Speed reading is not magic

Knowing how deeply to study the material

When you only need the shallowest knowledge of a subject, you can skim the material. Here you would read only chapter headings, introductions and summaries.

If you need a moderate level of information on a subject, then you can scan the text. Here you read the chapter introductions and summaries in detail, and may speed-read the contents of the chapters, picking out and understanding key words and concepts. At this level of looking at a document it is worth paying attention to diagrams and graphs.

Only when you need detailed knowledge of a subject is it worth studying the text. Here it is best to skim the material first to get an overview of the subject. Once you have done this you can read it in detail while seeing how the information presented relates to the overall structure of the subject. An effective method of getting the deepest level of understanding possible of a text is to use a formal method such as SQ3R.

You don't need to read all of what you DO read. Do you read every article of every magazine, every chapter of every book? If so, you're probably spending a lot of time reading stuff you don't need.

Be choosy: select the chapters and articles that are important. Ignore the rest.


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