Speed Reading for the SAT and ACT (and anything else)
If you’ve ever seen a world record speed reader flip pages, you know how amazing it can be. These speed readers appear to be riffling through a book, except with the comprehension of someone who spent hours poring over and studying the same material. While we may never reach those epic speeds of reading, there are many skills we can pick up from these award-winning speed readers to help improve our test taking and study efficiency.
1. Use a tracking object
For most people, the most convenient (and free) object is your finger. Other tracking devices you can use include pens, bookmarks, and a notecard. Our eyes and attention naturally focus on moving objects. To take advantage of this fact, trace along the lines of text with your finger as you read, pushing yourself to move your finger faster across the page to increase your speed. This skill alone will increase your reading speed drastically.
2. Stop subvocalization
Ever hear yourself reading? Or feel your lips moving as you sound out the words? These are all examples of subvocalization. Many people subvocalize subconsciously when they read. As you might predict, this slows your reading down considerably. To train yourself to avoid this, you can try chewing gum, focus on tracking your finger, and/or listening to music.
3. Decrease the number of eye fixations
While reading, our eyes make jerky movements, and rest on certain words, or fixation points. To speed up your reading, try to make fewer fixations on every line, instead utilizing more of your peripheral vision as you fixate to read the surrounding words. You’ll be surprised at how many more words you can read with this trick!
4. Read it right the first time
With speed reading, the main issue is comprehension since you are reading so quickly. Eliminate distractions and train yourself to concentrate so you aren’t increasing your time by having to reread the same text over again.
Utilize these skills to improve your test scores and save time studying!