word per minute test

What is a Good Typing Speed for College Students? Tips on How to Improve It

In today’s technology-dominant world, you’d think that most students possess decent typing skills, given how they have been surrounded by computers since their formative years. 

However, there is a clear distinction between only being able to type and typing at a fast speed and with high accuracy.

Similar to any other skill, fast typing also has a learning curve and requires ample practice before you can brag about your high words per minute

Unfortunately, most people who grew up using computers never really learned how to type well and with the proper technique.

Typing using only your index fingers, for example, is not the same as utilizing eight or more fingers. The hunt-and-peck method, as it’s called, is not nearly fast enough to give you an edge over your peers.

Hence, if you are a college student looking to join the big leagues in the world of typing, you will have to put in the time and effort to relearn the proper typing technique.

In this article, I will discuss what good typing speed is for college students and give you valuable tips on how to improve your speed.

What is a Good Typing Speed for College Students

In the modern world, typing proficiency is considered an asset, and there isn’t necessarily a number that can be labeled as good. 

Different professions have different standards for “good” typing speed and are largely dependent on how typing-extensive your line of work is.

Since this article is geared towards college students, you should ask yourself what is it that you want to do in your professional life. 

Certain fields such as programming have a different standard for typing speeds as compared to something like artistry.

That being said, computers are ubiquitous in our lives, and as long as you can maintain decent accuracy above the average words per minute, you should be good.

So, then what is the average typing speed?

Depending on where you look, averages can differ by a few points.

Generally, 40 words per minute are considered to be the global average.

Hence, you should aspire to do better than the average and make your way to 80 words per minute, which I think is a suitable pace for college students regardless of their field.

How to Measure Typing Speed

If you were anything like me when I was in college, you probably haven’t checked your typing speed yet. 

For me, it wasn’t until later in my life that I realized I wasn’t typing at an optimal rate. Anyway, measuring typing speed is very simple and takes only a minute.

All you need to do is visit a website that offers typing tests and complete a test. One such website is typingtest.com which determines your typing speed in a minute.

You have the option to choose from easy, medium, and hard text. Once you click on “start test”, words will appear on your screen, which you have to type as fast as you can.

Keep in mind that a fast typing speed is no good if you are not accurate with your spelling. You could have a 150 wpm typing speed, but if you are making errors after every other word, it’s not beneficial.

I would suggest that you choose medium difficulty and see where you land. If you feel you can complete the test with ease, then test yourself in hard mode. Needless to say that you should strive for 90% accuracy or more at all times.

Tips for College Students to Improve Typing Speed

Correct Finger Placement

If you start doing something with incorrect form, no matter how much time you put into practice, all you are doing is getting better at being bad. 

This also applies to typing, as the QWERTY layout we are all accustomed to was designed for specific finger placement.

Notice how on most keyboards, the J and F keys have a little bump on them. This is so that your index fingers can find the starting position for typing.

Your left index finger should always rest on the F key and the right index finger on the J key. 

After that, rest your remaining three left fingers on the keys left of the F key i.e. A, S, D. For your right three fingers, rest them on K, L, and; Now what’s left are your thumbs which you can use for the space bar.

Once you master the starting position, your hands should always remain in the starting position. However, to type, your fingers can move slightly up and down to reach the neighbouring keys.

If you think this is too complicated and would like further instructions, feel free to visit typingclub.com which has a free course on touch typing.

Once you become comfortable with this technique, you will raise your typing speed significantly without even trying anything else.

Never Peek at the Keyboard

One of the biggest challenges you will face starting is not knowing where certain keys are. 

This is normal and shouldn’t demotivate you. That being said, you would need to fight off the instinct to locate keys on the keyboard with your eyes.

You see, touch typing only works if you know the layout of the keyboard by heart. The very thing that makes touch-typing so effective is not relying on your eyes to locate keys.

Hence, instead of looking at your keyboard, you should trust your fingers to find the correct key with trial and error. The more you practice, the easier it will become, and it will come naturally to you.

Correct Sitting Posture

You might be used to lying in your bed and typing on your laptop in college, but this can hamper your true potential. 

The best and only way to type effectively is to sit or stand upright with your elbows at a 90° angle. You should also make sure that your elbows and arms are supported by either a desk or the armrest of a chair. 

Lastly, if you are sitting in a chair, make sure you don’t slouch forward, as this can damage your back over longer periods.

If you are someone who has difficulty sitting for long periods, you can try experimenting with a standing desk.

Correct posture is very important as it minimizes strains and injuries while giving you the most optimal typing experience.

Minimal Finger Movement

Have you ever observed a skilled piano player going about a tune?

Notice how their fingers fall on the keys ever so softly without any force? It’s almost as if they are one with the piano and don’t even have to think about their finger movement.

This is exactly what a good typist does to their keyboard when typing. Instead of forcing a keypress, a good typist should lightly press the key with minimal effort without hampering the overall typing flow.

It is extremely important to be aware of this in the beginning so you can develop a knack for it naturally. Remember that it isn’t only the soft keypress but also the finger movement, which needs to be minimal.

You shouldn’t have to move your finger more than a couple of centimeters from its starting position (depending on the keyboard) to find the neighbouring key. The more you practice like this, the more effortless your key transitions will be.

Use Keyboard Shortcuts

Nothing infuriates me more than seeing someone press the backspace repeatedly to erase a word. 

I am always surprised at just how many students have no idea of simple keyboard shortcuts. 

Take the backspace as an example. Did you know that you can delete an entire word by pressing Ctrl + backspace instead of pressing backspace repeatedly?

This simple little tip will save you so much time in the future. Not to mention the hundreds of other shortcuts that can drastically improve your typing speed. 

You can find a list of all available shortcuts for Microsoft office programs here.

Moreover, this tip also ties well with the idea of not relying on your mouse. Yes, intuitively, we all know to use the mouse to navigate our computers.

If your goal is to become a fast typist, you need to do as many things on your keyboard as you can. And you’d be surprised at just how much you can control your computer with just the keyboard.

Here is a helpful article to give you an idea of just how much you can do without using the mouse.

Use the Right Tools for Practice

As must be apparent by now, you cannot become good at typing without ample practice. Don’t think you can master touch typing overnight because, like any other skill, it takes time and patience.

The good news is that there are countless free online resources to help you become a fast and accurate typist. Some of my go-to ones are the following:

  • 10FastFingers
  • WordPerMinute
  • Keyboard
  • Monkeytype
  • Typetest.io
  • Typings. gg
  • TypeRacer
  • NitroType
  • Typing Test

The one I use the most out of all these is WordPerMinute, as it provides a clean and simple UI. However, ones like TypeRacer can be very helpful if you like games and competing with other people. Try out all of them and see which one gives you the best experience.

Once you have your go-to typing website, all that is left is to practice for half an hour or an hour a day.