5 easy-to-follow steps to improve your reading speed for CAT 2016

If you’re a CAT aspirant, you will be well aware that the ‘Reading Comprehension’ is one of the main scoring sections of the exam. RC takes up to 40-50 % of the Verbal Ability section, with 4 passages and 16 questions (4 questions per passage).


It’s crucial that you have a good reading speed to save you time during the exam. Therefore, to help you score better in your exam, we have listed down 5 easy-to-follow steps to improve your reading speed. Have a dekko:

1. Skim through text: It’s a good idea to preview the text you’re about to read, before you start reading. This will give you a brief idea of what’s interesting and important to you. Scan the table of contents and first and last lines of paragraphs, to get an idea of the structure of the book, so you can skip the unwanted details and elaborate descriptions and focus on the main ideas/information.

2. Regulate your speed: Speed reading isn’t about reading fast; it’s about controlling your reading speed, knowing when to read fast and when to slow down. While some text needs to be read slowly and carefully, others can be read relatively faster. Being able to adjust your speed according to the type of text you’re reading will help you master your reading speed. One way to regulate your speed is to use a pointer. A pointer typically can be your finger/pen/pencil, anything you can use to scroll through the text you’re reading. This will train your eyes to move along the pointer. Once your eyes are trained to follow the pointer, it’s easy to regulate your reading speed, by regulating the speed of the pointer.

3. Avoid sub-vocalization: Sub-vocalization, a very common habit among readers, is speaking the words in mind while reading, thereby reducing the reading speed. You can avoid sub-vocalization by listening to music while reading. A soothing background, music which won’t require your attention, can help you improve your concentration. Another way is to force yourself to read faster than you usually do by not focusing on each word, but combining two-three words at a time minimizing the amount of words you say in your head.

4. Read in a proper environment: Choose a place which gives you the most comfort while reading. Make sure your reading place isn’t noisy, unorganized or clumsy as these will distract your reading process. Choose a place with minimum distractions to maximize attention and concentration. Choice of place to read also depends on the kind of text you’re reading. If you’re reading something serious you may want to sit upright at a desk, so you’re actively reading. If you’re reading for leisure, which doesn’t require a lot of attention, you may choose a cozy place, where you can lay back and read.

5. Practice: Increasing reading speed is a gradual process and it’s going to take time to master it. So be patient and consistent. With regular practice, you will pick up the reading speed.

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