How to get your reading done

One of the most challenging things when you’re (re-)entering academia can be the sheer amount of readings you’ll have to do. Especially, if you’re juggling work, family and studying time can be extremely constraint, making it nearly impossible to have enough time – and focus for reading pages after pages. 

Good news though – there are ways to improve your efficacy. 🙂

There are lots of videos on YouTube about how to read academic papers – namely, not front to end like a book. Here’s one I like and which has helped me a lot. 

Work smarter, not harder

Reading quicker is all good and well, but sometimes there’s just not enough time for that. If you could only do two things at once… 

Wait, you can! Well, kind of at least. You can listen to the readings while you’re commuting, doing housework, walk, workout etc. There are several apps that read out written texts to you. 

I’m an Apple user and I like Speechify. The paid version offers different languages and accents and you can change the speed to increase your productivity or your understanding. Some Android users like the eReader Prestigio, available at Google play.

Whichever tool you use I highly recommend you remove all the citations in the text for a better experience. Having an automatic voice stumble over lots of names and dates can be utterly annoying. I do two things after copy-pasting the text into Word before I import any academic text into my app: 

1. Remove all citations in brackets in Microsoft Word:

Go to the search bar in the top right corner & click on the little downward arrow.

Select “replace”. The search bar should appear on the left of your word document now, showing “Find and replace”

Click the little cog to go to further settings, select “Advanced find and replace”.

A little arrow lets you open more options, check “Use wildcards”

At the top of the window go to “Replace” and enter “\(*\)” (without quotation marks 😉) into the “Find” field.

To remove the brackets and the text inside, leave the “Replace With” box empty

Then just hit Replace All

2. Remove all unnecessary hyphenation

Click “More”, then check “Use wildcards”, then

In Find what, enter “- ” (hyphen and one space, without quotes)

To remove the hyphen and space, leave the Replace With box empty

Then just hit Replace All

Done. 😁

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