Most first-year college or university students assume that they will find all topics fun because they are passionate about the chosen course. But, on the contrary, some topics will be difficult to comprehend and some chapters hard to read.

How to Read and Comprehend a Difficult Topic
Tamarcus Brown

The course may be bulky, the key concepts complex; you have too much on your plate that you barely have ample time and energy to deal with a difficult topic, or maybe your reading approach is not practical or effective. Whatever the case, to excel in academics, a student must master a difficult topic quickly. So, if you’re struggling with a specific textbook chapter or topic, here are strategies to use to read and comprehend faster.

Understand the Basics First

The chances are high that if you fail to grasp the fundamental concepts of a subject as the information gets complex, it becomes harder to comprehend. Besides, without knowing the background information of the subject, you might end up reading class material several times without grasping most of it and assuming that it’s hard. In such cases, students make the mistake of cramming the information, which ends up in the short-term memory section of the brain.

As a result, when students go to the next semester, they cannot recall crucial details. That is why it’s essential to understand the basics before moving to an advanced level. Comprehending the fundamental principles means you have the background information, making reading easier and comprehension faster. It also strengthens recall and enhances the future application of knowledge. Besides, reading faster with better knowledge retention is a skill applicable in education and future careers.

Preview the Text

Often when a student wants to hire a writer from a specific essay writing service, they check samples or any written work. This helps to gauge the knowledge and skills of the writer as well as what you should expect. The same strategy can be applied when reading a difficult topic. When you preview the text you read, the brain notes what you want to read to prepare absorption of content, increasing understanding.

When previewing the text, pay attention to any material written in bold or highlighted with a different color or font and those in bullet points. Read the heading, subheadings, and topic sentences in each paragraph. Pay special attention to the introduction and conclusion, as well as graphs or images.

Read a Review

If you have been assigned a difficult reading, you might struggle to get the hang of the core concepts and even the whole material. This slows the pace of your reading and makes studying difficult. As you progress through the academic year, the reading material from different lectures will also increase as well as the complexity of the material. If you are taking a difficult course, you might comprehend it better when someone else explains it to you.

It can be a teacher or a classmate. The trick is to get a list of the topics to be covered that semester and read each one before the teacher presents the material in class. That way, in case you encounter a difficult one, you can read a review first before attending class. This strategy is great because reading a review gives you a clear picture of what the author is talking about and eliminates the need to figure out what the topic is about.

For academic topics, it’s best to read reviews from recent scholarly material rather than from any online page to ensure it is written by a subject expert and as per the current academic standards. In addition, by reading the review, a student will have a general understanding of the topic and an easier time with more advanced layers.

Eradicate Distractions

External and internal distractions are obstacles to faster reading and comprehension, reducing productivity, concentration, and retention. So when you plan to read a difficult topic, ensure the study area is more likely to enhance focus. You can take a step further and remove any distractions like a phone and other things that cause interruptions. Carry the necessary items that will help you read faster, like a pen that you will use to move over the text and write a summary.

Write What You Read

If you read the difficult text fast without making a summary, you might end up forgetting crucial details. So while reading to the last word on the page faster is the goal, you need a summary to ensure you have synthesized the text and it has solidified in your mind.