SQ3R: What Is It? How Can It Help?
No, it isn’t a hashtag or the name of a band you haven’t heard of. SQ3R is an abbreviated form of a method of study proven to make your studying more effective. SQ3R stands for Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review. The idea behind this concept is to work smarter, not harder. There is no need to study the same material for hours upon hours if you study it correctly the first time. It’s very similar to the hourglass method for study. Compare the two and see for yourself!
SQ3R 1) Survey
Take about 10-15 minutes per chapter to lightly read the material. Think of it as a bit more than just skimming, but definitely not reading the entire chapter. You should be making note of headings, subheadings, pictures, and vocabulary. If there are review questions at the end of the chapter, take a look at those to get an idea of what you should be retaining from the material. You don’t need to know the answers just yet, but having an objective in mind can help to tune out extra, unnecessary information.
SQ3R 2) Question
After you’ve read the material, turn the headings and everything else you noticed during your survey into questions of your own. Write these questions down to discuss during class. If you already know the answers from background knowledge or the time spent surveying the material, write down the answers too. Was there something you didn’t understand about the material? Write this down as well. This gives your studying a purpose so you aren’t simply staring at words on paper. You should have several questions without answers by the time you are done. A good rule of thumb is one question per paragraph. (How to take notes)
SQ3R 3) Read
This is the point where you really dig into the material. You have asked a ton of questions, and now you find the answers. While you answer questions, be sure to underline or highlight main ideas that support your answers. Have an answer? You should be able to defend it with evidence.
SQ3R 4) Recite
Put the notes you have taken into your own words and say them out loud. And then say them again. And again. And…you get the idea. You should recite the words until you REALLY know them and feel capable of teaching the material to someone else. If someone is around and willing to listen, teach them the material and let them ask questions. As long as you are speaking the notes you have taken out loud, you’re committing the material to your long-term memory a little more each time you say it.
SQ3R 5) Review
You have studied it all and know your stuff by now. But this is the place where you can lose sight of the big picture if you’re not careful. Review your material from the beginning and make sure you know not only the details, but understand them. During the review, the areas that still need work will become obvious. If you can relate material you have studied to other, personal situations, you have an even better chance at remembering it. For example, if you’re learning about the “Red Scare” and your fingernails are painted red, connecting these two things in your mind will make them far easier to recall.
Commit to studying this way, and you’ll find your memory is sharper and your test grades are better. As an added bonus, you’ll spend less time with your nose in a book.
MJ Prep is creating a study skills program that emphasizes the SQ3R reading process. Contact us to get more details!