Hello everyone. Since it seems that a good majority of you are actually current English grad students, I thought I’d get your take on this. How many of you consider yourselves slow readers, and how does that affect you?
I’ve always been a slow reader; sometimes it takes me so long to concentrate and absorb what I’m reading that I’ve even wondered if I should get checked out for ADHD. But really, I’ve generally managed. I did terribly in college as far as reading for class went: I feel like I never finished reading everything that was assigned. But, I read what I had to, and I felt like much of my failure to get all the reading done was because of bad time management and bad prioritization. In any case, I felt I was ok and was sure I’d do better in grad school with my time and priorities. I wasn’t too worried, until last weekend, when I took the GRE subject test in literature.
I don’t know my score yet obviously, but I really think I bombed it completely and utterly. For one thing, I felt like I was completely taken aback by the content of the test – it was SO much harder than any of the practice tests, and the prep materials I used seemed completely off. (The practice tests gave the impression that there were going to be a lot of quick and easy ID questions but actually, most of the test involved a longish passage accompanied by four-six reading comp questions. Also, the actual content was very different from what the test prep materials indicated. But all this is another topic for another forum, I guess). The real issue is, I couldn’t believe how much trouble I had with the time constraints. This is so embarrassing, but I think I left between 20-30 questions blank. The last 45 minutes or so, when I realized how behind I was, I started freaking out and could hardly focus. Ironically, before the test, I felt like the reading comp questions were my forte and what I really needed to study for was the ID questions given my lousy memory w/ names, titles, etc. I’ve never had problems with reading comp, and I truly feel that if I’d had the time I needed, I could have done fine. It wasn’t a matter of not being able to understand what I read – it was that I didn’t have the time to read the passages as I needed to. Which got me to thinking, maybe it’s not enough that you’re a careful and insightful reader. To succeed in grad school and thereafter, maybe you need to be a fast reader too? Or at least, not a slow reader? This is so depressing. I know that the Lit GRE test isn’t the end-all and be-all but I was flabbergasted at how much I struggled with it, and now I’m in this little existential crisis– wondering if I can really go through with this.
So I wonder, what’s your take? Your honest opinion would be much appreciated. Or, if you have some advice about how to improve reading speed, that too would be very appreciated. :( Thanks so much.