Improve Your Typing Speed for Computer-Based GED® Testing

This tip was inspired by Elizabeth Sekerak, former AmeriCorps member in Northeast Ohio Literacy Corps.

The GED® test will only be offered exclusively on the computer at authorized testing centers. You can never take the GED® test online.

The 2014 GED test has typed response sections in Science, Social Studies and Reading! Some test takers are much slower at typing. My adult literacy students wanted to learn to type faster, so I made this chart to track their progress:

Typing Chart

Each Wednesday for 15-20 minutes, my students practiced typing at


  1. There are lots of ads on the site, so sometimes students found themselves on another website. If that happened, I told them not to click or type, but just stop and raise their hand and I showed them how to go back in the browser or close the pop-up.
  2. The site offers a typing tutor product. It is free at first, but later you have to pay, so I told my students not to sign up. (They had me, after all!) But if you are studying at home and struggling, maybe the typing tutor online would be helpful. Just don’t forget to call and stop payments when you’re not using it any more!

Typing Test Screenshot

I gave my students these directions to use the Typing Speed Test:

  1. Choose your language. We use English.
  2. Choose to take a test for one, two or three minutes.
  3. Choose which story you want to type. Some are more difficult than others due to punctuation or unfamiliar vocabulary. Instructors should try the stories in advance to give recommendations.
  4. Click “Start Test.”
  5. The website will give you a story and you type every character, including spaces, capitalization and punctuation. You can use delete or backspace to correct errors.
  6. At the end of the test, you get a report of your Words-Per-Minute (WPM), which subtracts your errors.

Important: The test takes off points for errors. After their first test, I put the students’ index cards on the chart (with their permission) to show their WPM (minus errors). They ranged from 3 to 18. When I put the index cards on the chart, I emphasize that they are not racing each other, but racing themselves to see how much they can improve their own score.

Next, I showed the whole class how to use:

  1. “Backspace” or “delete” to correct errors.
  2. “Shift” to capitalize letters and type punctuation like , ” – ? !

At first, I told students to practice on the same story over and over. They tried again, and I moved up their index cards on the chart on the first day. Just learning how to type without errors greatly improved their scores.

After three weeks, most students almost doubled their WPM! We were very excited to see results go from 3 to 7 WPM or from 12 to 21 WPM. We applaud at the end of each session for students as they move along the chart. But after the initial improvement, the progress was not as dramatic.

There were still a few students typing with one finger at a time (I call this “hunt and peck”). They wanted to learn how to type without looking at the keyboard every time, also called “touch typing.”

Enter YouTube! There are lots of brief videos on specific keyboarding skills. I chose a playlist from Expert Village of nine Computer Typing Lessons. Videos can be used for a group, or individual students can watch with headphones. After watching once, students can practice the keyboarding skills (in a word processor like Microsoft Word or Google Document) along with the videos:

Do you have any other tips or websites to help improve typing skills?

GED Test on the Computer? Maybe in the Future…

Note: Right now you can NOT take the GED or any high school graduation test online!  You can apply to take the GED test or study for the GED test online, but you MUST take the test at an Official GED Testing Center!  Any website that is not connected to the Official GED Testing Centers in your state is a SCAM!  To find the nearest official GED Testing Center to you, enter your zip code at the GED Testing Service:

In the future, the GED Test may be offered on the computer.  You will still ONLY be able to take the official GED test at an official GED testing center, even on the computer.

Read more or download a PDF about the projected changes to the GED test, including the computer-based-pilot (CBP), at this website:

Why is the American Council on Education piloting the GED test on the computer?  They want to see if GED test-takers get the same scores on a computer version as they get on the paper version.  The computer based pilot is currently going on in 11 states.

The GED test 5th edition was expected to be released on January 1, 2012 but that date has been postponed.  The GED Testing Service has revised this estimate, stating it needs to re-evaluate its testing standards because:

  • Research indicates that the current high school graduation tests, including the GED, do not measure college or workforce readiness.
  • President Obama has set a national goal to dramatically increase the number of high school & college graduates by 2020, as well as make sure those graduates are ready for college & the workforce.

Some VERY GOOD news is that GED test takers who take the test before 2012 (or whenever the new version of the test is released) and do not pass all sections may still be able to keep their scores after GED 5th edition is released.  Check back with the American Council on Education (and Farrell Ink!) for more updates in late 2010.

Tutor Tip: Get Online Already!

We’ve all done it: class ends, you’ve run around all day, and forgot to even turn on the computer. How and when are you supposed to remember to use these cool free online tools?!?!

After class, take your physical book and open it while looking at the website you want to use. Find the appropriate page or lesson where the student or tutor should get online, and… *GASP* write the website in the book!  Librarians, close your eyes.

If you have folks less computer literate, try typing up detailed directions about how to access the website & what to do when they get there.  Make sure to type in your document what page in the book to stick the note in after you print it out. Staple the note to the book if you have to! Trust me, your students & tutors will thank you for the written reminders.

Technology Integration: Net Nanny

How do you treat students like adults on the internet but still protect your computer lab?  Adults need to learn how to use computers in the real world.  Try this equation:SUPERVISION: Make sure staff/tutors can see every computer & can suggest positive, interesting websites +
APPROPRIATE USE POLICY: Try this example from the Illinois State University Milner Library +
INTERNET FILTER: Net Nanny by Content Watch or comparable internet filter software =

Teaching adults students how to use the internet effectively & safely!

How have you dealt with internet and computer security in your computer lab?

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