Am I Slow?
October 29, 2009 11:49 PM   Subscribe

How fast can I learn ten-key? I started about 3 days ago and have worked 2-4 hours a day on the free testing sites. I have never worked in a business environment and am the hunt-and-peck kind of "typist". I am getting faster and am up to about 4500 KPH. Is this reasonable progress? Is there a tried and true good way to get me there faster or is slogging through a bazillion of the tests the only way to gain speed? I am usually accurate but can get thrown off by a distraction. How soon can I expect to get to 10,000 KPM? How fast does the speed-demon go? Can anyone get that fast with practice, or just a special few? Are there any keyboarding "bad habits" that I need to beware of?
posted by bebrave! to Work & Money (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I second STOP looking at the keys. Try not to worry about mistakes, don't correct them. Practice! I leaned to touch type and 10 key with a lot of practice and practical use.
posted by fifilaru at 12:22 AM on October 30, 2009

Get a part-time job/volunteer as a cashier somewhere. State park? Hospital gift shop? Somewhere that you don't scan anything.
posted by clorox at 12:39 AM on October 30, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks! I will keep slogging, and I never look at the keys, which is where I knew the "turning point" came up with typing and my hunt-and-peck style there. Am staying true...
posted by bebrave! at 1:10 AM on October 30, 2009

To "Am I Slow" I don't know.. but I didn't know what "ten key" was, Googled, got a test site come up, tried it, and got 14,123 KPH with 100% accuracy. But if this is a cash register you're meant to be doing it on, I bet it's a lot harder to type on those!

If doing this is anything like regular typing, I'd suggest that practice makes perfect. Also, don't shy away from "tricky combinations." Sometimes there are combinations of letters (or numbers/symbols in this case) that always trip you up. Find ways to focus on these and become fluent with them before getting back to regular testing. Once you have the muscle memory for the tricky combinations, flow can come.
posted by wackybrit at 1:54 AM on October 30, 2009

The people in my companies payroll department can hit about 25K on this test. They've been doing it a while.
posted by daveyt at 5:14 AM on October 30, 2009

You might enjoy mixing up your practice with a little Tontie.
posted by EvaDestruction at 6:28 AM on October 30, 2009

Best answer: I hire data entry people regularly, and a few months ago we started using a data-entry test as part of the interview process; I needed a baseline, so I tested it out on my current employees -- 5,500kph is about the minimum for what I'd call a productive employee; those employees with slower rates ended up leaving the company on their own volition, unrelated to the test, because they couldn't handle the productivity expectations. The extremely-good employees are in the 15,000 - 20,000 range -- I'm at about 15,500kph. Employees in the middle of that bell curve, in the 7,000 - 9,000 range, are comfortable and can keep up with productivity expectations.

Practice definitely helps - some employees who were newer when they first took the test were on the low end, but have significantly improved their score simply because they're typing all day long. Keep at it, especially if you've got a test which randomizes, so you don't get really good only on a specific set of keystrokes. Good luck!
posted by AzraelBrown at 7:22 AM on October 30, 2009

I used to do data entry with a ten key and over 2 years I got insanely good at it. I never thought to take a typing test for it, though, so I can't throw a specific number at you. Beyond practice (I was going at it for over 8 hours/day for awhile), the biggest thing that helped me was having a backspace key. I worked on a laptop with this USB ten key, it saved me tons of time (both in terms of not needing to move my hand to delete an error but also because I didn't feel the need to concentrate so hard on accuracy). Once I'd built up my speed and accuracy with that ten key I could transfer it to full-keyboard ten keys, although I did get a little tripped up over the dash/backspace switcharoo. If I ever need to do massive amounts of data entry again I will drop the $30 for that USB ten key without a second thought.
posted by lilac girl at 8:59 AM on October 30, 2009

I came in to suggest Tontie as well - it's great practice for developing a sense of where the keys are without looking.
posted by bookdragoness at 9:23 AM on October 30, 2009

For learning the location of the keys — really learning them, to the point where you can find them instinctively — you can practice without a keyboard. Whenever you see a number as you're going about your day, ask yourself "What pattern would that make on a 10-key?"
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:06 AM on October 30, 2009

Seconding Tontie.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:24 PM on October 30, 2009

You could also get one of these.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:25 PM on October 30, 2009

Response by poster: To anyone that wants to know: Am still working but only inching up slowly ... am now creeping up into the 8000/h range (it's been about 2 weeks?).
Thanks to everyone and BTW, I find Tontie a fun diversion!
posted by bebrave! at 8:44 PM on November 12, 2009

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