Thursday, December 23, 2010

Eye-Q: Speed Reading Update

Hey everyone,

I thought I'd give you an update about my experience with EyeQ.  So far, the product has done what it claims to do.  I'm happy about that, as I don't look forward to giving less than stellar reviews of something, although I'm sure that day will come.

In any event, I am reading at about 500 words per minute now.  I say "about," because I've been testing myself with different reading material.  A graphic novel is by far the easiest thing for me to read very quickly (626 words per minute), and a college textbook is the slowest (391 words per minute).  I also read a nonfiction novel (506 words per minute) and a fiction novel (509 words per minute).  I should emphasize that these speeds are as fast as I can go and still 100% understand what I'm reading.  I can go a bit faster, in the 600's for the novels, but I start missing details about 40% of the time, and have to guess about what is written quite a bit.  I'm usually right, but it's still guessing or deducing, rather than knowing what it is I read.  

I'm a little more than half way through the main series of twelve exercises.  You're supposed to only use the program every other day, in order to give your eyes a rest.  About five years ago, my grandmother tried this course, but was gung ho about it, and did it every day.  She soon began complaining of having headaches.  At the time I thought it was due to her age, but now that I'm doing the EyeQ program myself I realize that she, much like many people's first day in a gym, over did it.  In some ways EyeQ is a gym for your eye muscles.  Like all striated muscles, they need alternating off days. 

To my surprise, the EyeQ program that I have comes with a vocabulary builder, which came in handy for my cousin Ronald (remember he's studying for the SAT).  His results have been positive, but not as good as mine.  Then again, he is 17 and hasn't been as completely focused on the training as I have been (girls).  I guess this just goes to show what you put in to your training is what you get out of it.  But what I did notice was while Ronald wasn't going to be choosing EyeQ over girls any time soon, he did actually like doing the video game-exercises.  They weren't a chore to him. 

My only criticisms with the EyeQ program are small ones:
1) The image on their website about the brain activity is a bit misleading.  When you become really good at something, you tend to use less brainpower to do it, not more!
2) There doesn't seem to be any strategies offered for handling different sized text.  For me, I had to tailor my own techniques from their general principles for handling very small and very large print. 

But these two issues are very minor ones indeed, in comparison to everything that actually is good about this product.  In my case, there was even a bonus benefit.  All of the effort of learning to quickly see images has helped me in my lucid dreaming activities.  For the past few days, I've had a much easier time being aware of the brief hypnagogic imagery that comes before and after sleeping.

Overall, I give EyeQ 4.5/5 stars.   If you're looking for a last minute Christmas gift for someone who likes to read (like me), struggles with reading (like Ronald), or who looks forward to getting reading assignments out of the way (like both Ronald and me) then EyeQ may be it.  It's a video game and a brain skills tool.

And as a Christmas gift to my readers:  If you do decide to buy EyeQ, just mention this blog, Mentathlete, and get $50 taken off of the price!

 Well I'm calling it a night, everybody.  Happy Holidays from Nth. 

--Nathan (Nth)

1 comment:

  1. Hey Nth, it's off your topic, but I think you might have some ideas on this.

    I'm trying to score 3-3.5 standard deviations above the norm on the MAT. My actual raw ability is probably only 2-2.5 above average. I'm talented, but not THAT rare. I'm wondering what thoughts you have how to do this...

    I have some advantages:
    1) I don't need this score. This is purely for intellectual interest/hobby. I therefore have as much time/obsession as needed without any stress.
    2) I am an expert in psychological testing. I understand the scoring of the test, what it emphasizes and how (not that this is tough).
    3) I'm good at learning massive quantities of new information in short periods of time. Meaning, I could learn a great deal about the subject areas covered on the test. For example, learning a couple of hundred lists (e.g. currencies of the world, famous western composers and their most famous works) would not be a problem.

    I have a theory that MAT is vulnerable to 'cloaking' at the high ends like this, because the content areas are shallow and there are very defined ways that the analogies operate. Don't get me wrong I think it's a neat test, though crazy eurocentric, I just think it's got a weakness here. That doesn't take away from its general purpose uses though.

    I don't have a mnemonic model that I'm using yet. I was just going to make a goal oriented mnemonic network in my head, and I was thinking of using the program mnemosyne to assist (have you seen that?), but I saw all the different methods you were interested in having someone test.

    Anyway, I thought you might be interested in knowing others are out there collecting obscure mental achievements too...Happy Holidays.