At the end of each semester you find yourself bombed with the exams. Probably you are ready to brace the difficulty that some of the subjects pose to you. But, you may not know how to study effectively for those subjects.
One of the key tools you can use for effective preparation for your exams is good reading strategy.
Reading is the best way to study for an exam. It helps you in getting introduced to the topic or chapter and gain in-depth knowledge.
As an assignment help provider, we understand your problems. In this write-up, first we will take a look at some of the myths regarding reading.
In the next step, we will discuss some tips and strategies that may help you in reading effectively for your exams.
Myths and Facts on How to Study or Read
Here we share with you six myths that may not let you read faster and effectively for your college exams.
Myth 1: Reading every word is a must
As a learner and educator, we can understand the pain you feel when someone suggests you to read each word of a paragraph or a chapter.
In such situation, you may think, “Man! I asked you how to study fast, and you suggest that I have to read every word!”
As per the experts, it is a myth that you have to read each word while reading.
It is obvious that there are many words in a sentence that you do not require to read to understand the actual meaning of whole paragraph.
So, do not waste time reading such words. All you should do is to read the words that are most important.
It will definitely help you in improving your reading speed. We have shared few best methods ahead which will help you in speed reading.
Myth 2: One time reading is enough
It is clear that you have to read faster for your exams. But, you cannot expect to cram everything in one go.
If you do, you may find yourself stuck at some stages in the exam. Possible reason can be the information gap due to your one-time reading.
Also, we tend to miss lots of things in the first attempt. The same goes with one time reading.
That is the reason we call it a myth. The best way to study and read will be to:
- Select only relevant sections from your material
- Read those sections in whole
- Remember to reread in the future
- Spend few minutes to recall all read topics within your mind
- Try to find out the topics that you have understood better, and
- Keep a check on the topics that are still unclear
- Revisit unclear topics
If you want to know how to study well for an exam, then the ideal method would be to give less time to reading. Instead, give more time to testing what you have learned.
In this process, you should review, organize and try to relate to the concepts and facts you learned.
You should give a thought to find the best ways to apply a learned concept. Also, master the technical terms and formulas of the subject.
Myth 3: Skipping paragraphs is equal to committing a sin
One of the myths that someone can instill in your mind is that skipping paragraph is not ideal. But such advices are without any solid evidence.
It can make you read the material in a way that will be a waste of time and effort. You will find no growth in your struggle to read faster for your college exams.
The books and online websites are full of information. So you may think:
- How to study fast in lesser time and with selective material?
- Would it be right to skip some paragraphs during reading?
- Will that effort be fruitful?
Well, in educationists’ opinion it would! Experts suggest that the books you read for your exams or assignment are for the references.
Those books are not some novels that you have to read word by word in order to get the hang of the story.
Skip less important paragraphs during reading. Read paragraphs that are beneficial for your coursework.
Myth 4: Reading machines are important to improve your reading speed
You can find various machines, online and offline, that are available to help you out in doing many tasks. Even you can find tools that help you in speed reading.
However, you can call it a shear lack of judgment if someone says that machines could improve your reading speed.
You have to remember that the reading machines are inflexible and unthinking devices.
Machines make you read at the same pace without giving concern to whether a sentence is trivial or useful, easy or tough. You need to read faster for your college assignment and exams.
So, an ideal tool to use would be a 3×5 pusher card. You can use it as a pacer while reading.
Reading using your finger is another traditional method. Your parents and teachers could have taught you. You can use this method for better reading.
We will share some additional techniques ahead on how to study and read fast in the sections ahead.
Myth 5: Skimming while reading rapidly reduces comprehension
When it comes to reading, one of the fears you may have is about comprehending the topic if you skim through it or read rapidly.
The two points given below can help you in unburdening your mind from this myth:
- Lots of students read rapidly and understand what they read.
- Students who read word by word may find their comprehension level below average.
So, when you think how to study faster and get your comprehension right at the same time, it does not matter whether you read fast or slow. Both lead to similar results.
The best way to read fast and get the hang of the topic at hand would be to extract and retain the important points from the reading material.
You should locate the main ideas and details and make sure to find all of it in short time. This way you will witness improvement, both, in your reading speed and comprehension.
Myth 6: My eyes can’t take the workload required for fast reading
You may think that you need to have good vision or need to wear glasses to increase your reading speed.
You may also think that your eyes are slow in catching the words written on the book or online study material.
But, you should understand that it is your brain that decodes the material your eyes read. It is your brain that lags in the reading not the eyes.
