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To check your pulse manually, find a stopwatch, stopwatch or watch with the second hand. Then gently press the index finger and the third finger on the neck, next to the windpipe. After feeling the heartbeat, start the timer or keep an eye on the clock while counting the number of heartbeats for 30 seconds. Multiply your result by 2 to get beats per minute. For advice from our medical reviewer on how to get your pulse at rest versus an active pulse, scroll down!