iBT TOEFL test takers must improve their typing skills so that they can type fast enough in writing section. While paper-based TOEFL exams are still administered, the internet-based exam nowadays is the most common testing method. If students are slow at typing, we strongly suggest them to complete a typing class before taking the TOEFL. Proper typing skills would not only improve the students speed, but also their accuracy, reducing the risk of mistyping words.
Here we present 5 easy steps, how to learn to type faster:
1- Find the home keys. These are the most important keys used during touch typing – they are how you find your way around the keyboard. There are different home keys for different fingers.
- On your left hand – Place your smallest (pinky) finger on the ‘A’ key, your ring finger (next one along) onto the ‘S’ key, your middle finger (longest finger) onto the ‘D’ key and your pointer finger (next to the thumb) onto the ‘F’ key.
- On your right hand – Place your smallest (pinky) finger onto the ‘;’ (semicolon) key, your ring finger onto the ‘L’ key, your middle finger onto the ‘K’ key and your pointer finger onto the ‘J’ key.
- Your thumbs – Place both of your thumbs onto the space bar – but align each hand’s thumb so it’s roughly underneath the key it’s pointer finger is on.
2- Wiggle your two pointer fingers around the bottom of the ‘F’ and ‘J’ keys – you should notice a little bump. These are there so that touch typists can locate where the home keys are.
- So, if you’re ever lost when you are trying to touch type, don’t worry about looking down – just find the little bumps. The home keys are very important – as soon as you move a finger, for example you use your left middle finger (on the home key ‘D’) to type a letter (for example ‘E’), you have to place that finger back onto it’s home key straight after its use. It’s just a general rule, but keeps your fingers together instead of all over the place.
- Before starting a new sentence, place your finger back onto the home keys. This will allow yourself to know where you are on the board and make it much easier to navigate around the keys. It may seem a little unnatural at first, but it will become your second nature after practicing.
3- How do you know which finger to use when you press each key? The answer is, simple! Look back at your fingers again and place them on their home keys. Each of the home keys have both a key above them and a key underneath them.
- For example the home key ‘A’ has the key ‘Q’ on top of it, and the key ‘Z’ underneath it. So, if you need to type ‘quickly’, you would use your left pinky to type ‘Q’, your right pointer to type ‘U’, your right middle to type “I”, your left middle to type “C”, your middle finger to type “K” (it’s already a home key so no moving needs to be done), your right ring finger to type ‘L’ (again, already a home key so you don’t have to move any fingers to get to this key) and finally , you use your right pointer for the ‘Y’ key.
- So what fingers do you use for the spare keys that aren’t on top or underneath any home keys? These keys are the ‘Y’, ‘H’, ‘G’, ‘T’ and ‘B’ keys. You simply use the pointer finger that is closest to that key! So you would use the right pointer to press the ‘Y’ key and the left pointer to press ‘T’.
- Your pointer fingers will be used quite a bit, but not for everything! All fingers will be used, and again it may seem unnatural, but all it takes is a bit of getting used to.
4- Practice makes perfect! Try closing your eyes, putting your fingers on the home keys (remember to find the bumps where your pointer fingers sit on at ‘F’ and ‘J’!) and typing your first and last name onto a blank word document. Open your eyes, have a look, and see how close you got… or how far away you were! Keep doing this until you get the hang of it. Then, start to type simple sentences, like “The boy ate the apple”.
- If you need to look at the screen, cover your hands with a tea towel so you are not tempted to look. Once you lose that temptation, try touch typing on your own!
- Give it your all. Don’t give up! It can be annoying if you keep getting something wrong, but keep your chin up. So what? If you stick to it, a couple of months later you would be an expert and would laugh at the memory!
5- Try some free online typing tutors that offer different ranges of courses for all skill levels. Many of these websites present FREE typing courses. Here is some of the famous ones, although you can google it and find tons of websites in this regard.
This article is adapted from WikiHow.com