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SQ3R - Reading/Study System

SQ3R is a reading comprehension method named for its five steps: survey, question, read, recite, and review. Follow the steps below to learn how to glean as much information as possible from the text requirements from any class.

Remember: The information you gain from reading is important. If you just “do it,” without learning something, you’re wasting a lot of your time. Train your mind to learn while reading with SQ3R.


Gather the information necessary to focus and formulate goals

  • Read the title – Help your mind prepare to receive the subject at hand.
  • Read the introduction and/or summary – Orient yourself to how each chapter fits the author's purposes, and focus on the author's statement of most important points.
  • Notice each boldface heading and subheading – Organize your mind before you begin to read and build a structure for the thoughts and details to come.
  • Notice any graphics – Charts, maps, diagrams, etc. are there to make a point. Don't overlook them.
  • Notice reading aids – Italics, bold face print, chapter objective, and end-of -chapter questions are all included to help you sort, comprehend, and remember.


Help your mind engage and concentrate

Turn the boldface heading for each section into as many questions as you think will be answered in that section. The better the questions, the better your comprehension is likely to be. You may always add further questions as you proceed. When your mind is actively searching for answers to questions it becomes engaged in learning.


Fill in the information around the mental structures you've been building

Read one section at a time with your questions in mind and look for the answers. Recognize when you need to make up some new questions.


Retrain your mind to concentrate and learn as it reads

After each section, stop and recall your questions and see if you can answer them from memory. If not, look back at the text again (as often as necessary), but don't move to the next section until you can recite the answers from the previous one.


Refine your mental organization and begin building memory

Once you've finished the entire chapter using the preceding steps, go back over the questions you create for every heading. See if you can still answer them. If not, look back and refresh your memory and then continue.