There are many people who find it hard to completely comprehend what they are reading. This can be hard especially on college students who need to read and study independently for class tests. There are certain techniques that you can employ to help improve your reading comprehension skills. This works not only for college student but also for everyone who wants to better understand and retain what they are reading.
Read in a quiet spot if you are having difficulty concentrating on your reading material. Distractions and excess noise will only hurt your reading comprehension because you can't comprehend something when you really aren't paying attention to it to begin with.
Read aloud if you don't understand something. If you actually hear the words, you can better comprehend what the author is trying to say. While this may seem silly, you should be reading in a quiet place anyway, so no one will be around to know that you are reading aloud.
Highlight or make a list of any unknown words that you come across while reading. Keep a dictionary handy so when you come across new words you can quickly look them up to discover their meaning. For better long-term vocabulary skills you can even write the unknown words and their definitions in a notebook and review them every once in awhile.
Ask yourself questions while you are reading. This is sometimes referred to as active reading. Ask yourself what the author is trying to say or what the important information is that you should know. By asking yourself these questions you can help yourself comprehend what the material is communicating. This also helps you retain the information because you are taking mental notes. If you find that mental notes are not working, then take your own notes on paper to help you better understand and remember what is going on in your reading.