How to read a book in 5 minutes

Apr 13, 2021 | Blog

Feeling overwhelmed with study alongside a full-time job and family responsibilities? Who has the time to do the research required to pass these exams? This is the most common question I get from students.

There is time, you just need to work smarter rather than harder.  I will read on average around 4-5 books a week for work purposes, and I have mastered the art of extracting the information I need from them without reading every single page – something which I would struggle to fit into the working week.

With some practice, you should be able to get the gist of a book, report, or article in 5 minutes.  In fact, you should rarely need to read more than 25% of any book to get the best out of it for your purposes.

It’s useful if you have a dedicated workbook for your notes from research books.   The first step is to note down the author, title, publisher, and date of the book, report, or article.

It is useful to look for an introduction, concluding chapter abstract, or executive summary.  Especially if this is a study, it can be useful to read the abstract and then the conclusion – rather than 1000 pages of the actual study itself.  The key information can usually be found here.

If it is a book or reports look at the contents page and make a note of the contents, not every chapter is likely to relate to what you need.

In the text itself, key points will often be highlighted for you, or perhaps placed in the first or last paragraphs so you can quickly gain all of the key points of a chapter without having to read every page.

We hope you find this useful.  If you are struggling with research, check out our blog article about critical analysis here