One of my biggest problems as a first year law student was how to read faster with comprehension.
You can’t blame me for this. Yes, my training in nursing school involved a lot of reading. However, it’s not the “oasis” of my nursing studies since we also learn from return demonstrations of nursing procedures and studying actual patients.
Admittedly, I really had a hard time coping with the high volume of case and textbook readings I had back then. And apparently, I was off for a rough patch at this point of my life. I was so anxious and scared of not being able to survive the early months of my journey.
Nonetheless, I knew quitting was never an option for me. Hence, I devised ways on how to read faster in law school and be able to catch up with tons of readings our professor used to assign during those days.
I did these “How to Read Faster” methods and it worked on me big time
Don’t get me wrong — law school is not about how fast a student reads and finishes his assigned readings. However, you will always have an edge if you can read faster as you’ll be able to cover more topics in a shorter amount of time.
Consequently, you’ll have more spare time to finish your backlog readings, do advance readings, or perform other tasks you have for a specific day.
To get that edge and step up your law school reading speed, here are some tips and ways on how to read faster, but still with good comprehension, that you may want to try:
How to Read Faster Tip No. 1 — Look for the heading or topic sentence of your readings first
One of the ways I figured out on how to read faster with comprehension is to look for the heading or the main point of my readings first and foremost.
Generally, you can find the main point of the paragraph or texts you’re reading by spotting the topic sentence.
As we know, a paragraph’s topic sentence contains its main idea. (Usually, it is the first sentence of a paragraph.) Hence, you’ll pretty much know what the text is all about by reading it. And with the main idea in mind, it will be easier for you to read through the body of your texts.
Meanwhile, if you’re in law school already, another way to help you read faster is to check out the heading first. Just like spotting the topic sentence of a paragraph, reading the heading will give you the main idea around which the succeeding paragraphs revolve. Consequently, this will enable you to focus on plucking only those information connected to said main topic or idea. Thus, it will be easier for you to understand quickly the texts you’ll be reading.
Tip No. 2 — Eliminate all distractions
Distractions come in many form — cluttered desk, noisy study or reading place, or too much social media use. Whatever form it comes in, every type of distraction results only to one thing — lost focus.
Now, when you lose focus, you then read without absorbing much of the information from your book or material. Worse, you understand none at all. So, you’re left with doing one thing that will slow your reading speed — re-reading the material as if you saw it for the first time. And in law school, trust me, you don’t want to be doing this.
Well, re-reading your books in law school is actually a good thing because you get to understand the legal concepts even more. You can even memorize them as you do.
But to “re-read” something because you haven’t understood a thing because you got distracted? Now, that’s the bad thing you don’t want to do in law school. It will just be a waste of time and effort.
So, if you want to know how to read faster for law school and be good at it, you should include removing all distractions around you as part of your game plan.
Recently, I discovered a free online website or app called Outline. It transforms your cluttered webpages to a minimal screen full of white spaces. So, you only have your online article in front of you to see — no ads and other whatnot. (Thanks to my fellow studygrammer, Mika’s Notes, for sharing this on her page.) If you’re in your laptop a lot, this is definitely something you may want to try soon.
Tip No. 3 — Use a ruler, pencil, or any tool to guide you through reading
It is not unusual to get lost in the sea of words when reading. In case you do, you’ll have to re-read the paragraph or sentences you missed.
But don’t worry. There are tools you can use to remedy this. Some of these are ruler, pencil, fine line markers, and similar pointing tools.
These “tools” can actually help you keep track of the sentences or words you are reading. In a way, they serve as your reading guide because you’re more unlikely to miss a sentence as you use them.
Consequently, you’ll be able to focus and understand all the words as you go. You don’t have to read them again and you can move on to the other parts of your book or material.
Tip No. 4 — Choose a convenient but not so comfortable reading spot
In my experience, being too comfortable makes you feel a little sleepy and sluggish. And as this happens, I observed that it ruins your focus as well.
Also, it gives you the notion or feeling that you are just doing leisure reading. Thus, you’ll tend to slack off, which will slow down your reading pace.
In learning how to read faster, you will need a ton of focus. (I know I’m being too repetitive here but I just thought this should be emphasized.) Unfortunately, being too comfortable will make you lose not only your focus, but also your reading momentum.
So, what should you do? Well, you may start by refraining from reading on bed or while you’re lying. This is because the urge to nap is way stronger than the determination to master how to read faster. (Trust me on this. I succumbed to it a gazillion times in the past!)
Next, maintain good posture whenever you read. By doing this, you’ll be signaling your body that you’re up to something you have to finish. And by creating this notion, you’ll be gaining more focus on your reading material before you know it.
Finally, find a study or work station that is away from your bed or couch. Usually, setting up a desk in your room does the trick. You may also try reading in public libraries or coffee shops, provided you follow your government’s existing health/pandemic protocols.
Tip No. 5 — Making reading a daily habit helps you master how to read faster
To do this, you’ll have to allot a specific period of time each day to read. It’s up to you if it’s in daytime or nighttime.
Then, be consistent on your chosen reading schedule. If you chose to read for two hours during afternoon, you have to read for the same amount of time each day no matter what.
Tip No. 6 – Read more in the days ahead
Increase the volume of your readings. For instance, if you’re currently reading 10 to 15 pages a day, try increasing it to 20 to 25. Then, if you become comfortable with 20 or 25 pages, and you see that you’re keeping your pace, you may gradually increase it to as many as you can read within your schedule.
The key here is to keep challenging yourself. Practicing how to read faster is like physical exercise — you get better at it as you get past your current level of difficulty.
Final tip on how to read faster — No procrastination or excuses; just start reading today
If there’s one thing that hindered me to figure out how to read faster, it would be procrastination. Back then, I find every excuse available just to dodge reading. What I didn’t realize was the sooner I start reading a lot, the better things are going to be for me.
If you want to learn how to read faster, you too should start trying these tips, putting them to action, and practicing NOW. If you’re not yet in law school, well, then, great for you. You have more time ahead of you to practice and hone your reading skill.
Meanwhile, if you’re in law school already, it’s okay. I was once in your position years ago and starting the soonest time possible was something that marked the beginning of my improvement. So, embrace that pile of Constitutional Law readings and textbooks. They’ll agonize you for now, but they’ll make you a brilliant law student and reader in the near future.
Share these how to read faster tips with your friends or classmates
Now that you know some of the tips I tried to learn how to read faster, the ball is on you. If you know anyone who would like to increase his reading speed as well, share this post to them via social media.
And, perhaps, you can track each other’s progress too. Wouldn’t that be fun?