Improving your words per minute

Has anyone asked you, how fast do you type?

But, how do you calculate your words per minute?

The Basics of Words per Minute

Words per Minute, commonly abbreviated to WPM is used as a measurement of typing speed or reading speed. Typically each word is standardised to five characters (keystrokes) including spaces and punctuation typed in one minute, divided by five.

The famous sentence “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dogs.” contains 46 characters. If it takes you one minute to type this sentence, we can calculate your WPM:

Characters Typed in One Minute / 5 = WPM
46 / 5 = 9.2 WPM

What about accuracy?

It is important to try and maintain 100% accuracy, however realistically this is not always possible, but accuracy can be measured. In the quick brown fox example, if you mistyped one letter you would have still typed 9.2 WPM, but with a 98% accuracy.

Gross WPM vs Net WPM

Net Words per Minute is your WPM x your accuracy percentage, however measuring by NetWords can lead to greater mistakes and inaccuracies. As a transcriber or typist it is much better to slow down and be more accurate as ultimately it will lead you to be faster in the long run as you will not need to go back and fix your mistakes.

Accuracy and speed all boils down to the content

With any piece of work, if you know the subject matter or are familiar with the content then it will be easier for you to type quickly and accurately. Simple vocabulary is easier than typing technical or long words such as “pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis” (which out of interest is a lung disease and the longest word in the English dictionary!), words such as these require more though processing to establish the correct spelling to ensure higher accuracy.

Here is what you should look out for to get the most accurate gauge for your typing speed:

  • Length of Test – 3 and 5 minute tests tend to be the most accurate gauge of overall typing speed, they are long enough to produce a repeatable average speed and accuracy
  • Familiarity of Content – The less familiar you are with the content the better as it will be most accurate, repetition and familiar content is likely to give you an elevated score because simply if you type the same sentence over and over and you will get faster and faster, as you will remember the content and sentence structure.

How do I increase my WPM?

It is like any kind of exam revision, practice, practice, practice!

Find an article that is interesting to you and get typing, start off fast, then slow down to improve your accuracy, you will quickly pick up your speed and accuracy.

Test yourself, there are many typing test sites out there so find one and test yourself with content that you are not familiar with to continue to improve your ability.

If you find yourself with too much to do and too little time, then Fingertips Typing can help. Visit Fingertips Typing Services.

Written by: Cerri Killworth, Transcriber for Fingertips Typing Services.

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