Words per Minute test to improve Your Skill
I’m writing this at about 80 words per minute. If I am clear about what I want to write, that is my average pace, but if they put me in front of a keyboard speed test, I can approach 100 words per minute, sometimes a little more.
That typing speed on the keyboard is not wrong, but some people do it much better. The curious thing is that typing fast in front of a keyboard is something for which there is no well-defined “world record,” although those who have studied the subject indicate that this academic record is 216 words per minute. And you, how do you write on the keyboard?
From the typewriter to the electric typewriter
Typewriters did not become popular until the end of the century. XIX, and at that time, people did not even worry much about writing more or less quickly: being able to do it in a device like that already amazed those who started using those first models enough.
Fast handwriting was undoubtedly crucial for specific jobs, but typing would soon change the world, especially in professional settings. In 1906, the first “formal” keyboard speed championship was held, and the winner was Rose Fritz, who managed to type at 82 words per minute.
That first victory was followed by George Hossfeld, who won that competition ten times, or Albert Tangora, who won it seven times. In 1923 this skilled typist maintained a speed of 147 words per minute for a full hour. He did it on an Underwood Standard, and after resting for a few minutes, he hit 159 words per minute in a one-minute sprint. That record for sustained writing has never been broken. Not at least if we only take into account traditional typewriters.
Sometime later, the electric ones were added to these models, and it was with one of them that what many consider to be the authentic world record for keyboard speed was established. It was achieved by Stella Pajunas-Garnand, who managed to reach 216 words per minute in a one-minute test in 1946. To do this, she used an electrical machine from IBM, a company that a few decades later would manufacture one of the most popular and beloved computer keyboards in the world. The whole story.
Keyboard speed in modern times
The massive presence of the computer turned the keyboard into one of the critical elements of the workplace and even of study: nowadays, it is rare to write by hand, and most of us use a physical keyboard (on the PC or laptop) or a virtual one (smartphones and tablets) to write texts.
That has made typing increasingly relevant, and countries like Finland have been promoting the teaching of typing to young children. Instead of teaching them to write by hand. That case seems somewhat extreme, but in the United States, 43 of its states no longer require the teaching of handwriting in public schools.
For most users, typing is learned on the fly and self-taught. It means that the speed and accuracy vary greatly, and in fact, the academic world records do not exist as such because there is no standard test that allows all these measurements to be unified.
What has appeared are unofficial records, often launched by websites related to typing courses or the field of computer keyboards. For example, in the web typing zone, there are different tests and a ranking that crowns the fastest.
Currently, that ranking is led by Sean Wrona, an American who achieved 181.06 words per minute. Still, since this website defines those words as six characters extended, and on many other sites, they set the average size at five letters per word, the ” normalized” speed would be 217, 272 words per minute. This user indicates that in other tests like 10fastfingers, he gets 220 words per minute, although this test is unique because you write random words without punctuation, numbers, or capital letters.
Are those tests valid?
The truth is that they are, of course, a good reference, but here we find the problem that the variables are many. The Guinness Book considers the type of keyboard influences, and in fact, Barbara Blackburn is the one who has held the record since 2005, achieving a peak of 212 words per minute and maintaining 150 words per minute for 50 minutes. Interestingly, she used a Dvorak layout keyboard to achieve that speed.
There are many other tests, such as TypeRacer (here, Wrona reaches 237 words per minute, 257 peaks), Intersteno, or Hi-games. Still, again we find different types of tests in which, as we say, the type of keyboard influences, the type of texts to be written, and, of course, the language in which they are written. All those records we’re talking about are in English and probably specific languages; please, that speed. Spanish, with its accents, can, of course, complicate things a bit.
Automatic correctors and the voice as an alternative
In Xataka, we have been curious about this type of test, and we have precisely got down to work to find out how we did it. Considering that we write a lot throughout the year, keyboard speed can be essential for our work.
The results are diverse, but as you can see, the average speed is around 85-90 words per minute—nothing to do with typing professionals. Here to clarify that none of us who have participated have studied typing, and like most people, we have been learning “on the fly,” which means that the way of writing is probably not ideal in terms of the position of the hands for example.
