The phrase ‘Speed reading’ is often presumed to be the same as ‘Reading speed’, which causes some of us to use it interchangeably to describe reading at a fast pace. What we fail to recognise is that ‘speed reading’ is more purposeful and is an efficient reading style as opposed to ‘reading speed’ that literally demonstrates how quickly you can sift through maximum words.
In this article, we will talk about how you can optimise your reading to save you time during Section 1 of the GAMSAT exam.
‘Speed reading’ as described is an effective reading approach that helps you put an analytical spin while reading texts, without having to re-read it multiple times to interpret their context. This is one of the key skills that is gauged in GAMSAT Section 1, your ability to maintain active focus and draw relevant insights from an array of convoluted themes in the exam.
A myth about speed reading that needs to be clarified is that this reading style does not permit a ‘reader’ to develop a high warp speed. Instead, speed reading tailors your mind to be quicker at interpretation only. Infact speed reading has no connection with speed but is proportional to an individual's modified reading habits.
For instance, you could be a slow reader but with a high attention span that enables you to easily track down the relevance in the texts to deduce its meaning. Ultimately, speed reading techniques attune your reading skills from being an adrift reader to having better concentration power.
Read on for some practical techniques that could improve your focus while reading the literary materials in Section 1, thereby improving your overall efficiency and accuracy in this section.
A reading technique that you may have crossed paths in your student life is directing the movement of your eyes with the use of a pointer such as an index finger while reading a book or a cursor on a computer screen. This reading technique is called ‘meta-guiding’ and the pointers encourage your eyes to retain focus on the displayed texts without averting your gaze. It simultaneously also helps you read the sentences at a faster pace.
By deploying the pointer approach, you tend to read the lines in a consistent manner and importantly, don’t have disruptions in your reading flow. Basically, when you are given a reading comprehension, the difficulty that most of us might encounter is not being able to consecutively read one line after another. Without having a pointer, we might skip a line which leads to ineffective interpretation of the passage. This is precisely why a pointer is usually recommended to help you maintain a good reading pace that prevents you from missing out on important details and your interpretation is on par with your reading speed.
Let’s begin by establishing what an inner-voice implies. Each one of us has a running inner monologue, especially when we read a passage, our inner voice utters the words as we read. We don’t realise it, but this is a significant barrier to your reading skills, which can deteriorate your concentration power quickly. The phrase, ‘reading in my head’ may have adverse effects on your reading habits, especially for GAMSAT Section 1.
The humanities section has a reputation for having a combination of high quality reading material which requires you to adopt specialised reading habits for each question type. Only this way can you figuratively breakdown the complexity of these texts. In addition to this, you will have to tackle multiple passages, technical texts and quotes, with an open mind, so by implementing subvocalization (reading in your mind), you are blocking your chances of actually understanding the context of the sentences.
It is said that our average reading pace is similar to our talking speed, and therefore, by allowing your inner voice to overpower your reading skills, you are progressing at a slower rate than necessary, thereby compromising on your timing.
A good tip to follow is to let your subvocalization slide while attempting Section 1 questions. Instead of reading every single word-out-loud, you need to effectively skim through the sentences and take appropriate pauses when you come across a keyword or a punctuation. A simple method to identify keywords is to glance at the questions and locate similar words within the passages. On this basis, your ability to focus is steady and not fragile enough to be distracted by a random thought in your head.
Having established the fact that appropriate pauses in your reading is quite essential, it needs to be clarified what a ‘pause’ truly means. A pause in literary context can be described as the punctuation in a sentence and the metaphoric pause is essentially when you process the ‘chunk’ of provided information based on your reading before moving on to the next paragraph.
Why is a pause important, you may ask? Well, to put it bluntly, Section 1 reading comprehension is filled with convoluted and twisted texts that need to be broken down into lumps of information. Although the reading material will not necessarily have jargon words, we suggest you read the passage as it is supposed to be read. Basically, missing out on tiny details, like a comma or exclamation mark can make a huge difference to your final interpretation, as it changes the whole meaning of the paragraph.
Besides punctuations, take suitable pauses during your reading to really absorb the essence of the texts. For instance, if you were examining a Section 1 poetry and read the whole poem without sinking in the message it was conveying in each stanza, you may have to start all over again. This approach is time consuming and will leave little room for you to elucidate the poem’s true meaning.
To further elaborate, GAMSAT Section 1 questions are designed with the intention to assess your capacity to critically deduce the texts’ meaning and provide correct reasoning for it. Your reading will be futile without implementing a strategy that involves taking breaks and genuinely processing the information. Therefore, do not rush and be very composed while reading, so you can attempt the questions in a focused manner, and keep valuable time!
We hope our article has been helpful for you to develop some strategies around speed reading. These aforementioned techniques are not just specific to Section1 but also can be deployed while proofreading your essays in GAMSAT Section 2 or reading the passages of Section 3. Considering the fact that Section 2 only has 65 minutes of total test time, it is important that you divide your time between generating novel ideas, structuring your essay and finally, editing it before submission.
If you wish to improve the quality of your essays, our ‘Shut up and write’ events are running in full swing to help you refine your writing skills.
With the approaching 2022 GAMSAT, it is more important than ever that you are fully aware of the tricks and tips that need to be implemented for a successful GAMSAT sitting. So during your GAMSAT preparation, practice these techniques to improve your comprehension of the questions. This way you can narrow down the correct response without taking too much time trying to figure out what is expected of you.
We wish you the best of luck and if you have any concerns or questions regarding your GAMSAT study be sure to reach out to our friendly GAMSAT tutors!