It has always been advised that the best way to solve a comprehension is to read it once, read the questions then and finally read the comprehension all over again, this time carefully observing the expected answers. However, this is often a very time consuming process and in competitive exams, it becomes extremely essential to manage time. So here are 10 tips for speed reading as far as comprehensions are concerned:
- The first most important thing to ensure while reading a comprehension is to keep the environment free from all sorts of distractions. Since the environment we are considering is most likely an examination room, it largely depends on you to focus completely on the material at hand rather than on unnecessary disturbances.
- For some people, it helps to use an object (like a pencil) to trace the words as they read it. This is because the pace at which they trace the words is usually higher than the pace at which they actually read and this naturally increases their reading speed. However, in computer-based competitive exams, like SBI PO, this is not possible. So you do the next best thing – jot down the starting few words of important points as they appear.
- Reading silently improves your reading speed as compared to reading aloud. Thus, even though some people may speak out the words unknowingly, a conscious effort on their part to read silently will greatly enhance their speed.
- You must skim (not read meticulously) through the comprehension to obtain a fair idea or a gist of the theme and then read the questions given following which the comprehension can be dealt with more in depth. This helps save time and simultaneously establishes the content and purpose of the comprehension in the reader’s mind. However, the distinction between skimming through a paragraph and superficial reading must be made clear. Skimming involves going through the main idea of the paragraph while superficial reading is merely mechanical wherein a person fails to understand or make head or tail of what is given.
- Scientific research advises that a person maintain a particular distance between his eyes and the material to be read. This must be optimum in the sense that the person must be far enough to include many words at one glance but not so distant from the content that it may strain his eyes. This is based on the concept of peripheral vision and least distance of distinct vision.
- Using a blank card or sheet to cover what you have already read may help overcome a major barrier to speed reading. This is because people tend to ‘regress’ or go back to words and sentences that they have already read. This neither adds to understanding nor to memory and thus, it is best that such regressions be avoided.
- Eye movements also play a very important role in determining one’s speed of reading. The more you move your eyes, the slower your speed becomes. Thus, one must try his best to read blocks of words together with little eye movement than constantly moving one’s eyes to read every single word.
- It is also important to allocate a specific amount of time for solving the given unseen passage beforehand. This slight pressure of adhering to a given deadline can psychologically enhance your general speed levels.
- Know which topics you can handle at what speeds. Familiar topics will necessarily be easier to read, and so you can take less time reading the passage. However, if you come across an unfamiliar topic, do not try to force yourself to try and read faster than you can comprehend. This will only force you to reread the passage thereby wasting time or to answer the given questions incorrectly because your comprehension of the passage was insufficient.
- Lastly, practice makes perfect and you must revise this skill as much as possible. You must read daily and assign a particular time of the day for dedicated speed reading. It is only through sustained efforts that your speed will increase.
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