Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Understanding a finance book can be difficult, especially if you have a dreaded exam or presentation coming up. Reading efficiently is important to learn more in a shorter time.
However, many people, especially students in higher studies, find it hard to focus on reading.
The good news is, there are multiple techniques you can do to help you to accomplish this task. Here are eight tips that will help you read with more proficiency.
Do not read from front-to-back
While skipping and going back is counter-intuitive, it is actually one of the best ways to read almost any text efficiently. To ensure effectiveness, you must help your brain to pick up the most important ideas and lessons being presented.
Read the questions at the end
If you have no idea what the answers are, that’s fine. You don’t need to know the answers. Instead, you should know what the questions are.
The questions at the end are supposed to test your knowledge of how well you understood the chapter. Therefore, it is designed to cover the essential ideas in the whole chapter.
Reading the questions can give you a general idea of what you should focus on. When re-reading the chapter later on, you will find it easier to pick up the important lessons.
Read the chapter summary
After reading the questions, you probably have little to no knowledge of what the answers are. You can go ahead and check out the chapter. However, we always say have a look at the chapter summary first in order to prep your thoughts.
It works the same as the previous advice; to give you an idea of what are the most important ideas in the book.
In fact, much of what you need to know is in the chapter summary. If you are reviewing, you can get by with just reading the chapter summary to freshen up your knowledge.
Read the whole chapter
While you already know the most important ideas and lessons are, it will help you much better if you have detailed information on the subject being discussed.
While reading the chapter from the start, you will notice the important ideas that you are already familiar with. This will help your brain to distinguish minor lessons from the major ones.
Take down notes
Reading through once will not be enough. You should read it multiple times to really master the topic at hand. But aside from that, you should also take down notes as much as you can.
Start with a messy notebook
Do not worry about having unorganized notes in the beginning. When learning any new topic, it is inevitable that you won’t know how to properly summarize the contents initially.
You can re-write everything later on, but what’s important is that you are writing down the ideas that you need to recall later on.
Write down formulas
Formulas are always present and important. It’s difficult to memorize everything so it’s better if you have a notebook where you can put all of them.
Having a separate notepad that has all the equations you know can be helpful. This also includes equations in other segments that you think are necessary for you to understand the whole syllabus better.
Have multiple highlighters
Having one highlighter is fine. But if you are dealing with any complex subject matter, it is often more effective if you have multiple highlighters to help you distinguish the phrases you are highlighting.
It is advisable that you create your own system that helps you understand the content better. Depending on your learning style, you might prefer having different codes for certain functions.
For example, circling new concepts and highlighting the definition can help you easily understand the topic when you are reviewing the book later.
Meanwhile, other people prefer using different colors to highlight a certain group of ideas.
There is no point in overloading your brain with a lot of complex ideas all at once. Instead, take a break when it is feeling too much. Reading efficiently means you know how to take in all the information without tiring your brain out.
Being stressed will do you no good when you are trying to memorize and understand finance theories.
By knowing when you should rest, you can jumpstart your brain again to take in more information.
Whether you want to grab a quick snack or meditate, you can do almost anything during your break- just as long as you’re not getting too distracted from your goal.
The Pomodoro technique
You can also try the famous Pomodoro technique to read more efficiently. This is a productivity method that helps you do more things without getting burned out.
First, set your timer to 25 minutes. During this time, you should read without being distracted by anything else.
When 25 minutes is finished, take a quick 5-minute break to stretch your legs or grab a coffee. During your rest, you are not allowed to do anything related to your task. Instead, you should focus on resting.
After 5 minutes, set the timer again to 25 minutes and repeat the process. After completing four sessions of reading and resting, you can take a longer break.
Then, resume from the start and begin reading again. With this technique, you will be more efficient in learning as your brain is not overwhelmed and has enough time to rest in between sessions.
Close the book
After each chapter, it is highly encouraged that you close the book and write what you learned without checking any references. This will help train the mind in memorizing the important ideas in the book while also examining if you have learned more.
If you are satisfied with your progress, move on to the next chapter. If not, you can check your notes for anything you missed and skim the previous chapter. Do this until you are satisfied that you have learned the things you need to know.
Our brains have astounding and surprising effects when we are doing different tasks. Researchers found out that chewing gum while studying helps in memorizing important ideas. It can help you become more alert, which experts think increases your cognitive abilities.
Aside from that, chewing gum can also decrease stress and anxiety. When preparing for tough exams, it is inevitable to become stressed out. With the help of chewing gum or any other activity that relieves your stress, you can focus more on learning.
Create a calm environment
Speaking of being stressed out, you should also ensure that your surrounding is optimal for studying. A quiet environment with proper lighting is the best place to study in.
Other people find it more relaxing to be in a café when reading their books as they sip coffee. Meanwhile, other people prefer to go to the library to set the mood.
If you are alone, you can also play classical music in the background. Studies show that classical music can increase your dopamine level, which then lowers the anxiety you are feeling.
However, if you don’t want to listen to Mozart, you can always opt for music without lyrics to avoid distraction while still benefiting from pleasant background noise.
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The QuestionBank Family