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Reading Speed and Comprehension Test

This test is the property of Speed Reading International. All rights reserved.

The following READING SPEED & COMPREHENSION TEST can be done NOW, on your computer. Just follow these instructions. When you are ready to start reading the section of material below, CLICK the "START TIMER" BUTTON to start the timer and immediately start reading. When you have finished reading, CLICK the "STOP TIMER" BUTTON to stop the timer. Your average reading speed for the material read will then be displayed. Then evaluate your reading speed with the Reading Speed Analysis table. Once you have checked your Reading Speed, then you can do the Comprehension Test by following the link at the end of the page. 


       Each year, the world’s printing presses churn out hundreds of thousands of new book-titles and millions of pages of journal and magazine articles. Total information doubles every 9 months. Yet it is estimated that the average college graduate reads no more than five books in his/her post-college life-time. What does the future hold for people in business and for the millions of students trying to manage this torrent of information?
       “It’s adapt or die,” says Bruce W Stewart, President of Speed Reading International, a 25-year old organization that specializes in the training of advanced reading skills. “People today read no faster than people did a century ago. The reading training of school students remains archaic and stops at about the 3rd grade and few schools offer any form of advanced reading training. You are taught to read slowly and are effectively expected to reduce your reading workload to suit your reading capacity. If we cannot invent more time, then the solution is to quantify how much reading you need to do, and then gear up your reading capability to meet that challenge. If we fail to meet this challenge, then comments like ‘I didn’t know …. ‘ from Enron’s Jeffrey Skilling and ‘I have too much to read so please stop sending me mail’ from a Matthews NC CPA, will become the rule rather than the exception.
       “The school’s reading training system teaches us to read at an average rate of 240 words (about half a novel page) per minute – our light-material rate. Most people study or read technical material at less than half this rate – about 100 words a minute. So for the average person, reading a 400-page novel will consume about 12 hours and a 400-page text-book will consume about 30 hours.”
       “Television hasn’t helped either. Children spend hours in front of a television or video game, yet only a fraction of that time reading. Their minds’ become used to the rapid information flow from TV and games, and then become bored with the far slower idea and concept development derived from reading books at slow speeds. By the time they reach adulthood, reading skills are trailing far behind other methods of information acquisition. Hence the increase in face-to-face meetings, one of the most time-inefficient systems of knowledge acquisition.”
       “Advanced reading skills makes good cents,” says C Abbott, a financial analyst. “In our organization, most of our analysts spend 2 to 3 hours a day reading. Just doubling your reading speed, saves at least 5 man-hours a week. With a staff of 100, that’s 26000 man-hours a year – a substantial resource for any organization.”
       “The impact of inadequate and inefficient reading skills has already been felt,” says Stewart. “Knowledge is inter-related and fragmenting this knowledge destroys ‘the big picture’. FBI headquarters failed to act on a memo from its Arizona office warning about a large number of Arabs seeking pilot, security and operations training, and which urged a check of all US flight schools to identify more possible Middle Eastern students. Senator Bob Graham, D-Fla., the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, said, through a spokesman, that the revelations in the memos marked an important discovery in Congress’ investigation into why the FBI, CIA and other US agencies failed to learn of and prevent the Sept 11 plot.”
       “It represents a failure to connect the dots,” said Graham spokesman Paul Anderson.
       “The truth of the matter is that as knowledge is distributed over an increasing number of people, individual wisdom and enlightenment will diminish. We end up knowing more about less and less about most things,” says Stewart.
       “The solution is to expand our information absorption capabilities, both vertically and horizontally - to upsize areas of specialist knowledge as well as areas of general knowledge. This is not as difficult as it might appear. Virtually every literate adult has the capability to at least double his/her rate of reading absorption on critical material, thus freeing up time for additional reading. By acquiring flexible rate-to-purpose reading skills, general information can be scanned rapidly for relevance and additional enlightenment. In our complex society, people should be processing an average of at least 100 000 words of information per day if they want to maintain a competitive position on the crest of the information wave. This is simply not possible with an average reading rate of 12000 – 15000 words per hour. As a result, too many gaps are left in our areas of knowledge and these gaps become opportunities for competitors, both strategic and business. Areas of knowledge and gaps in our knowledge are like dots – you have to join them to get the big picture.”
       Reading for vertical as well as horizontal enlightenment has a number of advantages and benefits for the Nation – better time utilization (getting more done in the same or less time), increased profits (more productive utilization of human resources) and enhanced competitiveness (in a competitive world, the only true competitive advantage is to learn faster than your competitors).
       “It’s adapt or die – the authorities have taken the first steps. The Senate passed the Education Reform Bill, President Bush upgraded ‘Reading’ to ‘ a domestic national priority’ and the College Board voted to revamp the SAT 1 by adding a writing section and additional reading requirements. The big question is – will Americans reduce reading volumes to suit available time, or will they increase reading efficiency to suit required reading volumes?”

Your average reading speed over this passage was words per minute.

Reading Speed Analysis

Less than 150 wpm Your reading speed is below the average generally required for academic and business reading. You are at risk of missing important new information relevant to your field of work or study.
150 - 299 wpm Average reading speed for people in business or studying. This speed is considered inadequate for people working in a competitive environment.
300 - 499 wpm Above average. In a non-competitive environment, this would be fine. But this speed still requires considerable time and effort to keep pace with new information relevant to your field of work or study.
500 - 1000 wpm An excellent reading rate achieved by less than 1 percent of the population. Indicates that you have breached the sub-vocalization barrier of 475 - 500 wpm to some extent and are more than capable of attaining much higher speeds.
More than 1000 wpm A superb reading speed. You are too advanced for a basic reading improvement program and should consider an advanced classroom-based training course to achieve your maximum potential.
More than 5000 wpm Please contact us if you are interested in being considered as a Speed Reading International Instructor.

Now test your comprehension by clicking Comprehension Test