How to speed read: Guide to read faster and help speed up revision!

If you're in the habit of leaving it to the last minute to revise for your exams then learning to speed read is probably some time well spent.

These tips and techniques can you help you read up to 300% faster, apparently.

Know when to use it

First things first: Speed reading is fine for going over your revision notes or skimming through papers for a project you're working on but don't use it for important matters. When learning a new and difficult topic take your time and it goes without saying to avoid it when dealing with things like contracts and other legal documents. There's a time and a place.

Get rid of distractions

Regardless of whether you're reading fast or normally, or even just revising in general, start by getting rid of all distractions from phones and games to your laptop and computer (at least once you've finished reading this!)

Read with your hand (well, finger)

Learn to read with your hand by placing your finger under each word. Move your finger onto the next word as fast as you can while still being able to understand the words and you'll find you can ready a lot quicker!

Avoid going backwards

The above tip will also help you keep track of where you are and avoid the need to go backwards over what you've already processed which slows you down.

Add a sheet of paper or similar to the top of the page you're reading above the current line you're on to help this even further by covering content you've already read.


This is the key to speed reading: Stopping yourself from reading in your head. You're probably doing it now but it's very sloooow as it limits your reading speed to as fast as you can talk. Known as sub-vocalization, hearing the word in your head as you read simply wastes time!

Unfortunately there is no simple way to 'turn off' the voice in your head other than will power. Force yourself to avoid doing it (try with the rest of this article) until it becomes a habit.

Just have a computer do it for you

After all the above, speed reading sounds like quite a chore but as always there is the online method. The Spreeder tool will take any chunk of text you give it and help you process it as fast as possible - how many words per minute can you manage?

About the author: Thomas Brella

Thomas Brella is the founder of Student Hacks, starting the website in 2013 while studying at the University of Brighton to share tips and tricks on life as a cash-strapped student. He's now spent over 10 years scoping out the best ways to live on a budget

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