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How do I Prepare for a Data Entry Test?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Preparing for a data entry test is a task that is necessary when applying for different types of clerical or administrative positions. In general, tests of this type focus on the ability of the candidate to accurately enter at least a minimum amount of information within a given period of time, with only a small allowance for errors during that time frame. Typically, the data entry test will include more than one format as part of the process, making it necessary for candidates to consider several different approaches to data entry as part of their preparation.

One of the most common forms of data entry testing is a basic typing skills test. In this type of exam, the individual is given a block of text that must be entered into a word processing document. The test is timed, making it possible to determine how many words per minute the candidate is capable of generating. Along with considering the overall word count entered, attention is paid to the accuracy of the data entry, including proper spacing according to the instructions, capitalization of words, and any errors such as the transposition of letters or numbers within the text. Errors are deducted from the total score, leaving an average word per minute as the final score.

Since many data entry positions involve the entry of data into a series of fields contained in a database, it is not unusual for a data entry test to also include an examination of how quickly and accurately candidates can enter the correct data in each of the fields, and move on to the next field in the sequence without a great deal of pausing. The goal is to enter the data accurately but as quickly as possible, indicating an ability to function in the workplace at a high level of efficiency and productivity.

In order to prepare for the data entry test, it is important to practice both these forms of data entry in advance. Sample tests can often be found online, making it possible to improve hand/eye coordination between a source document, the fingers, and the document or page that is to receive the data. Typically, practicing first with data entry of text in general is a good way to become comfortable with the keyboard and gradually increase entry speed. Make sure to use different blocks of text that include a wide range of characters, including numbers and punctuation, in order to increase proficiency. At the same time, download a sample database and learn how to enter data into a given field, then use the proper keys to quickly advance to the next field. Generally, practicing for at least a few days before actually taking a data entry test for a prospective position will increase confidence and speed, which in turn maximizes the chances of securing the job.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including PracticalAdultInsights, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

Discussion Comments

By rainforesttk — On Jun 22, 2013

You are right about accuracy and speed in inputting values into a database. I have been using data entry tests to improve my skills.

Thanks for the tip on finding a sample database. Now I just have to find one.

Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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