Speed reading is not magic

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Review - A review is a survey of what you have covered. It is a review of what you are supposed to accomplish, not what you are going to do. Rereading is an important part of the review process. Reread with the idea that you are measuring what you have gained from the process. During review, it's a good time to go over notes you have taken to help clarify points you may have missed or don't understand.

As you dive into the book for a thorough reading, much of what you now examine is readily intelligible. Preview each chapter again, spending a half a dozen seconds on each page. As you read, read every phrase as fast as comfortable. If you have any notes, place them in the margin, but don't underline the text. If you want to mark a passage, but you don't have any notes, place a simple check mark in the margin even with the passage.

The best time to review is when you have just finished studying something. Don't wait until just before an examination to begin the review process. Before an examination, do a final review. If you manage your time, the final review can thought of as a "fine-tuning" of your knowledge of the material. Thousands of high school and college students have followed the SQ3R steps to achieve higher grades with less stress.

After you have read and recited the entire chapter, write questions for those points you have highlighted/underlined in the margins. If your method of recitation included note-taking in the left hand margins of your notebook, write questions for the notes you have taken.

Page through the text and/or your notebook to re-acquaint yourself with the important points. Cover the right hand column of your text/note-book and orally ask yourself the questions in the left hand margins. Orally recite or write the answers from memory. Make "flash cards" for those questions which give you difficulty. Develop mnemonic devices for material which need to be memorized.

Alternate between your flash cards and notes and test yourself (orally or in writing) on the questions you formulated. Make additional flash cards if necessary.

Using the text and notebook, make a table of contents - list all the topics and sub-topics you need to know from the chapter. From the Table of Contents, make a study Sheet Map. Recite the information orally and in your own words as you put the study Sheet together.

Now that you have consolidated all the information you need for that chapter, periodically review the Sheet so that at test time you will not have to cram.

Speed reading tips

  1. Make use of the head-start you got during your preview.
  2. Read for ideas and concepts, not for isolated words. Pace yourself fast enough that you have to read concepts ... not words.
  3. Concentrate - if you push your rate up to capacity, you won't have time to think about other things. Set reasonable but stiff time goals and race the clock.
  4. Think, interpret, analyze the first time you read -- avoid unnecessary rereading.
  5. Note key words (subjects, verbs, objects).
  6. Pace yourself - as fast as your purpose will permit. Pacing will discourage the tendency toward habitual and unnecessary re-reading and helps to keep your attention focused on the page. Use an index card, a ruler, or any other straight-edge and move it rapidly down the page as you read. Move it lightly, fluidly, with one hand only. Move it either ahead of you down the page to act as a pace-setter OR let it fall along behind you, covering up what you have read and therefore forcing your initial concentration. Move the edge of your hand or the spread fingers of your hand down the page, reading the lines as they pop up from underneath your hand. Move your finger or pencil point lightly down the margin beside the lines you are reading.


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