1. Free Reading Test by AceReading
This site provides 156 reading exercises, divided into 13 levels and 4 groups of themes. Very useful for candidates who are willing to sit an English exam and for preparation for verbal reasoning tests as well.

2. Online Speed Reading Comprehension test
A free online speed reading comprehension test. The test includes 11 questions referring to a long and difficult text. A calculator for estimating your comprehension score is added beneath the multiple choice questions.

3. Speed Reading Challenge
This site contents 3 speed reading comprehension tests. They test your speed reading as well as comprehension level. Very good study guide for people who are after sitting English exams or preparing for verbal reasoning tests.

4. RocketReader 1
This is a trial version of software for speed reading comprehension tests. The test includes two texts, verbal games and speed reading exercises. The exercises estimate your reading speed at the beginning and at the end of test. The test helps the reader to concentrate on groups of words and to avoid reading word by word. It is very useful for people who try to read at a higher speed or need preparation for verbal reasoning tests.

5. RocketReader 2
Another trial version of speed reading software! You may take the test and determine your reading speed.

6. Spreeder
That’s excellent free speed reading software on the web. You can copy and paste your own text here and tune the number of words per minute. So you can start at a lower speed level and increase it by the next text. You are allowed to tune how many words to display in a moment.

7. Flash Reading
This site provides with the same speed reading software as the Spreeder. Our personal opinion is that this flash reading has a more user friendly appearance.

8. ZAP Reader
ZAP reader is the same program as Spreeder.

9. Read the 'Online Reading Speed Test' and then take the Comprehension and Memory Test here: Reading Comprehension and Memory Test

10. English Articles
Here you can find 5 tough reading comprehension texts and tests. Good luck!

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What are the top ten skills that employers want?

Reading and understanding business documents are essential tasks of any job position. In every day life people read magazines, newspapers, receipts, e-mails, communication messages via Facebook and Twitter etc.
Business documents possess a lot of difficult phrases and expressions, they come in different shapes and sizes – e-mails, resolutions, circular letters, offers, recommendations, complaints etc. They require concentration during the reading and a good foundation in business related issues. 


When you are reading a whole new document, you should pay attention to the following key points:
--- What are the main ideas of the document?
--- What facts are stated?
--- How many people are involved?
--- What new ideas can I infer from this document?
--- Do I have additional questions? Who may I ask? How to gather additional information?
--- What is author’s attitude or opinion?

In the workplace information seems to come from all directions. Correspondence arrives through fax machines, mails, e-mails and overnight delivery.
Bellow you find great advices how to handle informational overload:

#1. Identify main ideas of the reading section. A good method for developing fast perceiving of what you read is the skimming technique. Skimming is done at a speed three to four times faster than normal reading. Skimming is useful when people have a great deal of material to read and a short amount of time or to quickly assure whether a document merits a closer read.

Skimming strategies:
--- Read the first and the last paragraphs of the document first.
--- Scan the subject if you are reading an e-mail
--- Notice titles / headings / subheadings
--- Look at the illustrations, graphs or other visuals on the page
--- Read the first sentence of each paragraph
--- Read the captions of the visuals

Scanning is another technique you can master in order to read quickly and find information. Scanning involves moving your eyes quickly down the page seeking specific words and phrases. Once you've scanned the document, you might go back and skim it. When scanning, look for the author's use of organizers such as numbers, letters, steps, or the words - first, second, or next. Look for words that are bold faced, italics, or in a different font size, style, or color. Sometimes the author will put key ideas in the margin.
In most sources it’s not directly mentioned but scanning often comes before skimming.

#2. Identify supporting ideas of the reading section. Supporting details are the facts and ideas that explain or prove the topic sentence or main idea.

#3. Determine whether information presented in the document is presented as fact or opinion. Try to distinguish
--- how important is the information
--- what are the deadlines for finishing a task
--- how many people are involved
--- what key roles and function do other people have.
Analyzing facts, opinions, recommendations, views and disagreements helps the reader to collect detailed information and have a clear judgment on the current situation.  

#4. Draw inferences and implications from the directly stated content of the business document.
Determine the author’s attitude toward material discussed in the document.  

#5. Generalization
Recognize or predict ideas or situations that are similar to what has been presented in the document.
Draw conclusions & apply ideas!

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Listening skills are essential for the quality of your life and business as well as reading, writing and speaking skills. If you manage to master excellent listening skills, you are going to enhance your communication skills.
Better listening leads to better understanding of key facts, problems, ideas, solutions etc.

Listening Facts:
* In a spoken message, 55% of the meaning is translated non-verbally, 38% is indicated by the tone of voice, while only 7% is conveyed by the words used (Mehrabian, 1981).

* Spoken words only account for 30-35% of the meaning. The rest is transmitted through a non-verbal communication that only can be detected through visual and auditory listening.

* The average person talks at a rate of about 125 – 175 words per minute, while we can listen at a rate of up to 450 words per minute.

* Most people spend at least 45% of communication time listening

* Most people listen to and understand only about a fourth of what is being communicated.

* Listening is the most used of all communication skills.

* Listening is the least developed of all communication skills.

* Listening skills are poorest when people interact with those closest to them. They interrupt and jump to conclusions more frequently.

* Listening is tied to effective leadership.

* Listening leaders recognize that listening and leadership are inseparable and that listening is the best way to learn about the true needs, expectations, and desires of their subordinates.

Why do you need to develop your listening skills? In today’s fast living society no one has time to listen. Many people speak at one and the same time and no one is listening to their counterparts. People desire talking about them and are not willing to go into your thoughts and problems in depth.
By improving your listening skills you will face a better communication with others, you’ll have success and greater results in every day life. Effective public speaking or speaking in front of your friends or spouse is a tool that can be developed in few weeks and trainings. That requires excellent communication skills and the initial ability you need is listening ability.
Below we describe the most important steps you should follow in order to cultivate the ability how to listen and how to catch attention.

# Interest: At first you should show your interest to the speaker. Don’t let you be distracted by other materials, people or events.

# Let the talker feel free to talk: Stop chatting and watch the speaker straight in the eyes.

# Be patient: Allow the presenter to speak slowly, don’t interrupt him/her and try to nod when you feel you know what he or she is talking about.

# Separate the facts from speaker’s opinion!
# Ask questions! Questions are important to gain more information on the topic before you finally meet a conclusion. 

# Be careful of criticizing the speaker, his or her outfit, shoes, appearance.

# If you disagree on one topic, be very careful how you act! Don’t spend more than 7-8 minutes in arguments. In a positive way tell your opinion and enhance it with an example but do not overreact and don’t be emotional. Hold your temper!

# Be aware of body language! Keep eye contact while listening or speaking.

Try using these simple rules and you will be amazed how many information you can gather. To analyze a situation and to find a solution you need information. Knowledge and information are the most powerful tools in our society. Utilize those techniques and results and profit will follow.