you to complete a typing test but typing forms only a small component of your day, then they are just looking to see whether you are a competent typist. The scores will still matter, but the job offer won’t hinge on whether you exceed a certain WPM or not.

What are some typical scores?

It depends on your employer’s requirements. Every industry has a different expectation when it comes to typing speed. If your future employer doesn’t specify the typing speed or the level of accuracy required, then make sure to contact the person who offered you the interview and ask. A standard guideline to follow is that a speed of around 60WPM is appropriate for an entry-level data clerk, while speeds of between 80WPM and 100WPM are suitable for real-time transcription. Anything above 100WPM is outstanding and could land you any role in which typing or transcription is a dominant task.

Where do typing tests take place?

Most typing tests take place in a physical on-site location, occurring before or after your actual interview. In some cases, typing tests can be taken online. The location of the test could be a positive or a negative, depending on how well you respond to stress. For those who like to perform under pressure, a typing test at the time of the interview will see them achieve a much higher score. For those who experience performance anxiety, they could return lower scores than they can achieve under normal conditions. Therefore, practice is so important! If you find the idea of a typing test nerve-wracking, then the time to start is now!

How to improve your typing speed

Typing is a skill like any other, which means in order to get better at it you need to not only practice daily but also practice with proper technique. Make it a habit to type using the correct form and challenge yourself on areas you find difficult. Make sure you can also touch type using the numerical pad on the right side of the keyboard. Be sure to check your actual keyboard itself. Many modern keyboards are missing this numerical section, but it is great when it comes to practice.

Consider getting an additional full-sized practice keyboard. You might find it challenging if you go from practicing on a condensed laptop keyboard to a larger sized desktop computer keyboard during a test. While the differences are minute, it does make a difference when you consider the details – the keys can require a greater depth of push; they will be a little farther apart than usual.

Dedicate yourself to mastery

Formal typing practice is the gold-standard method to improve your overall performance as well as your typing test WPM speed. Formal typing practice not only helps you improve your technique, but it also helps you improve specific letter combinations, common foreign words, such as names, and sentences containing digits.

While achieving a high WPM in a typing test is exceptional, what matters more is having the concrete skills to back up the score day in and day out. Regardless of whether you have a test coming up or not, it is always wise to work on your typing habit. Poor habits can cause hand pain, which will reduce your word per minute capacity in the future. Professional typing is a skill for life – why not consider mastering this skill right now?

Start by trying one or both of our free practice tests:

Typing Speed & Accuracy Test

Data Entry Test