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Speed Reading Tips for College Students

Holly Lane -- Speed reading is more than just skimming through pages. Understanding the process can actually help you both read faster and better retain what you've read, especially if your classes are text heavy.

As a single parent and a full time college student, I had to find creative and effective ways to manage my time. At the top of my time management priorities was figuring out how to trim down the time it took to perform everyday tasks. When I took an Early American Lit class, it became very apparent to me that I simply had to learn how to read faster, or else drop the course. That's when I began researching speed reading. Through my research, I was able to improve upon my reading time by over 250 percent! Want to know how? Here are some speed reading tips for college students:

Read early, and prioritize.

Studies show that your mind is sharpest (and best at things like speed reading), in the early hours of the day, before you have a million other things to think about. Set your reading aside for first thing in the morning. Also, read what's most important first. Again, studies show that your mind absorbs more at the beginning than at the end of a reading session.

Choose the right environment.

You should be able to get in "the zone," so to speak. That means your environment should be conducive to uninterrupted concentration. Speed reading happens most naturally when you are able to get on a roll -- and that means being thoroughly engrained in what you are reading -- without any distractions.

Familiarize yourself with the material.

Many people don't understand that speed reading is about much more than just opening a book and quickly skimming through pages. It is actually a process -- a way of training your mind to think and act differently -- and it involves ample preparation. Before you attempt to speed read a book, you first need to familiarize yourself with the structure and organization of the book. This means you need to examine the book's table of contents, chapter headings, outline, synopsis, etc., so that your subconscious mind knows how to identify and make sense of the rapid flow of information it is taking in.

Form questions to answer as you read.

Once you've familiarized yourself with the structure and organization of what you will be reading, form questions in your mind that you intend to answer as you read. Subconsciously, you will be making sense of everything you read as you go, because your brain will be affixed on the task of answering the questions you have formulated from what you already know will be in the text.

Scroll along.

Use either your finger or a pointed object to scroll along the lines as you read them. Not only will this keep you on point, but it also serves to reinforce the words as you read them.

Use your resources.

There are a number of great speed reading books, online courses, and classes out there to help you develop your speed reading skills. A great one that worked for me was Speed Reader X -- but each program on the market is unique, so research several to find one (or more) that is best suited to your preferences.

Anyone can learn to speed read. It is not a magic trick, or a secret formula. It is really just a matter of learning some simple techniques, and then applying them in the right circumstances. Try these methods to improve your reading speed, and remember that you'll get better with practice.

Source: Ezinearticles

Holly Lane is a single mother of two boys, a freelance writer, and an avid learner. It is her goal to help others accomplish their dreams by sharing her experience. She has just released her first eBook, How to Go to College as a Single Parent, and is now offering it free if you visit her site, For more about the Speed Reader X program mentioned in this article, click here.

© 2012 Holly Lane

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