10 Easy Ways to Read Faster When You Study
If your author is good author, he or she will begin each paragraph with a key statement that tells you what that paragraph is about. By reading only the first sentence, you can determine if the paragraph has information you need to know.
The last sentence in a paragraph should also contain clues for you about the importance of the material covered. A last sentence often serves two functions — it wraps up the thought expressed and provides a connection to the next paragraph.
When you've skimmed first and last sentences and determined the paragraph is worth reading, you still don't need to read every word. Move your eyes quickly over each line and look for phrases and key words. Your mind will automatically fill in the words between.
Look for key points while you're reading for phrases. You're probably already aware of the key words in the subject you're studying. They'll pop out at you. Spend a little more time with the material around those key points.
I know you were taught not to write in your books, and some books should be kept pristine, but a textbook is for studying. Mark key thoughts in the margins. If it makes you feel better, use a pencil. Even better, buy a packet of those little stickie tabs and slap one on the page with a short note.
Use all the tools the author provides — lists, bullets, sidebars, anything extra in the margins. Authors usually pull out key points for special treatment. They're clues to important information. Use them all. Besides, lists are usually easier to remember.
Take notes for writing your own practice tests. When you read something you know will show up on a test, write it down in the form of a question. Note the page number beside it so you can check your answers if necessary.
Reading with good posture helps you read longer and stay awake longer. If you're slumped over, your body is working extra hard to breathe and do all the other automatic things it doesn't ask your help with. Give your body a break. Sit in a healthy way and you'll last a lot longer.
Reading fast takes practice, practice, practice. Try it when you've got nothing on the line, when you're not pressured with a deadline. Practice when you're reading the newspaper. Like music lessons or learning a new language, practice makes all the difference.