In this article we will explore some GAMSAT speed reading techniques for exam day.
These are proven GAMSAT speed reading techniques recommended by past students that took the exam. They are as follows:
This is a basic process where your eyes skip over a few words at a time. For a beginner level you only focus on one word in every four or five. As you practice, and when you can safely scan over content less carefully, you may only focus on one or two words per line. You will be amazed at how your eyes and brain fill the gaps. To do this effectively you need to keep a good rhythm and a quick pace.
2. Meta guiding
This is where you guide your eyes using something like a pointer, to encourage a faster reading pace.
These are some guiding techniques:
- The Hand: Place your right or left hand on the page and slowly move it straight down the page as your eyes read the line just ahead of it. Keep the movement going at a good pace, and don’t pause.
- The Sweep:Use your hand to help draw your eyes across the page by creating a cupping shape with your hand to literally sweep the page and block the previous content that has already been read.
- The Hop:Use your finger or a pen and make two bounces across each line to catch sections of three to four words as you go along. This needs to be even and move at a steady pace to keep the eyes and brain moving ahead rather than trying to pause or go back.
- The Zig-Zag: Take your hand and cut across the text in a diagonal motion for two to three lines and then start the diagonal again from the next line on the page, scanning as you go. This will help you find and retain the main ideas for low-priority text.
3. Reduce Subvocalisation
One’s inner monologue, also known as subvocalization, is an extremely common trait among readers. It is the process of speaking the words in your head as you read, and it is the biggest obstacle that gets in the way of you being able to increase your reading speed.
If you’re hearing voices in your head when you’re reading, don’t fret. As long as it is your own voice, reading along with you, you’re fine. In fact, this is how teachers teach kids to read – say the words silently in your head as you read. Do you recall the instructions, “Read in your head, as I read the passage aloud”, that were said fairly often in the classrooms? That is one of the ways in which this habit of having an inner monologue was ingrained into you as a young reader.
When you were initially taught to read, you were taught to sound out everything and read aloud. Once you were proficient enough at that, your teacher had you start saying the words in your head. This is how the habit originated, and most people continue reading this way. It does not adversely affect them in any way, until they start wanting to read at a faster pace. If you are seeking to increase your reading speed for the GAMSAT, this is the first thing you must learn to overcome.
Why does this slow you down? The average reading speed is pretty much the same as the average talking speed. According to studies, the average adult reading speed is 300 words per minute. The average talking speed is the same. Since most people are in the habit of saying the words aloud in their head as they read, they tend to read around the same pace as they talk. This means, your reading speed will only increase so much if you continue to keep up that inner monologue. If you want to continue to increase your reading speed, you need to eliminate it.
To do this, you need to understand one thing: It’s unnecessary. You do not need to say every word in your head in order to understand the material you are reading. It was when you are younger, but now you are able to input the meaning from just seeing the words. Your brain still processes the information. For example, when you see a “YIELD” sign, do you actually stop to speak the word in your head? Of course not. You just look at it and process it automatically. This is what you need to be doing when you read your print material, such as books or paperwork.
If you have a hard time attempting this, try reading with instrumental music playing in headphones or chew on some gum. A distraction will keep your brain less focused on subvocalization, though you will still look at the words and process them.