Improve your learning and reading strategies for your next test or exam. Here are some tips and tricks to speed read in order to study faster.
In order to avoid cramming and speed reading, study effectively means studying in the days or short weeks leading up to the exam. However, sometimes situations are out of our control, and you need to speed read.
Reading is the fundamental pillar of education, and yet, it rarely gets any tricks and techniques when it comes to exams. Countless articles on speed reading are available on the web, with most of them being consumed by ardent readers who want to read more books for personal learning or research purposes.
But if you’re a student who wants to learn more about this skill to prepare yourself better for exams, then you’re in the right article. Furthermore, fast reading can be used by students to maximize the way they learn.
But before anything else, it’s important to bear in mind that like writing, reading also has different styles. As such, reading a business book for information, a news article to keep you updated, a novel for pleasure, and course materials for academics, are all different things.
In this article, we will be talking about 9 tips to help you read faster while still being able to focus on what you’re reading. This way, you can understand the material better and have higher chances of nailing your exams.
Tips And Tricks To Speed Read To Study Faster
1. Stop subvocalizing
Subvocalization, otherwise known as silent speech, is a very common habit among readers. It occurs when you say the words in your head as you read them. Although this habit is a natural reading process, it will also slow down your reading.
If you can stop subvocalizing, then you can boost the number of words you process by 200%. Some tricks to stop saying words in your head is to hum, chew a piece of gum, eat, or repeat “A-E-I-O-U” while reading. So, if you ever catch yourself subvocalizing again, do any of those tricks until you stop.
2. Point your fingers at the text
Sometimes we have this habit of backtracking or looking back and forth to dwell on the words you’ve just read but didn’t understand. It’s like stammering but in a visual sense. To break this habit, point the text you’re reading with your fingers.
Unlike your eyes, you can trust your fingers more to not skip backward as often. Of course, while doing so, you need to focus on each word to comprehend the text. Still, it’s an effective yet easy way to speed read.
3. Mark and highlight
Personally speaking, my top reading and study habit was to mark and highlight. Reading while also underlining or highlighting the things you think are important and needs to be read more later helps studying for exams easier.
That’s because it will allow you to concentrate on the most important parts of the reading material. Also, it will help you effectively and quickly go over your materials later on for review since you’ve already highlighted pretty much everything you need to remember.
4. Learn how to smartly skim and scan
The brain can understand a concept without needing to read a full article or book about it. Some sections of the texts don’t provide valuable information the same way as not every word is crucial to convey an idea. Texts like these are best consumed by skimming. Just go over them quickly and focus instead on the important stuff.
Understanding the outline also helps you in determining which parts to skip. You can do this by reading first the few introductory parts to get the message. Then you can scan the table of contents, headings, and subheadings.
5. Cover the texts you’ve already read
When you read, it’s not necessary to spell out every single word. That’s because the brain is already wired to recognize groups of words without having to read the letter by letter. The idea here is that the less text your eyes see, your brain is somehow tricked into focusing better on the visible text.
Hence, if you notice your reading is lagging because your concentration is messed up, try covering the parts you’ve already read. You’d be surprised by how much it’s easier for you to focus and quicker for you to read after doing this.
6. Use one reading format
While you’re preparing for your exams, as much as possible, use one kind of document format. Some people prefer reading online or through the screen. If you’re one of those, then choose between an iPad, laptop, or desktop.
Meanwhile, if you’re the type to prefer reading through a physical material, then get a copy of the book, if possible instead of photocopies. Training yourself to read one kind of document only helps you read quicker in that format.
7. Make it a habit to read every day
Get yourself accustomed to reading something every day. And by something, we aren’t talking about social media posts. Choose a written, editorial piece that has some authority on the topic and read it all in a go. Such reading material can be a blog piece, newspaper article, or magazine article.
Making reading a habit can greatly help in speeding up your reading. For non-regular readers, start with easier yet interesting books and materials. This will help boost your eagerness to read, while also improving your reading speed.
8. Write down the main points
After you speed read whatever you’re reading, try to say or write down the main points to make sure that you comprehended what you read. There’s no point in reading if you don’t absorb it. Practice this skill by stating the main point after each paragraph, page, chapter, etc.
9. Take a break
When your brain has had too much information to process whatever you’re reading, that’s the time to take a break. Don’t push yourself to keep on reading.
Leave your table or reading space and do whatever you want that will relax your eyes. Try reading in a go not longer than 40 to 45 minutes to avoid straining your eyes and exhausting your brain.
10. Eliminate distractions
Turn off your gadgets and create a quiet and nice setting to read your materials. Distractions can incredibly drain your brain’s ability to concentrate and comprehend. So, to focus better and maximize your brain’s capacity, make sure your reading time is completely free from any interruptions and distraction, be it in the form of technology or your family or friends.
Many aren’t the biggest fans of reading. However, as much as any of you hate it, reading is essential for your studies and growth. Reading faster takes lots of practice. Just remember that the more you read, the faster you’ll get at reading. But while you’re at it, make sure to take a break too.
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