Skimming and Scanning
Skimming and Scanning

Skimming and scanning are reading techniques that use rapid eye movement and keywords to move quickly through text for slightly different purposes. Skimming is reading rapidly in order to get a general overview of the material. Scanning is reading rapidly in order to find specific facts. While skimming tells you what general information is within a section, scanning helps you locate a particular fact. Skimming is like snorkeling, and scanning is more like pearl diving.

Scanning: Scanning means quickly searching a passage for a particular word or term (e.g. a name or a date). While scanning, you look only for a specific fact or piece of information without reading everything. Use scanning in research to find particular facts, to study fact-heavy topics, and to answer questions requiring factual support.

Skimming: Skimming means reading quickly without reading every word so that you get an overall impression of a text or part of a text. It refers to looking only for the general or main ideas and works best with non-fiction (or factual) material. Skimming takes place while reading and allows you to look for details in addition to the main ideas. Use skimming in previewing (reading before you read), reviewing (reading after you read), determining the main idea from a long selection you don’t wish to read, or when trying to find source material for a research paper.


Check below example to test your skimming and scanning techniques.


Jaipur the capital of Rajasthan state in India was founded in 1727 by Maharaj Jai Singh II, who ruled Jaipur State from 1699–1744. Initially, his capital was Amber, which lies at a distance of 11 km from Jaipur. He felt the need of shifting his capital city with the increase in population and growing scarcity of water.


Example 1

Q1. Till when Maharaj ruled Jaipur?

(Hint: Here keywords are Maharaj and Jaipur, context rules. Find lines where two keywords exit and understand the context.)

Q2. Jaipur faced problem due to rise in its ____.

(Hint: Here keywords are Jaipur and problem. Here the problem is associated with a negative emotion/context. Hence find what problem did Jaipur faced?)

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