Speed Reading as a Revision Aid

undefinedWhen it comes to revision and cramming prior to an exam, speed reading can be your secret weapon – not only will you blast through your preparations but you’ll also retain more information. 

Like most things in life, learning the technique of speed reading is easy, but to get really good at it you need to practise again and again. Once you’re good at it, you’ll soon find you’re speed reading through emails, texts, notes or books without even realising it!

Here are a few tips for reading faster and more effectively in order to retain information and ensure you ace your exams:

Get an overview of what you’re trying to read and learn by analysing the section quickly, paying particular attention to headings, illustrations, and indexes as clues of what’s to come.

Backtracking slows readers down, as they will often read a few words then dart their eyes back to the beginning of the sentence to reiterate and understand further. To counteract this and pace your reading, use your index finger to dictate the pace – this will ensure you don’t get distracted and encourages you to absorb more of the text.

Before you start speed reading, identify some of the key words important to what you want to achieve. If its opinion, some key words to identify are ‘but’ and ‘however’ so you can identify the argument. If it’s just information you’re looking for, key words to identify include ‘who’ and ‘when’ so you can collect the information more and more quickly.

Read the first paragraph of the section you want to revise as it will often familiarise you with the topics covered. From there you can skim read through the rest in order to find those key words relevant to your goals. This will also help you become familiar with the language and theme of the book or paper so you become more accustomed to the language if it’s a particularly dense piece of revision.

Be Picky
Only read what you identify as being important to your end goals and highlight the bits you find relevant.

When you get to the end of the section you’re revising, analyse what you knew before and what you’ve learned from going through the section at speed. This reiterates the points you’ve picked up.

Remember – the more you do it, the better you’ll get!
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