Every day, we are bombarded by a sheer ton of information. Articles, book, YouTube videos. Yet, how much information actually sink in? Have you had that experience where you tell your friend you've just read a book, but fail to recount any of it when they ask you what is it about? you completely blank out on them and wonder whether you've actually read the book?

How can we retain the information we read longer and understand them more deeply?

This is the question that I asked myself and wanted to solve. Whether it is learning for leisure, academics, or work, I wanted to remember more of what I am exposed to, and understand them on a deeper level.

This is why I created the socratic pairwise reading method.

What is it?

The socratic pairwise reading method is a group learning concept that fosters deeper learning. You alongside your partner would engage in a deep dive into the material that you choose to learn and hopefully benefit from it mutually.

How it works?

(Note: the time allocated is up to your own discretion) A session would last for ~1 hour

First, 2 people would select their own reading for 30 min. For their reading, they would answer the following questions to gain an inspectional reading understanding:

"Goal: What do you want to learn from this piece? (1 min)"

"First glances: What questions do you have from skimming the title, intro and summary (4 min)"

Then, once they have an idea of where they want to end up, they can then engage in gaining an analytical reading of the piece by reading it line by line: ~25 min

While reading, imagine that you are a teacher about to teach this topic to a student, create a list of questions to test your potential student.

SEE SAMPLE — How to Read Research Papers

Make sure to tag the page number to give more context and reference, and that you are able to answer the questions yourself. The questions need not be standard. You can create a mind map, a flow chart or fill in the blanks to test your "potential" student's knowledge.

Once you are done, reflect and write a summary of what you gained most out of the reading, guided by your questions.

Take a 5 min break from the work.

You would then exchange the exercise with the other person, which you should be able to complete in ~10 min (creating questions is more difficult than answering them). During this process, try and see whether they are any key concepts your partner has missed. Afterward, the pair should be able to discuss insights or ideas that they gained from the reading and the exercise and suggest changes or improvements that make the "practice quizzes" more effective.

Additional suggestions