I’m a reasonably fast typist. As part of my job search I went down to the state employment office and took a typing test. I managed to get a net speed of 62 word per minute (wpm).
With that in mind, I took a test for the position of 911 Calltaker that included a data entry module. I wasn’t really worried about the typing speed because the job description called for 40 wpm. I should have done fine, right?
The difference between typing and data entry has to do with the kind of screen you are typing into and sometimes what you are typing. With a straight typing test you get page of text and a blank screen… go!
These test will give you a good idea how fast you can do word processing like typing up letters and reports.
Data entry, on the other hand, asks you to filter the information from your source (which may or may not be in the same order as the fields on your data entry screen) and enter the correct bit of data into the correct field. You can’t just assume that your words per minute can be translated into keystrokes per minute. There will be some down time while you try to figure out how the source material is laid out compared to how your screen is laid out. You may loose a few seconds navigating from one field to the next.
In a well designed system, you should be able to tab from field to field without losing much time, but not all systems are well designed.
Another factor that may slow you down when transitioning from typing to data entry is the type of data you are typing. Some data entry will have a lot more numbers than your typical letter or report ever dreamed of.
For straight numbers learning to use the 10-key pad may help, but what about serial numbers with both numbers and letters mixed together?
The Criticall test included just this kind of data… VIN numbers were what really shot me down. They are 17 characters long, and I found them hard to read, let alone type!
There was nothing at all like THAT in my typing tutor program.
Needless to say, I didn’t quite pass the test… because of my data entry speed being nowhere near as fast as my typing speed.
But I want to practice so I can take the test again and pass it next time. In order to do that, I made up a little “typing tutorial” that mimics the data entry screen from the Criticall test.
I posted it online just in case anyone else out there is trying to find a way to practice for the Criticall test too. On my initial testing of this practice test my keystrokes per minute were very close to the score I got on the test (actually slightly slower). The main difference between my tutorial here and the real test is that on the real test you are asked to do other tasks in addition to the data entry to test your “multitasking” ability. Those tasks will likely slow your KPH down a little, so be sure to aim high when testing yourself on this typing tutor!