SQ3R: Still a Classic Study Method

The SQ3R study method is a technique that goes back decades, and possibly more than a century.  Still, there always seem to be those who have never heard of this classic way of studying your textbooks.  So for that group of people, let’s talk about it.

SQ3R is a study method which can be applied to any textbook for any of your college (or high school) classes.   And yes, each letter and number has an important meaning.

THE “S” stands for SURVEY. The first thing you should do is survey the material in the book, the chapter or the section you’re reading.  This means you scan the material in its entirety.  As you do so, pay attention to how the information is organized and formatted.  Take a look at the table of contents and the various chapter titles and topic headings.  Look at any outlines and bulleted points.  And as you survey, take some brief notes.

The “Q’ stands for asking QUESTIONS following your survey. These are questions that you don’t yet know the answers for, but which you expect the text to answer.  In short, this is material that expect to learn.

3R means simply that there are three important words to remember that start with the letter “R.”  The first one is READ.  After you’ve surveyed and come up with some questions, read the material thoroughly.  As you do so, think about your questions and see if you can find the answers to these questions.  Again jot down some notes about the important points you encounter in your reading.  Once you complete the reading, think about whether all of your questions were answered.  If so, write down those answers now.

The next “R” is for REVIEW. You need to focus on your text notes and markings and review those points in your mind.  Really concentrate on mastering these points.

And finally, the third “R” stands for RECITE. This means you need to be able to vocally enunciate all that you’ve learned from this book or section.  If you cannot recall something well enough to put it into words, you might not know it well enough for the test when it’s given. So recite the major points again and again until they are engraved on your brain.  As you complete your SQ3R process, you’ll be impressed what you recall–and you’ll know why so many generations of students have used it.

More on SQ3R from Wikipedia


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Modified: October 30th, 2018 October 30th, 2018
Published: April 14th, 2010

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