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Sunday, November 19, 2023

How you can Learn (and Retain) Analysis Materials in Lower than Half of Your Regular Time


Image: three hardcover books, stacked together and viewed from their top edges, are sandwiched between a pair of over-the-ear headphones.
Picture by Stas Knop

Immediately’s submit is by creator Thelma Fayle.


For the final two years, I’ve had surprising success in experimenting with my “chipmunk analysis methodology.” I used to be impressed to do that method after listening to an intriguing remark made by my pal Oriano Belusic, previous president of the Canadian Federation of the Blind (CFB).

Blind since age seven, he has discovered to learn at excessive speeds. (I exploit the time period “learn” for audiobooks, as that is the phrase utilized by most blind folks I do know.) Oriano makes use of a display reader, which he routinely units to a pace of two.5. A pace of 1 is regular audiobook pace for many of us.

Once I first stood by his aspect whereas he learn an e mail, I couldn’t perceive the quick and garbled speech. But, Oriano says he’s on the slower finish of the spectrum on the subject of display reader pace. He stated he is aware of blind individuals who, by means of repetition, observe, and expertise can learn at chipmunk-fast speeds of three or 4.

I used to be skeptical, however my pal insists anybody can prepare themselves to discern quick speech. He recommended our brains, with little or no teaching, can do surprising issues outdoors of our standard understanding of “regular.”

I discovered he was proper.

As a latest MFA graduate (narrative nonfiction), day-after-day I encounter extra nonfiction books than I’ve time to learn. So, I made a decision to strive rushing up my analysis strategies by studying the hardcopy model and the audiobook on the identical time.

To keep away from buying two copies of the ebook, I usually borrow the arduous copy from the library, and buy the cheaper audiobook from Audible. Speeded-up listening isn’t the previous speed-reading hype from years in the past. That method concerned extra scanning than studying and was by no means profitable for me. That is completely different.

Once I began studying a thick ebook that might usually have taken me two or three weeks to complete, I made a decision to mess around with the audiobook pace. Over a few days, I notched it as much as 1.2, after which 1.5, 1.8, earlier than ultimately pumping it as much as 3 a couple of weeks later. As I learn the print ebook, I hold tempo listening to the audio model. The concept might sound unbelievable, however I felt like I did after I discovered to skip French ropes after I was 9. One minute it seemed inconceivable, and the following I used to be doing it.

The method includes utilizing a number of senses as I visually learn, pay attention to each phrase, and underline crucial passages (if the arduous copy is mine). Maintaining with the quick pace requires studious focus with a easy pause or rewind if I must cease and mirror.  Whereas I used to be at first uncertain about whether or not this is able to work, I’ve found I’ve unusual retention of the fabric utilizing this method—and imagine it or not, after utilizing it for a few years I discover it stress-free to be intently centered on the content material.

I additionally love understanding that I can decide up any enormous nonfiction tome and skim it completely in lower than every week. This method might be higher for studying nonfiction than fiction—except you might be studying fiction for analysis or are underneath a time crunch.

Beneath are a couple of examples of latest successes on my path. I learn these titles in one-half to one-third of the completion time listed on the audiobook:

  • The Full Essays of Montaigne (Stanford’s Body translation, 1957) — 883 pages, listed on Audible at 50 hours, took me lower than 20 hours to learn.
  • Random Household: Love, Medicine, Hassle, and Coming of Age within the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc — 436 pages, listed at 20 hours, took me 9 hours.
  • A Swim within the Pond within the Rain by George Saunders — listed at 15 hours, took me 5 hours.
  • Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Form Our Futures by Merlin Sheldrake — listed at 10 hours, took me 4 hours.
  • The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant — listed at 9 hours, took me 6 hours. (I slowed down on this one to revel within the hauntingly lovely nonfiction story. I didn’t need it to finish.)

Over time, I’ve adjusted my analysis course of to learn at completely different speeds. How I really feel on the day and the complexity of the textual content might decide the pace I select. I’m somewhat slower if the topic is much less acquainted to me, i.e. science.

My chipmunk analysis methodology is a towering time-saver, permitting me to—imagine it or not—take pleasure in researching and doing extra of it. I hope this gives you a helpful concept to discover.

Nonetheless, there’s a disadvantage: Studying at a standard audio pace of 1 now feels unbearably gradual!



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