So, to read faster, follow these steps:
- Focus on the reading material precisely
- Stay normal and go through it without worrying about the eyes.
Ways to achieve active involvement in reading
We hope that the previous section of this article gave you the idea of the different types of reading myths.
However, you may still not be able to figure out how to study effectively for exams.
According to the experts, active involvement in reading is the key to successful reading. It can help you prepare well for the exams.
So, in this section, let’s discuss the tips and tricks for the active involvement in reading.
Realize the purpose of the reading
In your life, there is a purpose behind everything you do. You play games to have fun, go to beach to relax your mind, and do other things.
All have some purpose.
It is obvious that you may not be able to get the desired result in anything if you are not aware of the purpose of that thing.
Your college assignment or exam reading requires you to do the same.
To realize how to study or read with the clarity of purpose, you should give some thought to the two main points:
- The purpose of your reading and
- What you want to achieve through reading.
It is must for you to find out why you read and the things you look for when you read. You should be clear about what you want to achieve through reading.
These five questions may help you in knowing your purpose for the reading and how to study:
- Is locating some specific information the purpose of your reading?
- Are you reading to get the hang of the difficult ideas?
- Do you want to gain an overview of the topic through reading?
- Is the purpose of your reading to enjoy the words and descriptions?
- Are you reading to relax instead of learning?
Considering these points may prove beneficial for you in realizing the purpose of your reading. As a result, you may be able to read actively.
Learn to differentiate between most important and least important
It is obvious that your college life is hectic. You have to attend lectures every day, work on the assignments, and spend time with yourself.
It may leave you with limited time to read. With short amount of time in hand, you may think, “how to study better and fast?”
You should know the difference between the most and the least important sections of the material for qualitative reading.
Your professor may help you in becoming aware of that.
You may also select what you have to read by assessing your knowledge and skills of a topic or a chapter. For that, you need to find out your awareness of the specific topic.
You must also try to find out the concepts or essentials of the topic that you may not have learned or need improvement.
Below are the four ways that may help you in wise selection of what you have to read:
- Know what you want to read.
- Identify relevant keywords that could help you in online search of the topic.
- Use keywords while browsing the table of contents and index of a book to find the relevant pages or information.
- Get the general idea of the whole topic to narrow down on the most useful fields in the topic.
Your focus must be on the questions/task
You will be unsure of how to study or write an answer if you don’t understand the question.
A question is such a crucial thing that if you don’t understand it, then you may not able to write the correct answer. As a result, your academics may suffer.
To help you avoid that, given below are the three tips that may help you in focusing on the questions and tasks:
- First of all focus on the keywords that your question has. It will give you the exact idea of what you have to write in the answer. For example, let us assume your assignment question is “Discuss the principles of accounting”. Here, you need to read about ‘principles of accounting’ to write the correct answer.
- Read and search for the relevant material to feed in the coursework. The material may be in the form of content, examples and evidence as per the requirements of the question.
- You must grasp the question clearly prior to starting the reading. This will waste less time on reading irrelevant material.
Know what you already know before reading
When you sit to study, you may be unsure on how to study in the best way.
As per the experts, it would be ideal for you to give a thought to what you know about the topic before you start reading.
You must link your knowledge with the newly learned things. It may help you in reading faster and better.
You should keep these five points in mind while doing this:
- Realize what you know or think about the topic at hand. You may have gained knowledge of this through lectures or self-reading.
- Select a source that might offer you a good starting point and have a reading list. Start slowly by reading the introduction or preface if you are on a new chapter.
- Read all the questions carefully before starting the reading. You can find the questions at the end of each chapter or the assignment.
- Identify your expectations from whatever you read. To put it simply, try to think what topic may offer you in terms of information.
- Ask questions to yourself using different angles. Reading with questions in mind will help you get the hang of the topic.
Break the reading material into different segments
You may feel exhausted reading a large amount of information. You may think how to study such vast information in short time.
In such situation, it is better for you to break the reading material in segments. It will be easy to manage.
You can do it by keeping these points in mind:
- Identify the purpose of reading. Make sure your purpose is achievable in available time
- Set an objective for yourself. For example, give a thought to how many pages or points you will read in certain amount of time.
- Take breaks while reading. But make sure breaks are not longer than the reading sessions!
Keeping record of the reading material is a must
You have to read a particular topic again in the future. That makes it a must for you to keep the record of whatever you read.
You need to keep track of the source that gives you the information and ideas on the topic.
Keep record of the following elements:
- Place of publication
- Page number of the book
It will help you in getting back to your study source easily if you need to refer it again in the future.
