How to read academic papers faster?

Posted on 2008-11-04
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I can't read fast and it always takes me one or two days to understand an academic paper consist of just about 7,8 pages and it's an important skill for a graduate student .It bother me for ages, who can give me some advices? thanks a lot.
Question by:fxp007
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Assisted Solution

PeterMac earned 80 total points
ID: 22875703
Have not come accross anything better than this. should work for most people.
Only worry I have is that speed reading techniques will work to improve both reading speed, and information retention, but they will not give you the ability to understand technical information behind the words. e.g. you will remember the words of the text OK, but deeper understanding may still take some time.

Expert Comment

ID: 22875707

Assisted Solution

buddhole earned 80 total points
ID: 22876011
Speed reading is the answer. One of the tricks is just read the text and don't discuss the text in your mind. Just keep on reading the chapter while absorbing the information. After the chapter, start thinking about the content and make a mindmap.
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Assisted Solution

RDAdams earned 80 total points
ID: 22876328
It will also help to study the academics you need to understand better.  

Take more time to study and less play time in addition to the speed reading & memory retention techniques.  By studying specifics to what you are trying to read faster you will build your personal knowledge base and retain what you read easier and faster.  

It also helps to take key point notes when you are studying.  This allows you to imprint the important points to yourself.  Try not to get distracted.  A quiet place to do your reading that is well lit and has ample space for spreading out a bit.....not the couch.
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Expert Comment

ID: 22876378
Oh yeak almost forgot.....review, review, review.  Take your point key notes and peruse them at the start of your study lesson.  Each time you review you will assist in retaining the info.

Author Comment

ID: 22877193
I set Puzzles & Riddles manually. I'm sorry if it trouble you :)
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Assisted Solution

aleghart earned 80 total points
ID: 22878032
7-8 pages of text can be read in 5-20 minutes, depending on how fast you read.  Comprehension is a different issue.

Are you having problems with actual reading speed, or the time it takes to comprehend and master the material?

Techniques are different.

To improve comprehension of text, you should:

First Sitting:
- read biographical info on authors (understand where they're coming from)
- read introductory material (understand where they're taking you)
- if not provided, make your own outline.  Section and subsection titles should be a clue on how the author is organizing the information
- read the paper, writing notes/questions in light pencil (Post-It notes are handy, in case you answer the question and no longer require the note)

Second Sitting:
- review outline (and any notes/questions)
- find and read citations/footnotes (understand what they've researched)
- try to answer any questions you've written

Third Sitting:
- review outline
- review notes/questions
- read introductory material
- read paper
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Assisted Solution

Paranormastic earned 80 total points
ID: 22879358
This is a speed reading product that has worked very well for a handful of people that I know personally, its a little bit spendy but well worth every penny.  Most of them were previously able to read a standard novel page in 3-5 minutes, and given time and effort were able to get down to reading the same in 20-30 seconds average between them.  I don't know anyone that tried it and did not show significant improvement after using it for a couple months.  no I don't work for them :0
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Accepted Solution

Nancy McCullough earned 100 total points
ID: 23023933
I've gone through this graduate school load of reading hell - I know what you're talking about - lol

My approach that managed to get me through the piles of books and papers:

1) Read the first and last sentence of each paragraph to get the synopsis of what's being talked about.

2) Read from top to bottom - that is, one or two words per sentence, straight down the page. 80% is filler.

3) Re-read the 1st and last paragraphs - they are the gold mine!

This homemade technique got me through grad school with A's and B's - give it a shot!
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Expert Comment

by:Nancy McCullough
ID: 23196948
Another method:

As you go through the document:

1) Outline main points and key terms and words (note pg # for reference) in 1st and last sentence of each paragraph.
2) Quickly read through to ensure you understand context

Expert Comment

ID: 24590956
when you have a paper pending to read before reading write down the headers if it does not have headers write down the paragraph starts after this you will see that you wont be needing to read the unnecessary parts and understand the main theme.
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Expert Comment

ID: 24677593


It would be waste if this this thread were to be deleted.  There is a lot of good advice that should be available in a PAQ,
In my opinion, award in the following way:

But, with slightly more points than an equal share, as would be given to each of those listed below:








(any other postings seem to repeat what had already been said)

The asker seems to be gone.  Too bad there are so few points to allocate to so many.

Participants can post their own objections.
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Expert Comment

by:Nancy McCullough
ID: 24677967
I'm in complete agreement with Waterstreet. There is a ton of info in this thread that could be used by many people for years to come...

I am in agreement with the way that Waterstreet thought the points should be awarded

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