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Tips for Reading Faster and Retaining More

May 3, 2019

If you felt like you were constantly scrambling to complete your course readings this year, it may be time to optimize your reading and study habits. Optimizing study habits includes more efficient note taking and faster reading and, believe it or not, it is possible to read faster and retain more information. Check out these tips that can help you start retaining and recalling information more easily, helping reduce the monotony of school reading assignments and making you a faster, more efficient reader.

Scan Your Notes from Class

Scanning your notes from class can help reduce your reading and study time. Class notes provide an accurate guide on the most important information to read. Reading pertinent, relevant information first can reduce how much you read, as well the amount of time it takes to complete your reading assignment. This ensures you will cover important concepts, especially if you’re pressed for time. The notes can also help with your understanding of complex or confusing material in the reading. Making connections between your notes, book and lectures can better prepare you for exams.

Highlight and Take Notes

Writing activates the parts of the brain responsible for thinking and language, helping you retain information. This means that the very act of writing something down can help you memorize and recall it later. Putting material into your own words is also a powerful memorization tool and highlighting key terms and concepts can guide you to pertinent information. It promotes active reading, and this is what helps you retain reading material and relieve the monotony.

Pro Study Tip: If there’s a passage you need to remember, read it, write it and say it out loud.

Don’t Vocalize the Text in Your Head

Most readers “speak” words in their heads as they read them. It’s a common process called subvocalization. While subvocalization can make a fantasy novel more exciting, it can also make studying more time-consuming. Although it may be a difficult feat to achieve, if you can stop subvocalizing, it could help you read more than twice as fast. To practice silencing that “voice” inside your head, try listening to music or chewing gum while you read.

Take Breaks and Summarize

Too much reading, writing, studying, etc… can turn your brain to mush – well, not literally! In other words, cramming sessions are bad, no matter the circumstance. While studying, take breaks as often as possible. Taking at least a 30-minute break after an hour or two of studying can help your brain remain flexible and active. An active, flexible mind is more capable of processing and retaining new information. Intermittent breaks can help relieve pressure and stress, and if you have the time, you might be able to take a walk around the neighborhood and check out your Niagara College student housing options!


Recharging after a study session is just as important as taking breaks during that session. Once you’ve finished all your reading and other assignments, find something fun and relaxing to do. Play a game, scroll through social media, sleep, hang out with or talk to your friends or have a healthy snack or meal. Relaxing after reading can also help you retain important information.

Start putting these tips into practice and watch as your reading assignments and study sessions become more fruitful and maybe even enjoyable.

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