Additional Reading Strategies
In the previous section, we discussed some points that may help you in reading actively.
In the third and final section of this article, we will discuss how to study or read using additional strategies.
These reading strategies will you in the exam preparation.
Get the overview of the text by previewing it
Your objective is to read faster for your college homework or exams.
So, it is better not to stumble upon information that is less beneficial.
Preview the reading material before start to read.
Benefits of previewing the topic:
- It helps you identify whether you should use a book to read this topic or a journal would be the right choice.
- You will get the general sense of the structure of a chapter.
- By previewing the topic before reading, you may find it easy to reach the relevant information.
- It may also get easy for you to identify the sections of a chapter that are most important and the ones that are less important.
Five Ways to preview your reading material:
- Start with reading the author details and title.
- Read the abstract to get fair idea of the topic.
- Read the sections that stand out. These sections may be headings, subheadings, the summaries of the chapters and the highlighted texts.
- Preview illustrations, graphs, and tables in your reading material. It will give idea about the chapter in quick time. So, you should take a look at all of it as well.
- You can also read the first sentence of every paragraph to gain much knowledge about the reading material.
Skimming may help you in reading at a rapid pace
When you have short time in hand to prepare for the exams, you may be unsure of how to study fast.
Skimming helps you in such situation. Skimming is a reading method that allows you to run your eyes over large information quickly.
It may seem similar to previewing, but it is different as it involves the paragraph text.
Through skimming, you may grasp the main ideas of a topic without worrying about the detail. You can read a chapter in few minutes through skimming.
Benefits of skimming
- Finding the relevant sections from vast information in quick time may get easy for you.
- You may get the quick snapshot of entire material.
- Skimming may help you in gaining an overview of the topic before reading in detail.
How to Study by skimming
- Check on the bold print and graphics.
- Start reading from the beginning and scan the text quickly.
- You need to make sure that you do not read the whole text. Focus on the few words from each paragraph, maybe the first and last sentences.
Another method for better exam preparation is scanning.
It is the method that allows you to find the specific pieces of information from the text in quick time.
Scanning allows you to find the specific information from the text as per your requirements.
Keep these points in mind for better scanning
- You need to get the overview of the topic before start scanning.
- You can read the text quickly by giving right amount of focus to it. To improve the focus, you can move your finger over the text.
- As soon as you understand the written material, start reading the next piece of information.
- Slow down and read the complex section word by word.
Intensive reading helps you in reading effectively for exams.
It helps you in situations where you have done skimming and scanning, and need to read a topic word by word to get the proper hang of it.
Six ways to read intensively
- Start reading from the beginning. Find and highlight the words or phrases that seem unfamiliar to you. But, one thing you should make sure that it does not interrupt the flow of the reading.
- There may be some text that may seem easy to you. For the efficient use of it, you should highlight or make brief notes of it.
- Read tough sections at least once and make notes of it.
- Every paragraph of your study material has a main idea. You may find it in the first or last sentence of the paragraph. Read first sentence at least once to understand the main idea of the paragraph.
- Note down complex words and look for it in the dictionary after finishing the reading. You can also reread the sentence to get vague meaning of the difficult word.
- Keep record of the bibliographic information and page numbers. You can also check out our other how to study and time management article if you want to learn how to manage your time while studying.
When we say critical reading, one thing that may cross your mind is that you have to find fault in something.
However, critical reading is not that, it allows you to learn how the author has reached the main ideas in his book.
It makes you aware of the strengths and weaknesses of a text.
Let’s see some of the key benefits of critical reading to get the better clarity of it.
- With the critical reading, you may be able to understand the purpose of the writer. In addition, you will identify the underlying values of the topic.
- You will understand the patterns of the argument.
- You will be able to link the text ideas to the ideas of the others.
- You will get familiar with the alternatives of the idea you are reading.
Reading to remember
Another method that experts suggest for better reading is the SQ3R method.
S = Survey
It involves doing the survey of the written material. In other words, you have to gain the overview of the topic by scanning it.
Q = Question
Ask questions before reading anything. Asking questions help you in memorizing the read material.
R1 = Read
Read is the first of the 3 Rs in the SQ3R reading method. You need to be ready to read, at least twice. First read to get the overview of the topic, then read word by word.
R2 = Recall
Now close the book and start recalling whatever you read or learned. Make notes and cross check it with the text written in the book.
R3 = Review
Finally, review whatever you have read. Revise what you have learned and check the accuracy of your notes.
With that, this article comes to an end. If you found it useful, then share it with your friends and tell them how to study well for their exams.