I’m a fast typer (60-65wpm) who needs to make the jump to about 80wpm. I’ve been practicing a lot (months), but no serious improvement has followed.
I think the only way for me to make progress would be to find sophisticated typing tutor software that:
identifies my slowest keys
enables me to custom design (create) my own five minute tests so I can practice on just those keys alone
Problem is, I can find no software online or in stores sophisticated enough to do this. I was led to believe that Mavis Beacon Deluxe (version 20) had these capacities, so I bought it. But it turns out that the software is absolute crap. It doesn’t have custom design capacity, it doesn’t identify weak keys, and it’s only good for beginners or slow typists.
I remember Broderbund produced a Typing Tutor software program in the early '90s that had custom design features. I remember I had it years ago…it was on a floppy disk. But a search of Broderbund’s website doesn’t give me any leads. Broderbund, in fact, is putting out stuff a lot like the Mavis Beacon garbage.
I did a google search for forums and message boards focused on “typing tutor”, “speed typing”, “educational software”, etc., but got nowhere.
So I will ask Cecil enthusiasts for any feedback. Thanks.
What’s holding you back? Are you a touch typist, or do you still look down at the keyboard? Or is there some other, physical aspect slowing you down?
I’ve been at least 80 wpm most of my life (scored a cold 84 on an official typing test of some kind in a secretarial temp agency one summer in high school, 95-100 with online tests with one or two warmups). Some of that is dexterity but most of it is from just typing without thinking of the letters.
To that end, I have a “blank” keyboard (“DAS Keyboard”), a standard 104 keys board with no labels on any of the keycaps. I got it for the geek factor but they claim it also can raise one’s typing speed by 10-20 wpm by forcing a complete transition to touch typing. You could do the same for cheaper with just a bottle of Wite-Out.
For me it is very similar to this. I can type a pretty solid 60wpm if I’m typing word by word, but if I let myself zone out and type letter by letter, without paying attention to the actual content, my speed shoots over 100wpm instantly.
Both my wife and I can beat 100 wpm and we do it mostly because we’ve always had jobs that require a lot of typing. She scored 114 wpm on a formal job screening test.
However, if I’m typing out of my head (writing this post or an e-mail for example), my top speed drops to about 60 wpm.
I can only get really fast when my brain isn’t slowing me down and I’m typing from another document. In fact, when I’m up around 100 wpm, I can’t even tell you if I’m hitting the right keys or not and I can’t recall what it is I’m typing. It’s almost like an out-of-body religious experience.
There are a few games that I used to play way too much that helped my speed. “Super TextTwist” and “Super LetterLinker” are probably worth Googling for. Besides being more fun than a typing tutor, the timed modes really focus on a need for both speed and accuracy. (Of course, they don’t involve capitals, symbols, punctuation or numbers, so don’t count on them for everything.)
Yep, this. There’s really no way to type much faster than 60 WPM in writing what you’re thinking, unless you are actually thinking in words at that clip, which most people aren’t (certainly not without stopping and going back to re-edit). To reach speeds on the order of 100 WPM requires entering a “pass-through” frame of mind where you are simply a conduit for letters going from eyeball to keyboard.
That’s what I meant by “warming up”: I’m not a professional typist, though I was sort of trained like one by my mom and did secretarial work of that nature (on a typewriter) in an office summer job one year back when “word processing software” was not yet ubiquitous (or rather, when the Really Fancy Letters still required typing on a typewriter on heavy bonded letterhead paper, because the computer printers in the office were dot matrix with ribbon feeds). Getting back into that mode takes me a little while.
I used to have a workbook for speedbuilding in typing, back before computers and word processors. It was a very simple method, and it worked really well. The key points were to practice in two ways, for 10 minutes each:
(Use some source material to practice out of: a book or magazine or something.)
Practicing for accuracy - type as slowly as you need for nearly complete accuracy. Then only push yourself a little bit to pick up your speed, but only if your accuracy isn’t compromised. Do this for 10 minutes.
Then, practice typing as fast as you can, without worrying about accuracy. Just go for speed. Do this for 10 minutes.
Keep alternating between the two.
This method is designed to break you past your speed threshold while still keeping the accuracy. This technique worked very well for me.
If you feel you might have a problem area, such as numbers, just spend more time on them. You probably know quite well where you might have hesitations. This method is especially good for those areas.
I neglected this thread for a long time; I didn’t think anyone would respond. I appreciate the responses. As to what’s holding me back, I don’t know. I certainly don’t look at the keyboard much. I think there are just certain keys I must be unsteady at hitting, much in the same way a musical drummer can sometimes have an ingrained tendency to screw up certain beats.
If I could only find the old Broderbund Typing Tutor, I could identify my weak keys, and custom design my own test (on the Broderbund program) featuring gibberish words consisting only of my weak keystrokes. That’s how I improved rapidly 15 years ago…focuing only on those weak keys. It’s amazing that Broderbund doesn’t offer this sophisticated product anymore.