The Art of Reading
Most of us are trapped in our own nets of reading pathetically slow. Because the last time we actually learnt a new technique regarding how to read was perhaps when we were in kindergarten. And we happily believe that our pace in reading is pre-determined and we can hardly do anything about it. We also apprehend that if we happen to fasten our pace we would not be able to comprehend properly or that our brain will not store the information for a longer duration of time. For similar other reasons we do not bother to check our reading speed and we remain ignorant of our potentialities.
But take a few minutes time to think if you could accelerate your reading speed! Won’t you be left with more time to read more, think more, revise more and score better?
Even after reading blogs about speed reading, photo reading etc I wasn’t very convinced that I would be able to apply those myself. But when the deadlines neared I discovered how well I could apply them and friends I was amazed with the results myself. One big systemic error that most of us have is sub-vocalisation . We tend to read making sounds or we do that inside our brain. That way our reading capacity becomes only equal to how fast we can speak. If you are still doing that now while reading this post, please take a note. We have learnt in our school books that sound travels slower than light, similarly our eyes can read much faster than we can talk. And when we train our eyes to read without subvocalising our reading speed automatically gets doubled up.
Another important thing is photo reading the text before we actually start reading. Our brain gets to know about what we are about to read and it is much easier to learn about the things that we are already familiar with. This works during exams as well and when we have a quick scan of our question paper before we actually start writing, our brain already makes an effort to organise our answers for the questions that our eyes have taken a note of.
It is also important that we highlight or underline what we have read so that when we revise we go through only the important key points of the text. But that should only be done after we have read the text once, if we happen to highlight the very first time we might end up highlighting many unnecessary things which our mind can easily remember.
Now to consolidate what you have read, you must revise. Without revising you will forget 80% of what was read and the effort nullifies. If you want to reproduce the exact crux of the material at your exam paper you must revise at least thrice. The first revision should be in the very same day, second in a week and the third in a month. This method makes you remember with high accuracy. Also it is important that you take a look at the previous years question papers or mock papers for the exam you are preparing for. This is very crucial because otherwise the revision becomes boring and our brain skims through the same things it did in the first reading. Also when we practise previous years question papers/mock papers our system does not take a fight/flight mode during exams.
It is very important to know your efficiency. All good sportsperson or during ancient times the warriors had a good knowledge about their productivity. We are living in the 21st century highly competitive world in which we make a vast use of data analysis so that we do not make any ruinous mistakes. Therefore it would be very naive on our part if we do not know how much we can do in an hour. To measure your speed, you can take the help of a stop watch and record how much you can do in 10 minutes. It is also a very well designed technique to keep your attention intact when the stop watch is running. But long hours at the table without taking any breaks can be very detrimental too. Our maximum attention span is of 45 minutes and after every 45 minutes we must relax our eyes, look around meditate for five minutes and get back to the track without extending the break for too long.
Our physical well being is equally important for our productivity. Eating healthy and light keeps our system active. It is also important that we maintain a good posture while studying and spare an hour for exercises or playing a sport. Our brain cells tend to switch to an inactive mode if no physical exercise is done. A regular eight hour sleep is recommended because a good sleep helps in retaining things for a long term.
I hope this post helps the readers, many points that I have mentioned here are suggested, applied and have been profited by them by my brother Anshuman Gogoi. He had been my guide in most of my endeavours. With a promise to come up with a new post till then happy reading.