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TOEFL Tip #89: Touch Typing

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on March 4, 2011

Although it may seem like getting a good TOEFL score only requires being able to read, speak, write, and listen to English well, this is not quite the case. You ALSO need to be able to work quickly without being distracted by the clock, for example. If you’re taking the iBT, you need to be familiar with using a mouse. When you have mastered general skills like these, you can put all of your attention on the exam questions. The more you have to focus on HOW to take the test, the harder it will be to do well ON the test.

A big area that slows people down on the iBT is typing out their essays for the writing section. They use only one or two fingers on each hand to type, and have to scan the entire keyboard for each letter. Or, they type quickly, but make so many mistakes that they waste a lot of time going back to fix obvious spelling errors, or putting spaces between words. It makes sense that this would slow you down, and time might run out before you finish the essay, even if you know exactly what you want to say.

To avoid this problem, practice touch typing as you get ready for the writing section of the TOEFL. “Touch Typing” means being able to type quickly and accurately without looking at the keyboard very often. If you can type with all of your fingers without looking at the keyboard, you will go a lot faster.

There are free sites on the web that will teach you how to touch type. One example is the site from The site features a clear description of each step in learning to touch type, a series of typing lessons, and a space where you can paste in your own text, and then practice typing it. For example, you can write a sample 30 minute or 20 minute essay, then practice typing it accurately.

Once you have learned to touch type and are practicing on your own, be sure to turn off the feature on your word processor that automatically corrects your mistakes. For example, auto-correct will fix simple mistakes like typing “teh” for “the.” You know how to spell “the,” but if you’re used to the computer fixing mistakes like that, you won’t be in the habit of checking your work carefully. You don’t want to lose points because of small mistakes that you can easily fix!

Touch typing well will increase your speed and accuracy, and that will help make sure that you have time to write your best essays on the TOEFL.

Categories: TOEFL Preparation,Writing

3 comments so far. Leave a comment.

  1. StrictlyEnglish | Blog » Use the Correct Keyboard

    wrote on May 20, 2011 at 8:04 am

    [...] talked before about the importance of being able to touch-type on the Writing Section of the TOEFL. The faster [...]

  2. Kori Vanlandingham

    wrote on November 16, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Very interesting subject , thanks for posting . “The friendship that can cease has never been real.” by Saint Jerome.

  3. StrictlyEnglish | Blog » The Year In Review

    wrote on December 31, 2011 at 10:18 am

    [...] idioms, and listening to public radio. In the Writing section, we discussed how less is more, touch typing, and why it’s important to use a QWERTY keyboard. We also spread the word about changes to [...]

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