While speed may seem of the utmost importance when you think about typing skills, in many cases accuracy is even more important. Typing 150 words per minute is an impressive accomplishment, but if every other word is misspelled or filled with typos, no one is going to pay for this work.
How to improve typing accuracy
Though this will probably be repeated a thousand times in every article you read about typing accuracy, the single most important thing to remember is simply to practice. There are some things to remember about practicing, however.
- Learn the basics. Accuracy training isn’t going to do any good if you don’t know where the home keys are or where to place your hands.
- Find a program that engages you. You’re not going to be inclined to practice if the program is boring. If it’s easier for you to practice while playing, look for games like TyperShark (www.popcap.com, $9.95), TypeRacer (play.typeracer.com) or even the old style Multi-user dungeons, or MUDS, which were text based games that require quick, accurate typing.
- Do accuracy drills. Some websites like Ratatype offers test and certification, lessons for touch typing, such as TypingWeb (www.typingweb.com) offer accuracy drills. These are repetitive drills designed to focus on accuracy alone. While this isn’t going to help you as much if you’re new to the world of touch typing, it is an important tool to consider.
- Practice in short bursts. One, twelve hour marathon session of practice is not going to do much for your accuracy. In fact, it’s likely to impede your learning. Typing accuracy is contingent on muscle memory. You wouldn’t expect to bulk up with weightlifting in one, twelve hour session and you shouldn’t expect to be an expert typist in that time either. Spend 30-45 minutes practicing your typing accuracy, then walk away from the computer for a while.
- Walk away if you start to get frustrated or angry. It can be irritating to spend all that time practicing, only to see your accuracy rating stay the same, or even drop a few points. The more frustrated you get, the lower your score will be, because instead of concentrating on your typing, you’re concentrating on how mad you are.
These may seem like they’re common sense, but many people forget them in their rush to be the perfect tough typist.
There are other things to consider as well, while you’re working on your typing accuracy.
- Make sure your keyboard is in good shape. A keyboard with non-functional keys is going to affect your accuracy rating, no matter how well or quickly you type. If it’s just a sticky key, try popping the offending key off and cleaning in and around it with a cotton swab soaked in isopropyl alcohol.
- Pay attention to your posture. Though it may sound silly, improper posture can negatively affect your typing scores. Sit straight up, with both feet on the floor and your keyboard directly in front of you. Also, make sure your monitor is properly placed so you don’t have to worry about neck pain while you write.
- Use emoticons. 🙂 While they are not proper for use in formal correspondence, they do use symbols and are helpful for teaching your fingers where to go when you need a semicolon or an asterisk.
- Don’t look at your keyboard. This is one of the keys to gaining any skill in touch typing is being able to know where all the keys are by memory. Once you have the basics down, put something over your hands so you can’t see the keyboard and just type.
- Turn on the news. Or any other TV show for that matter. Try to increase your speed and accuracy by typing along with what you hear. This is also a good skill to learn if you’re planning to look for jobs in transcription.
- Don’t get discouraged. It may seem like you’re putting in all this hard work for no result. You may get discouraged, or disappointed that your skills aren’t advancing as quickly as you would like them to. Don’t. All that will accomplish is preventing you from working harder.
- Reward yourself. While this may seem like a carrot on a stick in a sense, it is great motivation. Improve your typing speed by 5wmp? Go have a glass of wine or a beer, or play your favorite game. Reward yourself for your hard work.
While all of these may be helpful tips, the single most important thing to remember is to practice. Practice a little every day and in no time, you’ll see a marked improvement in both your typing speed and you’re accuracy. Practice is the key to skills that will be useful for your entire life.
Adam Fort is an education enthusiast. His goal is to help kids to learn fast typing on the keyboard.