The Practice Test got it's name because it started out as a single page... a practice test for people who needed to take the Criticall data entry test to become 911 operators.
In the beginning, I thought maybe there would be more tests eventually, tests that did not involve typing. That still might happen someday. But for now, The Practice Test focuses on all kinds of practice tests and exercises to develop your typing and data entry skills.
The data entry section has been expanded with an easier test (based on the ProveIt test) for those looking for jobs in data entry that don't involve the high-end skills needed to become an emergency dispatcher. There are also a number of practice pages to help work on your trouble spots - addresses for some beginning practice and VIN numbers for extra challenging practice. When Google started sending people who want to practice 10-key skills, I added some numbers only tests with zip codes, phone numbers, and credit cards that can be used with either keyboard numbers or a 10-key number pad.
A couple of user requests that I hope to add soon are:
I'm always happy to consider ideas for new tests or improvements to existing ones.
The typing sections started out as an add-on and have grown to to take over most of the website.
Typing tests are all longer, paragraph based text which provide a variety of skill levels and lengths to practice for regular pre-employment typing tests that are generally 3-minute or 5-minute typing tests and often resemble a business letter or memo. The Practice test does not offer pre-employment tests or provide certificates verifying typing speed. We do try to make our tests as accurate as possible so that you can practice until you feel confident in passing these official typing tests. (Especially when some of them charge for their services... why pay until you know you will pass?)
Typing practice pages are all shorter tests that are generated by computer AI (artificial intelligence). There are word drills and sentence drills. The sentences that the computer comes up with don't always make sense, but they do provide a variety of typing challenges. Most sentences will try to find words that start with or contain certain letters or letter combinations for the sake of improving a specific area of weakness. It's my hope that they will be just enough "off" to provide some entertainment while you type. Word list are super easy to add, so if you have one you'd like to see turned into a test let me know.
Finally, the typing lessons were added out of frustration with other typing sites. Some seemed to think you can learn all the letters on the keyboard in 3 lessons, and others wanted to take 3 lessons per key. I'm still working on finding a good balance between too much and not enough. Comments and suggestions are welcome.
The Practice Test is free to use. I've been between jobs often enough to feel strongly that people looking for work should not have to pay to get the skills they need to get a job (so they can get paid...)
The Practice Test earns money from advertising, a few cents from showing adds, and a few dollars when people click on the ads. It's always been enough to pay for the server to keep the website running. It's hasn't always enough to keep the teenage children in my house fed and clothed, let alone pay for the roof over our heads.
How can you help?
Hi, my name is Karen. I live just outside of Portland, Oregon (USA) with my partner, two grown children and a cat named Shiva. I built The Practice Test (and some other websites). I like building things. It may surprise you to learn that I don't like typing and I have not always been that good at it.
I took typing in high school because I had aspirations of becoming a writer. Typing seemed like a good skill to have for an aspiring writer, but I barely passed. I got a D-, but only because the teacher really liked me and saw how hard I tried, coming in during lunch and after school for extra practice. In spite of working on it an hour or more a day, 5 days a week, for about 3 months. I could not quite type the 25wpm required to pass the class by the end of the term... which is why I'm so sure I really earned an 'F' rather than a 'D'. While I didn't really care about typing fast enough to keep up with all the aspiring secretaries in the room - my parent's claim that you can never make a living as a writer weighed a little heavier after that term.
I got into software development in college. Computer programming (unlike typing) came easy to me until I sat down in a programming class where the instructor said, "If you want to pass this class you are going to have to be a good typist." So I went and signed up for another typing class. Thank goodness this one was graded on "improvement" rather than a straight wpm score! After another 3 months I could finally type 25 wpm net. (and I still managed to get an 'A' in the programming class, in case you were wondering if a programmer really needs to be able to type fast... it's all relative. Good debugging skills can make up for a lot of slow typing up front.)
And so it went, another 100 hours of typing practice and instruction, another 5 wpm until finally I made it into the professional 60wpm range. It may seem strange to say being able to type 60 wpm is one of my proudest accomplishments, but after working so hard for so long to get there - it is.
Fast-forward to 2011: I saw a job advertised for 911 operator that only required 40wpm. I signed up, took the test and ... FAILED! (What?!?)
Okay, you type in VIN numbers at 60wpm. It's not at all like typing a letter or a memo.
I came close enough to passing the test they encouraged me to go home and "practice typing numbers" and try again next month. How could I practice for THAT kind of test? My typing tutor had some number lessons, but they were just not anywhere near that challenging.
So I built a little practice app for the CritiCall Data Entry test and put it online.
I didn't get the 911 job, but I did expand the app from a single web page to a whole website with all the typing and data entry tools I could think of to help people like me (who aren't naturals at typing) get faster and better at typing and data entry so THEY can get those jobs in the future.
Let us know! Please email: email@example.com any comments or concerns about The Practice Test.