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The Magical Power Of Photoreading!


The Magical Power of Photoreading!

Sometimes you find a great tool, technology, or method that you have to share with everyone who will listen – it’s just too good.  Photoreading is one I’d like to share with you.  It is really amazing! I have been using it since the early 1990’s and it has made my life so much easier.  Indeed, I don’t know where I would be without it.  It literally buys you time!

In three weeks I am going to refresh my Photoreading skills.  The timing is perfect because I am currently taking in and processing an enormous amount of information.  There just never seems to be enough time to study and learn (and there is SO much more to learn).  I am ready to polish my skills…

Photoreading is a reading tool that helps the reader to read faster and more thoroughly.  It’s not speed-reading, it’s more like developing super-fast photographic memory by using your peripheral vision to take information directly into long-term memory.  In order to successfully use the information, you must “call it up” or “activate it” out of long-term memory.

Not everybody gets the profound results that I have.  Maybe that’s because it takes focus and practice to gain real proficiency.  In my opinion, the result is well worth the effort!

This is my Photoreading story…

In College

I learned Photoreading in the early 1990’s when I was in undergraduate school and started using it right away.  My grades got better and I was able to pile on the work with extra hours – I was ready to get out of school!

Photoreading helped me get through all of my technical classes and labs easily, like math, computer science, and statistics.  It also enabled me to synthesize easily from multiple sources so my essays and papers flowed well.

In the middle of my third year, I decided to go to law school. I had most of the required credits but still needed a few electives and a few math classes that I had been dodging for some time.

I studied my university’s policies and discovered that, if I had completed my core curriculum, I could use the first year of law school as my last year of undergraduate school.  It sounded like a great idea to me!  It was a (very) rarely used policy clause that required me convincing both universities into going along with my plan.  The undergraduate university would waive the requirement of me taking the last 30 hours of study at the university and the law school conditionally waived the requirement of a diploma.  Double dipping at its finest!

However,  I had to somehow take two math classes and a statistics class in two semesters.  In order to even get to that point I had to test out of a remedial math by re-taking my ACT.  That would be a miracle!

My advisor rolled her eyes and told me it was impossible.

Math had always scared me and while my earlier ACT scores were 24 and 26 respectively – my scores on the math section were 4 and 5, respectively (yes, really).  I needed a 19 or above on the math section to test out of the remedial math I was supposed to take.  A 5 to a 19 is a big jump!

So I Photoread old math books and anything else I could get my hands on.  It was really the only thing I knew to do because time was short and I couldn’t just “learn math” that fast.  Half the time I didn’t even know what I was Photoreading!

I did it!

I took my LSAT one weekend and the ACT the next.  I made a 19 on the math section, tested out of remedial math and ended up in a math class that was WAY over my head – Photoreading (and a tutor) to the rescue again and again!  I passed both math classes and the statistics (took one math and statistics in an 18hr summer semester!) and ultimately graduated with a 3.7 – cum laude.

Law School

I was able to convince both my undergraduate university and the law school of my choice to go along with my proposal!  Because of Photoreading, I was able to work, clerk and have an active social life while I was in law school.  There was so much reading and it was usually very dry.  I was able to plow through homework painlessly.  It’s the best study tool I have ever used!

The Bar Exam

The Louisiana Bar Exam is 21.5 hours of timed essay questions (typed or handwritten) on 9 topic areas of law.  You have to pass 7 of the 9 sections to pass and must pass 4 of the 5 “code” sections to pass outright.

I had about 6 weeks to study and was also preparing a photo exhibit that went on display in the World Trade Market in Dallas the week of the bar exam.  Since my “darkroom” was only truly dark at night, I chose to skip the evening bar prep course and studied the books and tapes instead.  Unfortunately the tapes had a flaw that caused loud, random sound spikes.  I set them aside and just studied the books.

I Photoread the books a lot during the day.  Of course I did other things to prepare for the bar – there was definite method to the madness.  Still, I really think that the Photoreading contributed a great deal to my success.  I just didn’t have to study as much as everyone else. I studied a maximum of 6 hours a day and spent my evenings in the darkroom.

I felt really confident going into the exam and even purposefully skipped a section (didn’t even study it) because the law in the area had just changed and they told us to know both sets of laws.  Forget that!  Instead, I studied in the parking garage of the Super Dome (where the exam was held) while everyone else took that section.

In fact, in the parking garage I Photoread someone else’s notes for “Negotiable Instruments”, which I had never studied before, and passed that section of the bar too!

When I sat down in any given test, I would quietly Photoread the whole exam 4x, then read through the whole thing without making notes, then read through again making margin notes, then outline.  By the time I started writing my answer, 1 of the 3 hours had probably passed.  Once, a tablemate actually prompted me to write!

Thanks to Photoreading, my blue books were beautiful!  My answers were clear, tidy, easy to read, and to the point.  Not once did I have to scratch anything out or make other corrections.  Best of all, I passed the whole bar exam the first time!

Over the years I have grown to rely on Photoreading for the bulk of my preliminary studies.  It sets the stage for fast learning and helps me tune directly in to the information I need and synthesize multiple sources easily.  This upcoming class is going to re-tune me to the art of Photoreading in its proper (not Nancyfied) form.  I can’t wait to be turbo-charged!

I highly recommend Photoreading to anyone who wants to turbo-charge their ability to learn, process, synthesize, research etc…!!

Be a Ninja (learner)!


PS – Parents, this is a tool kids can use!  Why not teach them when they are young?  Start them on the “gifted” track early by giving them the tools to excel – this is certainly one of them!

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Casonatto April 20, 2014, 10:17 am


    I will have one important exam and I have 6 months to study 14 big and complicated disciplines (14 big books). I will photoread and make mind maps of all these books. Beyond that, Do you recommend photoread these 14 books everyday?

    I mean, the process of photoread everyday, will help me to understand more the content or it isn’t necessary this day by day procedure?

    Do you have another tips to increase my performance?

    Thank you so much!

  • admin April 22, 2014, 1:53 pm

    Hi Casonatto!

    First of all, good luck! If you already know how to Photoread, then yes, I would Photoread all of the books every day in the beginning (the first few weeks/months). It will seem like a lot of work and may take some time, but it will improve your processing of the information. Here are a few tips: Every time you Photoread you “prime”. Priming = powerful, repeat exposure that creates familiarity with the information. “Spacing” your information uptake improves later recall – that’s why I say to study all of the books heavily at the front end of your study routine. After that, Photoread intermittently throughout your 6-month study time.

    I have lots of other tips! Some are written here in the blogs but I have a new book out – “Beyond Rainmaking: Accelerated Learning Techniques for Law School, The Bar Exam, and Beyond.” My author website has blogs that are focused more on accelerated learning. check out http://www.nancytiltonhand.com. I am also available for coaching. I help my clients create more effective and time-efficient study routines that suit their specific exam/life needs.


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