Speed Reading Pre-Test: Establishing Your Effective Reading Rate
The following speed reading test establishes your starting rate so you can see how fast a reader you are and how much you improve in the course of your speed-reading studies. For this test, read without adopting any speed-reading principles you may have already read about; read as though you don’t know anything about speed reading.
Follow these steps to take your first speed-reading test:
Print out the following PDF of John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address. (Note that it’s two pages long.)
Using a clock, watch, or stopwatch, note what time you begin reading.
Read the inaugural address.
Record how long you take to read the speech.
Answer the comprehension questions without revisiting the essay and note how many questions you answer correctly (0, 20, 40, 60, 80, or 100 percent of the questions; the answers are at the very end of this article).
What does man have in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of?
A. Human poverty and human life
B. Human dignity and human life
C. Human life and human intelligence
D. Human poverty and human dignity
What does Kennedy pledge to not replace colonial control with?
A. Absolute tyranny
B. Unrepentant tyranny
C. Iron tyranny
D. Iron democracy
What animal does Kennedy refer to when mentioning those who foolishly sought power?
What is not a sign of weakness?
What is the only sure reward Kennedy speaks of?
A. A good conscience
B. An absolute guarantee
C. A certain victory
D. A sure victory
Finding your effective reading rate
Now, find the length of time it took you to read in the first column of the following table. The second column reveals your words per minute (WPM) rate. Determine your effective reading rate by finding where the row showing your WPM crosses the column that corresponds to the percentage of the comprehension questions you answered correctly.
If your reading time doesn’t match one in the chart (or you just want to brush up on your math skills), you can also determine your WPM rate by dividing 1447 (the number of words in the speech) by the amount of time you spent reading it. If you get a number with a decimal (such as 723.5), round up to the next number.
Answers: 1: A; 2: C; 3: D; 4: B; 5: A