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Read Fast !

Learn More !!

 

How can you Learn five times more than what you generally learn without spending an extra minute?

By reading five times faster!!

Yes, reading fast is an extremely important skill that is almost completely ignored in our schools and colleges. This skill is even more important in today's information age as every one of us is expected to read a lot. There are two advantages of speed reading. 

  • You can read a lot more in a lot less time. Well this is sort of straight forward and I need not explain its benefits. But, if you think this itself is great, wait for the second...

  • You can remember a lot better. Yes, those who read faster remember better.

Okay, these advantages are definitely well worth improving your reading speeds. All the people conducting entrance exams for higher education realized this. That is why GRE, GMAT and CAT require you to read above 550 words per minute. If you are an average reader, you are reading at slightly less than 100 words per minute. If you can improve your speed to 550 words per minute, you can read 5 times as much without spending an extra minute.

Then comes the next biggest question: Can you improve the reading speeds and the answer is

... Yes! 

Just like, vocabulary, grammar, even reading is mastering a few skills and practicing them without failure. You can do that effortlessly (by spending less than 15 minutes a day). 

To understand how to do these, you need to know the basic skills involved in increasing the reading speeds. 

  • You should not read loudly: Yes, your mind can read a lot faster than you can read. By reading loudly you are forcing both (mind and mouth) to synchronize and hence are reducing your speeds. SO, next time onwards practice reading within. 

  • You should read as much as possible in one fixation: Well, this is slightly technical and hence needs little more explanation. While reading, your eyes focus on a part of the material you are reading (for a very poor reader this part is only a few characters and for an advanced reader this can be as much as 10-20 words.). 

    If you are an average reader, you must be reading anywhere between 1-3 words in each focus. This focus is called fixation. So, your reading is not a continuous process. You fixate and read a few words then move on and refixate and read a few more words. The time between two fixations (when you are moving on) is actually useless and wastes your energy and tires you. So, to become a good reader, you need to increase your span of fixation. There are a few scientific methods of doing this and probably a good resource to start is the book "How to Read Better and Faster". 

  • You should learn to skip: If a sentence is "Rama is a good boy"; an inexperienced reader reads all the words and an experience reader just skims and identifies "Rama" and "Good". Now, this is a straight 60% savings in the number of words. This means you spend only 40% of the time reading if you can skip efficiently and still get the entire gist. More experienced readers skip paragraphs and pages and still not lose much. This requires enormous amount of practice and you can only develop with constant reading. 

  • You should adjust your pace for occasion: If you are reading for an exam, you need to study, take down notes and revisit each section at least once. If you are preparing for a class, you should read to follow the lectures. Finally, if you are reading fiction, you should read to have fun. It all depends on what your final aim is. So, skip, re-read for the purpose. 

  • You should have a good vocabulary: Yes, one thing that slows down your reading speeds is the need to understand many words independently. It not only slows you down but also irritates you enough to keep you away from any serious reading. A good vocabulary hence is a must for speed reading. 

  • Finally, you should read, read and read: You should read at least one book a month and one journal a week to be a good reader. Constant reading not only add you more knowledge, but also helps you practice all the essential strategies of speed reading.

Okay, do these strategies really work: well, I was reading at 75 words around 5 years back. Today, I read at 400 words per minute on topics that I am not familiar with or 600 words per minute on topics that I am familiar with. Well, I guess that was a solid improvement considering the fact that my friends who spent as much time as I did on reading knew as much as I knew 5 years back and they know 5-7 times lower than me today.

If it is that easy to zoom ahead in the competition, why not do it...

 

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