4 Simple Ways to Get Faster at Reading
A great deal of the LSAT is reading dense and (let’s face it) boring material. Getting quicker at reading, and soaking in the information that you’re reading, can help you immensely.
Here are the 4 things you can do to speed your reading up so that you have a much more comfortable amount of time to get through the test.
- Practice daily
Duh, right? Just like any other motor skill, the way to improve at reading is consistent practice. For those who need to improve their reading speed, this is actually the one thing I recommend to do for the LSAT other than practicing actual LSAT questions.
All you need is 10-20 minutes per day. (Consistency is the most important – short daily practice is much better than 2 hours on 1 day per week.) Start with easy reading that you enjoy. Over time as you get faster, trend towards more dense and difficult reading, and stuff that you’re less interested in. Just make sure that you do it everyday.
The key here, though, will be how you practice reading, which we’ll get into in our next point:
- Train yourself to read steadily without regressing
When you’re reading through a boring Reading Comp passage, do you ever find yourself reading over the same sentence multiple times? For most people, the answer is yes. Learning to read faster isn’t about moving your eyes faster – your eyes can easily dart across a room in a split second. Rather, it’s about focusing on what you’re reading so you don’t have to read the same word or sentence twice. If you can fully engage your attention muscle the first time you read something, you can soak it in without having to reread it. Thus it’s more about training your focus than it is about training your eyes.
The way to do this is, as you’re reading, to go as slowly as you have to in order to never have to look back. This will force you to stay focused. It doesn’t matter if you’re going slowly – your one goal is simply to never have to read anything twice. Go at a steady and comfortable pace, and if you feel your focus starting to fade, just pause, regroup, and pick up where you left off. In this way, you can train yourself to always be paying full attention when your eyes are moving over words. Then, if you keep practicing like this, you’ll automatically get faster without having to think about it. (In fact, this is much like practicing the LSAT untimed.)
Break the habit of letting your eyes scan over words without soaking in what you’re reading, and you’ll be able to read dense material very quickly.
Here’s another habit worth breaking:
- Don’t vocalize words as you read them
This is something that most people do unconsciously. It’s most likely because when we first learn how to read, we are doing it out loud. So when we start reading in our heads, we’re still imagining ourselves saying the words as we read them. There’s only one problem – our eyes can move much faster than our lips can, so this slows us down. This is something to pay attention to as you’re doing your reading practice – if you can stop yourself from doing this, in conjunction with getting good at focused, regression-free reading, then the sky is limit to how fast you can read.
One last tip that may sound silly but works:
- Tell yourself you’re interested in whatever you’re reading
All this talk about needing to get faster at reading – have you noticed that when you’re reading a great novel or something that you’re really interested in, the pages turn themselves?
Of course. As we’ve said, reading fast is mostly about having your attention muscle constantly engaged, and when you are interested in what you’re reading, that happens automatically.
Here’s the thing though: your attention muscle doesn’t know the difference. It’s you that’s telling your attention muscle, “I’m interested in this – pay attention!” or “I’m not interested in this – space out!” It sounds stupid, but if you can trick yourself into thinking you’re actually interested in whatever you’re reading, even when you’re not, your mind’s focusing abilities may not know the difference.
Just say to yourself “hmm, this is actually kind of interesting!” when you’re reading something boring. Like I said, you may be surprised at the results.
OK, so there you have it! Practice all of these things for a few weeks and you should start noticing positive results in your reading speed.
For many more tips like this that have helped countless people crush the LSAT, and 50+ hours of video tutorials, check out the interactive MasterLSAT online course.