Unless they’re an academic prodigy, a student probably won’t take tests like the SAT (originally called the Scholastic Aptitude Test), the LSAT (Law School Admission Test), the GRE (Graduate Record Examinations), or even the GED (General Educational Development, a North American high school equivalency text) until they’re at least 16 or 18 years old. However, preparation for these tests starts months or even years ahead of the actual test date, as students repeat and review information, and learn new vocabulary, and brush up on their math skills. There’s a lot of pressure on students to get high scores – a good score can lead to acceptance by a top university, or provide the edge the student needs to beat other applicants in the race for a limited number of spots in law school. But there’s also something that helps reduce some of this pressure: the skill of speed reading. If you’re planning for these tests in the future, you should start practicing speed reading now.
In order to succeed on tests like these, you’ll need to have a good general knowledge of math, science, literature, English grammar and spelling, history, and sociology. The tests are famous for providing examples and asking questions on many different topics, and the more you know, the easier those questions will be for you. When you’re a speed reader, you’ll have the time to go through more texts on more topics, and your speed reading skills will help with comprehension and memorization as well. Better reading comprehension skills mean that even if you’re presented with an essay question on an unfamiliar subject, you’ll be able to read and respond clearly and coherently.
Another part of test-taking success is time – the time you need to read the questions, as well as the time you need to write down the answers. The faster you read, the quicker you’ll get to the “answer” part of the equation. This is especially important when you have comprehension or essay questions, because the extra time you gain by moving quickly through the multiple-choice sections due to your fast reading speed can be used for thoughtful reflection on the longer written essay answers. You’ll even have time to spare to go back over your answers to double-check that you’ve gotten them right.
Don’t wait until the last minute to develop your speed reading abilities! Even if you’ve already passed the tests and are moving forward in your career, you’ll find that speed reading has benefits that will help you succeed for years to come.