© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.
Did you ever try to iron a shirt with a cold iron? Could you get that shirt ironed without the heat? Sure, but it would take for-freakin-ever! Ironing a nice fold into a shirt is oh-so-much faster when you’ve got HEAT.
Trying to learn stuff by going over it again and again is about as effective as ironing with a cold iron. You can do it, but it’s sloooooow and it’s a LOT of work. Getting memories ironed into your brain is much easier if you know how to Bring The Heat! Continue reading Iron New Information Into Your Brain© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.
I recently received emails from two different readers who have similar problems; too much academic work to do and not enough time to do it. If you’re in zees boat, you need a strategy, mon frer! Time management skills and study skills are the uber-vitamins you need to grow into a stout and healthy mountain of mental muscle!
Holy-frikkin-mooses. I just read three paragraphs in my Whirled History book, and I don’t have clue one on what it was about. How can I fish the beefy info chunks outta the steamy cesspool of facts that is my reading assignment?
If that’s your main pain, then consider this simple drill to make your mind into a magnet for important points in your reading.
First, mark up a (disposable) copy of your reading assignment. Take a red pen or marker and start eliminating non-essential words. Get all guvmint-censor/evil-english-teacher on it. Your goal is to mark out as much of each sentence as possible while still retaining the overall meaning. It should look like you tapped a vein and bled all over the paper. Continue reading Read and Reap: Suck the Facts Out of Your Texts© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.
Anyone who has ever tried to bulldoze their way through a narcolepsy inducing SAT or GRE reading comprehension passage will know just how hard it is to maintain focus when reading. No matter how hard you try to feign interest in scintillating topics like “The History of Corn Prices in 19th Century Dubuque” or “An In-Depth Look at Catatonia in Clams” we just can’t seem to keep our gray matter engaged. We end up like that dog in the movie Up. “Squirrel!”
I’ve got an easy fix to help keep your wayward brain on track and boost your comprehension.
Don’t be like Saint Ambrose.
Saint Augustine noted that when he went to visit Ambrose–then the bishop of a hoppin’ 4th Century Milan–he often found him reading silently. No lie. The guy read without saying the words out loud! I know. Weird, right? “When he read,” Continue reading Simple Way to Boost Reading Focus© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.
The college library at Harvard (pronounced Hahhhh-vuhd) gives a simple, sweet summary on how best to digest your college reading. Get some ivy-league insight on…
- Outlining, Summarizing, Analyzing
- Looking for Patterns
- Comparing and Contrasting
Working on reading comprehension for the GRE and SAT essays? Obviously, you won’t have time to do all six steps above. However, getting in the habit of reading deeply and thinking about college level texts will definitely amp up your baseline reading comprehension skills. Bottom line? Increased essay scores on the GRE and SAT.
If you’re like me, the claims of speed reading courses rank right up there with magic beans and political promises. Too bad. Speed reading won’t enable you to read the RandomHouse unabridged dictionary in ten minutes with perfect comprehension. However, it can easily help you read three or four times faster while keeping pretty good comprehension.
You’ll notice I’m not selling a speed reading course. No ulterior motives here. I’ve just seen what a little training and practice can do. My reading speed about five years ago was around 150 words per minute. Now it’s closer to 500. That means what used to take me three hours to read I can now read in less than an hour!
That increase came from consistently practicing some techniques that are freely available on the web. I practiced three or four times per week, thirty minutes at a time, for about two months, and that investment has Continue reading Can You Really Triple Your Reading Speed Without Losing Comprehension?
Before getting started on a reading take time to light a little fire under yourself (right at the base of the cerebellum). Decide exactly why you’re reading that riveting analysis of reptilian gastric reflux disease. Is it for a test? What do you stand to lose if you don’t read it and understand it?
If that’s not motivating enough, start further out … start at your bigger motivations for going to school in the first place. What’s the Continue reading Getting Psyched Up to Read Boring College Texts
Yes, there is definitely a wrong way to read. You know you’re doing it wrong if…
- You have to go over a passage repeatedly to know it well enough for a test
- You catch yourself having to reread a paragraph because you weren’t paying attention
- You don’t know the main idea of the last paragraph you read
- You’re reading every single paragraph you’re assigned
- You’re using your highlighter to highlight more than three or four words in each paragraph (I really think you shouldn’t use one at all!)
- You close your book as soon as you finish reading
The write way to read involves several key steps like…
- Previewing the text with an eye towards your identifying your reading goal and towards getting an idea of the overall organization and main points
- Reading the text while taking notes–just as you would for a lecture–on anything you need to remember
- Reviewing the text while you quiz yourself. What did that section talk about? How is that main idea linked to the next paragraph?
Take a look at this excellent resource from Indiana University. They do a wonderful job of covering the basics, although I do disagree on a few minor points. If you’ve read my study skills ebook and/or some of my other posts on better reading you should be able to pick them out. Which ones do you think I’ll take issue with?
Check out this great little tool to make online text more easily readable!