How To Deal With Graphs And Diagrams
Graphs, diagrams, and charts can sometimes make reading a little more difficult. So it’s important to know how to deal with these situations when you come across them. There are a few tips and techniques we can employ to assist us in deciphering them.
The first tip is to do a brief “preview” of the chapter or section in which the diagrams appear. A “preview” simply requires you to skim through the material looking at the diagrams and figures to get some brief familiarity with them. While skimming, you should also read the headings, subheadings, and bold-faced words that you find. Treat this initial “preview” as a mini investment of time that will help you later on.
During this second pass-through, read from the beginning as one normally would. When you encounter something along the lines of “refer to figure 1.1” (or a similar indicator to reference the graph, chart etc.), you should immediately stop reading to view the figure. Leave your finger where you left off so you can easily continue reading. After getting a basic idea of what the figure covers, you should continue reading where you left off.
After reading another sentence or two, stop reading and view the diagram to see if what you’re reading makes sense visually in the diagram. Although this might seem like a choppy way of reading, you’ll find that it will improve your comprehension of the material.
Most people read an entire page or paragraph before viewing the diagram and are then left confused by it. If you read a factoid, and then view the diagram, you are getting extra comprehension by reading it and viewing the information. Deciphering a diagram, chart, formula, or any other figure is easier when you read in this manner.
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Paul is the founder of Iris Reading, the largest provider of speed-reading and memory courses. His workshops have been taught to thousands of students and professionals worldwide at institutions that include: NASA, Google, HSBC and many Fortune 500 companies.