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I cannot sit in one place reading for more than a hour, no matter what book it is (except maybe Harry Potter).

Can anybody please advise me how I can learn to sit and read for long hours. My main focus is to be able to study technical books for competitive exams.

My side goal for reading long hours is to be able to read story books like "The Black Swan".

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+1 for the great question, and Harry Potter as well :) –  Hoàng Long Sep 23 '11 at 3:08
    
Honestly I read for like 20-30 minutes a day. Even an hour at a time is too long for me. But I do it every single day, so it adds up compared to people who stress out/use all their energy in one day, and then don't do anything for several days. Also keeps the content fresh by not jamming so much in at a time, and by dealing with the content every day. –  CptSupermrkt Jan 22 '12 at 14:08
    
you need to constantly interact somehow with the reading material and process it; is it almost impossible to be able to read such complicated study material for long hours just as if it were harry potter; you will end up "Potted" –  flow Feb 4 '12 at 6:51

4 Answers 4

up vote 8 down vote accepted

While I don't think there's anything wrong with the idea of studying for several hours without a break, if that method isn't working out for you, it isn't working out. Don't concentrate on the method - concentrate on the result. You want to learn something - why does it matter whether you learn it through 4 hours of uninterrupted reading, 5 hours with breaks, or something else? If the uninterrupted reading idea isn't working out for you, try something else.

Even if you do manage to get yourself to sit down with a book for 4 hours, there's a good chance you won't be spending that time very efficiently - it's easy to just start skimming paragraphs or forgetting what you just read if you're not concentrating, and it's difficult to just force yourself to concentrate. Trying a different approach is probably a better idea. Soner Gönül's answer gives a lot of useful information on possible approaches.

My personal textbook-reading-motivation trick from college, rather silly but it did work: I'd let myself take long breaks, but I'd only let myself have chocolate (or whatever else snack I felt like) while I was reading the textbook, not doing other things. It ended up being enough of a temptation to get my studying done. ;)

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+1 for 'let myself have chocolate (or whatever else snack I felt like) while I was reading the textbook, not doing other things' and 'concentrate on result' Thanks, :) –  CoolEulerProject Sep 27 '11 at 11:07

So I agree with the other answers in general, I think that they recommend decent long term solutions - Meanwhile I'd like to share a couple of more immediate points.

Many years ago when studying for exams I also found that I had trouble sitting in one place reading for more than a hour - so I moved places about every 45 minutes - so 45 minutes in the college library, 45 minutes in the corner of the cafe, 45 minutes in the sunshine outside, 45 minutes in an empty lecture room - the change of scenery worked really well for me.

More recently I've found text to speech (for reading things on the laptop or kindle) to be really useful - if you are reading at the same time as listening then it helps you avoid skipping parts and gives you a nice sense of rhythm.

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hey thanks, will try that out too... –  CoolEulerProject Jan 22 '12 at 7:03

Take Notes

It is very hard to keep the mind engaged when just reading dull texts. You have to mix up the activity a bit.

I recommend building up a Mind Map of the text you are reading. The more vivid and colourful you make it the easier it will be for your brain to remember what you were reading. At the end of it you have an easy reference that you can glance over to recall any details and recommit them to memory.

If you can it also helps if you annotate the text you are reading. Use different coloured highlighters to highlight important sentences, write notes in the margins. Make up some symbols to mean different things and annotate the text with these.

Use post it notes to bookmark important pages - often with technical books you need to jump back and forth around a subject before you fully understand it.

Also don't get discouraged. This may seem hard, but any complex book that you don't understand is going to feel quite boring. But you will find that as you get more into the book and your understanding grows so too will your interest. Just persevere knowing that it is going to get good!

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'Take notes', 'Mind map', 'Highlighter' 'Bookmark pages', thanks a lot :).... –  CoolEulerProject Sep 27 '11 at 11:11

Sitting and reading for long hours.

Don't do that my friend. This gets you bored. The point is here, work smart not hard. It is also not good for your body. Your body is your most important thing. Don't spend it stupidly sitting a lot of hours without any break.

I understand, you want to work a lot of hours in your books, but for example 4 hour works without any break, is not a real work. You get more productivity when you work smart. Also this can help you stay focused in your work.

How can you work smart?

I sugget you should apply yourself Pomodoro Technique. Simply, after 25 minutes work, take a break 5 minutes. After 4 work, take a longer break like 30 minutes.

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thanks, but still am looking forward for some techniques to work(read) most of my available time... n sorry I don't have enough reputation to up vote your ans...but thanks.... –  CoolEulerProject Sep 12 '11 at 10:05
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For method try these 1, 2, 3, 4. For up-vote you need 15 reputation. But if you think this is a satisfied answer, you can accept an answer it. But hey, what the hell.. –  Soner Gönül Sep 12 '11 at 10:58
    
@CoolEulerProject: If you take a 5-minute break after every 25 minutes, and a 20-minute break after 4 hours, you're still working 4 hours out of every 5! I don't see how that isn't "working most of your available time". If taking some short breaks will make your reading more efficient, there really isn't any good reason not to do it. –  weronika Sep 12 '11 at 15:39
    
@Soner Gönül: Good links! I'd make them part of your answer for visibility if I were you. –  weronika Sep 12 '11 at 15:45

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