One of the most common concerns we hear from new students in the medical transcription and editor programs is that their typing speed and accuracy is not up to snuff and they are afraid they won’t get up to speed. No matter what level your current typing skills are at, you can improve your speed and accuracy. Yes, I even mean you, Ms. “Hunt-and-Peck,” and you, Mr. “Keyboard Pounder.” Let’s discuss some tips to help you improve.
1. Find a keyboard you love.
This tip is really one of the easiest ways to improve your typing—though it may require more of a financial investment than the other tips. If you do not like the way your keyboard feels under your fingers, your typing experience will be awkward and frustrating. I recently switched from a frustrating keyboard at work because its actuation force (the force required to press the key down and register the keystroke) was too high. I was missing too many letters as my fingers flew over the keyboard. These are things you want to consider: The feel of the keycaps, the actuation force, the layout, and the comfort of the keyboard. The more comfortable your keyboard feels to you, the better off you’ll be.
2. Stop pounding those keys.
A common typing issue that many people have is that they feel like they have to abuse the keyboard in order to register the keystroke. They lift their hands quite a way off the keyboard and then slam down each keystroke. While this is annoying to those who have to listen to you type, it is actually creating a couple of huge issues for your typing speed and accuracy. First and most important, you are expending extra, unnecessary effort and fatiguing your fingers prematurely. Second, you are going to wear out that keyboard and its components much more quickly. This can create issues with accuracy (especially with lower quality keyboards) because components that are worn out will not register things as accurately. Keyboards will wear out overtime, but abusing the keyboard will speed that up. The easiest way to overcome this is to try keeping your fingers as close to the keys as possible as you type. Practice pressing the keys down to determine how much force really is required to type accurately. Your typing speed may slow down for a bit while you determine these things, but in the long run, you will speed up. Your fingers and neighbors will thank you for working on this one.
3. Learn Home Position and practice with it.
Some people are quite speedy with the two-finger “hunt-and-peck” method of typing. I’m sure you’ve seen someone do it, even if you aren’t doing it yourself. But just because you can be speedy with that method doesn’t mean that you can’t be blazing fast using the home-row method and touch typing. If you’re able to, using all 10 of your fingers to type is the most efficient method to learn. If you aren’t used to that method, it may feel foreign to you at first. Resist the urge to go back to the other method. It will take some time and your typing speed may suffer at first, but it will improve exponentially once you get comfortable. Once you learn Home Row, try taping a piece of paper to the top of the keyboard and draping it over your hands to prevent you from looking at the keyboard to type. Becoming a touch typist will increase your speed and accuracy over time because you won’t have to take your concentration off your thoughts. When typing becomes second nature, your accuracy and speed will increase incredibly.
4. Don’t overthink typing.
Typing is a skill that comes with time and practice. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not speeding up as much as you’d hoped. Just take it one day at a time. Your typing speed will increase naturally as you progress through the medical transcription and editing program too. When I began the program, my typing speed was around 50 wpm consistently. By the time I finished the program, my speed was averaging between 80 and 100 wpm consistently. Muscle memory accounts for a lot of that. Your brain and fingers will form memory of the most commonly used words and phrases and that will, in turn, increase your speed and accuracy.
5. Do Keyboard Kinetics daily.
As with any other skill, practice makes perfect. Of course you’ll still have typos from time to time, but overall you’ll find that you make them much less often. CareerStep’s Keyboard Kinetics module is designed to teach someone who has never formed proper typing techniques to use the most efficient and effective methods. We encourage students to use that module for about 10-15 minutes per day before moving on to their normal studies. Consistent daily practice is really the key.
We hope these tips help you to become a true typing virtuoso. Do you have some other tips that helped you improve your typing speed? Share them in the comments below!