Eye Exercises for Speed Reading
Speed Reading Fundamental: Eye Fixations
Vocalization and Its Effects on Speed Reading

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:

  1. Print out the following PDF of John F. Kennedy's inaugural address. (Note that it's two pages long.)

    Click here to download a PDF of John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address

  2. Using a clock, watch, or stopwatch, note what time you begin reading.

  3. Read the inaugural address.

  4. Record how long you take to read the speech.

  5. 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).

Comprehension questions

  1. 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

  2. What does Kennedy pledge to not replace colonial control with?

    A. Absolute tyranny

    B. Unrepentant tyranny

    C. Iron tyranny

    D. Iron democracy

  3. What animal does Kennedy refer to when mentioning those who foolishly sought power?

    A. Lion

    B. Elephant

    C. Panther

    D. Tiger

  4. What is not a sign of weakness?

    A. Sincerity

    B. Civility

    C. Democracy

    D. Capitalism

  5. 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.

Effective Reading Rates
Time (Minutes) WPM 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
1 1447 289 579 868 1158 1447
1.25 1158 232 463 695 926 1158
1.5 965 193 386 579 772 965
1.75 827 165 331 496 661 827
2 724 145 289 434 579 724
2.25 643 129 257 386 514 643
2.5 579 116 232 347 463 579
2.75 526 105 210 316 421 526
3 482 96 193 289 386 482
3.25 445 89 178 267 356 445
3.5 413 83 165 248 331 413
3.75 386 77 154 232 309 386
4 362 72 145 217 289 362
4.25 340 68 136 204 272 340
4.5 322 64 129 193 257 322
4.75 305 61 122 183 244 305
5 289 58 116 174 232 289
5.25 276 55 110 165 220 276
5.5 263 53 105 158 210 263
5.75 252 50 101 151 201 252
6 241 48 96 145 193 241
6.25 232 46 93 139 185 232
6.5 223 45 89 134 178 223
6.75 214 43 86 129 171 214
7 207 41 83 124 165 207

Answers: 1: A; 2: C; 3: D; 4: B; 5: A

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