Learn the FIRST secret of speed reading which is going to save you time and help you memorize more in less time. If you are struggling with getting the gist from your textbook to prepare for an exam, this is the tip you need. STEP 1 The reason why most people read slower than they could, and why their comprehension is fairly poor, is that they don’t have a purpose. They just start reading from page one and so often fail to recognize the main idea of a topic – this way studying can be a very painful experience. While it is perfectly ok not to know what comes next when you are reading a novel, it can hinder your learning if you don’t have a clear purpose while reading a textbook. Therefore decide what you want to find out when you are reading a text. What is the most important point which you really have to know? If you are lucky enough to have a newer edition of a textbook, you will find summaries in the end of chapters, sometimes even questions for revision and a list of keywords. This is what you are looking for! Before you start reading, skim these questions/the summary/the key words. It doesn’t matter if you understand everything or not. You will get a picture of what you can expect and what is important. You will be able to form questions which you will try to answer while reading a particular chapter of a textbook. If you don’t have a well written textbook, it is useful to browse through a chapter – if the text is divided into headings and subheadings, read those, read the introduction and conclusion. Then form your questions – what do you want to know? What is the most important? (I had to deal with many texts of this kind in the past, and I know how easy it is to get lost while reading. This procedure will save you a lot of time and help you to understand the content better. So don’t give up, you can do it! :D After you have decided on what is important and what answers you want from the text, it is time to create an overview of the particular text. Read the headings, subheadings, keywords (plus the sentences including these keywords), read introductions and conclusions. Don’t read the whole text yet and don’t stop at difficult parts – in this step you only want to know how the text is structured. You can probably already locate the parts where you are going to find the answers to your previously set questions – so the important parts of the text. You can mark these parts with a pencil, page marker post-its or any other way. Many students (me included) find out that they have completed the majority of their study objectives after this step! Always ask yourself if you have to read the whole book/chapter or if you can easily skip some of the text (especially if the book you are reading is not your primary textbook). This way you can cut up to 90% of your reading time. If you are taking notes while reading, you will have the basic outline of your notes or mind-map after this step.