SQ3R Method

Tara Kuther, Writing for About.Com

To become a more efficient reader, consider the SQ3R method (survey, question, read, recite, review) to help you retain more without having to reread so often.

Survey. Before reading, survey the material. Glance through the topic headings and try to get an overview of the reading. Skim the sections and read the final summary paragraph to get an idea of where the chapter is going. The few minutes you spend surveying the reading to get an initial orientation will help you organize the material as you read it.

Question. Look at the first heading in the chapter. Turn it into a question. Ask questions to be answered in your reading. This step requires conscious effort, but is worth it as it leads to active reading, the best way to retain written material. Asking questions focuses your concentration on what you need to learn or get out of your reading.

Read. Read the first section of your reading assignment to answer your question. Actively search for the answer to your question. If you finish the section and haven't answered the question, reread it. Read reflectively. Consider what the author is trying to say, and think about how you can use that information.

Recite. Once you've read an initial section, look away and try to recite the answer to your question, using your own words and examples. If you can do this, it means that you understand the material. If you can't, glance over the section again. Once you have the answers to your questions, write them down.

Review. After reading the entire assignment, test your memory by asking yourself the questions that you've identified. Review your notes for an overview of the chapter. Consider how it fits with what you know from the course, your experience and other classes. What is the material's significance? What are the implications or applications of this material? What questions are you left with?