I always knew final year of University was going to be tough, it’s like they say, “nothing worth doing is ever easy”
However, surprisingly the main obstacle I have faced over the past few weeks is keeping on top of the volume of reading that goes hand in hand with final year. I like many student I would imagine, find it difficult to keep my focus on the page, I begin with the best intentions and 3-4 pages in I realise I am now thinking of what to have for dinner as I continue to cast my eyes over new lines… I regress back a few pages to where I know I last absorbed some information and continue until I finally have enough and go make the dinner my subconscious so clearly wants.
I was typically always a keen reader, but believe the disillusionment developed during my placement year, in the working world I wasn’t required to read theory based literature or to make balanced arguments and critics in essays and rarely had time to work on such things.
So it was around reading week I decided to make a conscious effort in improving my reading speed and comprehension so that when it comes to revising I will be better equipped in this area and hopefully my exams will prove the practice and effort paid off.
Since then I have really noticed a great improvement over the past few weeks and I believe cutting out social media and deleting apps on my phone really help eliminate all potential distractions, like who of us hasn’t spent 40 minutes on Facebook when we are actually suppose to be doing a case study, and regretted it, I have that’s for sure. Concentration when reading is something that can be improved, its all about the focus. So if you’re like me, get rid of instagram and all your friends on facebook. Simples.
Another thing I have found out on this quest, is that pronouncing words aloud in your own head is apparently not the best way to absorb information. This wastes a lot of time and makes us spend an equal amount of attention on each word, which largely could be failing to provide any information at all. I found this really strange, but with practice and a lot of telling yourself off, you can actually begin to read words with only the direct meaning coming in to your head opposed to the word. I still find this hard to carry out throughout an entire text, and often when I do achieve it I suddenly realise I am doing it, then begin vocalising internally again. But this said, this has really helped improved the speed at which I can read a document.
Finally one of the most simplistic techniques I now use is to place a blank piece of paper under the first line of text, read it and move the page down to reveal more text for me to read. This helps keep me focused on the sentence in front of me, with to temptation to skip anything out.
These have, within just a short few weeks completely turned my bad reading habits around. I feel now, in the best position to tackle my essay based exams. Let’s hope I can smash them.
Just keep reading.
‘til next time