I remember in elementary school, we had a computer skills class once a week in the library, and sometimes they tried to teach us touch typing. For me, it never stuck. It felt awkward and forced, so I never really learned how to type. 

In middle school, though, I started writing large works, like my first novel. I was putting out hundreds of words at a time, and while I never sat down to learn how to touch-type, it kind of just…happened. I don’t have to look at the keyboard to type what I want, though I often do glance down as a way of “balancing” myself. Now, the way I touch type does not used the conventional finger assignments, which upsets the purists I’ve spoken with, but I wanted to see if my adapted touch typing could compare to the traditional method. Luckily, there are tons of online typing tests you can use to gauge your typing speed.

The first online test I tried was the KeyHero Typing Practice. I liked this test because it provided a different excerpt each time, and it provided detailed feedback about acceleration, deceleration, and types of errors. I did about 11 excerpts so I could get a good understanding of my average typing. For this test, that was 88.21 WPM with a 97% accuracy. My fastest round was 109 BPM! This test did not tell me how that speed compares to the average typer, but I was satisfied with my speed and my accuracy. I found excerpts easier when they were written in styles I’m more familiar with, like the YA prose of Mark Zusak and John Green, and the excerpts that were more technical or contained a lot of punctuation were more difficult.

The next test I tried was TypingTest.com, which espouses itself as the #1 online typing test. I only did this one once and chose to do the Aesop excerpt. I got 88 WPM, exactly the same as from the previous test! I also had 100% accuracy on this excerpt. The website rated this as a “Pro” score. It said the average overall score was 36 WPM, and the overall touch-typist score was 58 WPM. I think 58 WPM is pretty slow for touch-typing, honestly, or maybe I really am an outlier.

I decided to take a third typing test to try to confirm my average typing speed, and I chose the Speed Typing Online test. I didn’t like this test very much because of the font the exercise was written in and the way it didn’t scroll down; it just replaced lines at the top, which was disorienting. It was also different from the other test because instead of an excerpt with complete sentences, it was just a bunch of random words like “red” “house” and “staff.” Maybe that’s a perfectly legitimate way of testing typing speed, but it was strange because much of my typing instincts come from being able to string common phrases together fairly quickly. That being said, I got 89 WPM on the test at 97% accuracy.

I would say that taking these tests confirmed that my atypical touch-typing patterns are just as legitimate as traditional ones. I don’t think I need to improve my typing speed because it’s way up there, but I also don’t think I type that quickly on a regular basis. Most of the time I’m trying to conjure words into sentences while I’m typing; I’m not just copying things like in these tests. I do think it’s important to know how to type coherently (not hunting-and-pecking) because we use computers constantly now, and a slow typing speed is only a hindrance. Everyone should be comfortable behind a keyboard, even though the QWERTY arrangement doesn’t make much sense.

Image 1: Backlit keyboard. Source – Pixabay.

Image 2: Person using Macbook. Source – Pexels.