Typing test with a 5 wpm penalty for each error? Is that reasonable?

It may not have been clear from my last post, but I was also trying to point out that I think the OP is correct in that such a penalty is NOT reasonable. I understand that some of you say such a penalty is standard in typing tests, but I don’t think that makes it reasonable.

Thinking about this a little further, it seems to me that the amount of time an error would cost you to fix probably varies based on how fast you type. Someone who averages 30 wpm probably takes a lot longer to backspace and fix an error than someone who types 100 wpm. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to penalize both individuals the same amount.

Your average speed ought to be determined by the total time it takes you to complete the test without errors, period, unless your job is actually going to involve working on a typewriter.

But that’s not practical. You’d have to take the test multiple times until you did it without errors. Someone testing you isn’t going to wait an hour before you complete an error-free test.

Remember, the test was created before word processors, when it was especially impractical to give the test multiple times. It has been standardized for decades – a good thing, since everyone’s score is comparable.

Sorry, this was poor phrasing on my part.

Many of the typing tests I’ve taken either beep when you’ve made an error or simply won’t let you continue typing until you correct the error. So what I meant to imply was that you would be forced to turn in an error-free test by correcting mistakes as you go.

Many word-processing (and other) programs have spell-checking on the fly that essentially performs the same task (notifies you when you’ve typed something it doesn’t recognize), so this isn’t an unrealistic way to test someone for real-world conditions, in my opinion.

Forty three years ago, when I took typing, the penalty was five words a minute, and they beat you with a stick.


You had sticks? When I took typing they didn’t have sticks, just rocks.

One typing test I took for a data-entry position would not let you progress until you typed the correct letter. Using the delete key triggered a beep and use of the key was counted as an incorrect keystroke. Every keystroke other than the correct one was counted as an error.

So if I had to type something like, “The quick brown dog,” and I accidentally typed, "The quitck brown dog, " I would have racked up to 8 incorrect keystrokes. Four, because the rest of that word would get hammered out before I caught myself to go back, and then 4 more due to my automatically using the delete key to go back and correct the error. Using the delete key to immediately correct was so ingrained that my accuracy score was complete crap. I couldn’t stop myself from hitting delete to correct an error because it was a reflex, faster than thought.

Despite the incredible disruption of my normal typing routine, I still managed to finish more than the 50 wpm that they required, but the “accuracy” count they subtracted effectively halved that score. I was pretty pissed off at the end of that session.

I didn’t get the job either.

I took typing in HS in 1985. (One of the best elective choices I ever made, btw.) The standard for all the proficiency tests was a five wpm penalty per error. More data.