In an article I wrote for KevinMD.com, I mentioned how speed reading helped me improve my performance during residency. I have gotten several questions from people who are interested in knowing how I went about speed reading.

Below, I share pacing techniques I use to pace myself as I read in order to improve my speed and comprehension. Use a finger/hand, pen, etc. to guide your eyes through the passage. In all of the techniques, I use a finger/hand, pen, etc. to guide my eyes through the passage.

1) Underline every line from the beginning to the end. With this method, you place your finger/hand, pen or pointer underneath the first word of each line and move it under the line to the end. Then you come back to the left and start over again. See a more detailed explanation of the method here.

2. Start underlining every line 2-3 words in and end 2-3 words prior to the end of the line. This is similar to the method in one but simply makes use of your peripheral vision to move things along much more quickly. Check out this video to see how Tim Ferris teaches the method.

3. Horizontal Since Curve. I sometimes use this method to read long passages on a computer. I move my hand in a wave-like pattern horizontally from the beginning to the end. This isn’t the most efficient pacing method but it sometimes helps me to stay focused on material that is spread out and also harder.

4. Vertical Sine Curve. This method is used for skimming through material. You go through it quickly by moving your hand down the page in a sinusoidal pattern.

5. The Z-Method. I use this method to pace through material that is fairly easy and I want to move through it quickly. It is a modification of method 1 or 2 above. You underline the first line to the ending point and then skip one or two lines before starting from the left and underlining to the right again. And you repeat the pattern.

These are simple methods that I use to pace myself. If you find them useful, please use them. If you find something else useful to you, kindly email me and let me know what’s working for you. I’m always willing to try new things that can take my reading to the next level.

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