Be that as it may, although typing with a keyboard is still essential today, it may be that the relevance of the keyboard or of doing it more or less quickly is diminishing. Automatic correctors dominate the scene on mobile devices and allow us to promptly write sentences that are corrected (although not always right). Still, all our smartphones and tablets encourage another alternative: voice dictation.
The voice recognition integrated into desktop and mobile operating systems or using cloud services means that typing fast may not be so important when speaking. We can achieve a higher speed than many would achieve by typing. This option is very relevant for specific scenarios, but the keyboard is still a fundamental part of our personal and professional routine.
400 beats per minute: knowing how to type is no longer ‘vintage’
Try typing this text on your computer. Its points, commas, and accents are well placed. And look how he does it. Do you only use one finger? Two? Maybe three or more? If you’re one of the former, it probably takes twice as long to get the job done as someone who masters the keyboard with both hands.
Now think about the number of hours you spend a day writing and answering emails, reports, doing evaluations, taking notes, or writing projects. The equation is simple. If you spend an average of two hours a day typing with fewer than three fingers at a time, knowing how to type would save you at least three-quarters of an hour. Imagine if you spend half of your working day in front of a computer.
“The advantages are many. Although it sounds like something old-fashioned, knowing the keyboard allows one to write faster and do it without errors. explains José Olvera Maldonado, owner and his daughter Noelia of the Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza academy, the only one in Malaga where typing is still taught.
We opened in 1968, and since then, the profile of the clients has changed a lot. Most of the students we have now are competitive exams –it is still required for some positions– or kids who, without having to learn, want to pick up speed. Remember that they are digital natives and spend the day glued to a keyboard. They use it for everything. For schoolwork, interaction with each other, social networks… », lists Olvera, whose academy once had more than 800 students and a parking lot with 150 machines.
The technique is more straightforward than it seems. The key is consistency.
A quarter of an hour a day for a couple of months can work a miracle.
In addition to the academies, there are more and more web pages – many of them free – where you can learn to write at an almost professional speed in a very reasonable time. Of course, they must be Spanish or Latin pages so that the keyboard includes the letter’ ñ’. A person used to the computer keyboard usually has about 200 keystrokes per minute, which is a more than acceptable rate.
The problem is in the errors, which often exceed 20%. One of the significant advantages of knowing how to type is that the number of mistakes is reduced, “because it is more important than typing fast is to do it well,” professionals agree. For each letter typed wrong, you have to make three more movements, with the consequent loss of time and concentration.
Another virtue of controlling the technique is that you can type without looking at the keyboard. If possible. If you pay attention to the screen, the user knows immediately if he makes a mistake. While if he is looking at the keys, by the time he looks up and sees that he has made a mistake, he may have already typed three or four more words, so you have to delete everything and rewrite it again. More wasted time. This detail is “significant.”
Olvera explains it with a practical example. The speed of speech is slower than the speed of touch, so a student with advanced typing skills can follow the teacher’s explanations and transcribe them directly on their laptop without fail. That student will walk out the classroom door with work done. The competitive advantage over a colleague who only knows how to write with two or three fingers is brutal. No matter how fast he does it, he will never be able to exceed 250 beats per minute, and he will also make mistakes.
It’s not about dusting off the old machines and banging on the keyboard like there is no tomorrow. Sign up for an academy or search for a website and practice. The left little finger on the ‘A’…
- 17% Writing this text at a speed of 185 beats per minute and an error rate of 17% means half an hour of work. This transcript alone would save ten minutes, tops.
- 250 beats per minute are the maximum speed that can be reached using two fingers. Professionals type at a rate of 400 beats per minute.
In job interviews, it is not asked, but it is an advantage.
“It is not usually a requirement in job interviews, but it is a plus.” Beatriz del Diego, head of Adecco Top Secretaries, admits that mastering typing is “an exciting competitive advantage” by “optimizing” work times. A person who masters the technique not only produces more but has more time to think about what he writes, with which he makes fewer mistakes.
It is evident that it helps us be more productive in our day-to-day”, explains the directive. The sectors in which the command of typing has the most direct advantages “have an essential part of transcription” during the working day, from data recorders to law firms or administrative tasks where hundreds of documents are written per month.
Words per Minute test to improve Your Skill