Saturday, December 31, 2016

How to Boost Your Reading Speed and Comprehension

Speed reading is a handy technique to use in the IELTS Reading exam. As a test taker, you must efficiently manage the given 60 minutes to go through all the passages and answer the test questions. Speed reading can reduce the time spent on poring over texts. However, it is important to understand that this technique is more than just letting your eyes skim through the sentences.

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According to a number of studies, average reading speed ranges from 200 to 300 words per minute. The rate of an individual is influenced not just by his/her reading habits but also by his/her line of work and material content. In most cases, more time is spent on academic materials due to the presence of technical terms and phrases.

You must be aware of what kind of text to practice based on your chosen exam format. The IELTS Academic Reading assessment involves three long passages in contrast to the General Training’s many short texts. IELTS review centers can develop your speed reading practices according to your test type. These training facilities, such as the IELTS review center in Davao, provide mock Reading tests that are on par with the actual exam.

To help you improve your reading speed and comprehension, here are some of the practices that you must do and avoid:

Try to comprehend the text during the first reading.  
Understand the passages the first time that you read them and avoid unnecessary backtracking. Most test takers go through the given text, read the question then go back to the paragraph to look for the answer. While this practice assures the accuracy of your answer, its time-consuming nature is unsuitable for the exam.

Practice skimming and scanning.  
To differentiate: scanning is when you read through a passage in search of particular information, while skimming is when you go through a text quickly to understand its general idea. These reading techniques, if efficiently applied in the exams, not only save time but also allow you to acquire answers fast.

Enhance your vocabulary.
Encountering unfamiliar words can reduce your reading speed. Unknown words often prompt readers to pause and figure out their meaning based on the passage’s context before continuing. In this case, your comprehension rate directly influences your reading pace. Improving your vocabulary can prevent these unwanted pauses.
Read each word. Focusing on each word significantly limits your reading speed. By concentrating on analyzing each distinct term, you have to allot time afterward to connect and understand their relationship. Consequently, “chunking” as many words as you can each time you read a passage will not boost your reading and comprehension speed. 

Subvocalize or "speak the words aloud in your mind."
Subvocalization involves sounding out each word in your mind as you read a text. Everyone is guilty of this action to a certain degree. Some do this habitually while others do this subconsciously when they come across a difficult passage. Mentally pronouncing each word takes up more time than what is necessary for comprehension.

Regress or “re-read passages unnecessarily.”
Regressing occurs when you go back and read a passage as you forgot or did not understand what it meant. It is highly discouraged not just because it can cost you valuable time but it can also make you lose track of the passage’s flow and structure.  Use a pointer when you read to avoid regression. You can force your eyes to focus on the page by tracing each sentence with a pen or a finger to avoid regression.
 Aside from the given methods, it goes without saying that you can only enhance your reading rate through practice. Determine your rate with a timer, build up your speed through regular exercises and challenge yourself increasing the content’s difficulty level gradually.  Enroll in an IELTS review center and include their reading materials in your training. Instructors of these facilities, such as the IELTS review center in Davao, can also guide you through the evaluation’s format. 

All in all, though enhancing your reading speed requires conscious and disciplined practice, the benefits that it offers makes all the effort worth it.  

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