Many study reading methods have been evolved. Although known by different titles and utilizing slightly different steps, all of them have one thing in common, an organized approach to material to be learned.
The SQ3R study reading method was developed by Francis Robinson. It is a 5-step program. Its goals are to assure that a student will know what she/he has studied because she/he will have crystallized it in a question/answer form.
Steps of the SQ3R Method*
- Survey the Chapter. Determine the structure, organization, or plan of the chapter. Details will be remembered because of their relationship to the total picture.
- Think about the title. Guess what will be included in the chapter.
- Read the introduction. This is where the main ideas are presented.
- Read the summary. Here is the relationship among the main ideas.
- Read the main heads. (bold-face type)
- Use the questions at the beginning or end of the chapter.
- Formulate questions by changing main-heads and sub-heads to questions. Having in mind a question results in: (1) a spontaneous attempt to answer with information already at hand; (2) frustration until the question is answered; (3) a criterion against which the details can be inspected to determine relevance and importance; (4) a focal point for crystallizing a series of ideas (the answer).
- Read. Read to answer the question. Move quickly. Sort out items and ideas and evaluate them. If content does not relate to the question, give it only a passing glance. Read selectively.
- Recite. Answer the question—in your own words, not the author’s. Then:
- Write the question (on a sheet of paper to contain all the notes for this chapter—so, keep it brief—use abbreviations whenever possible).
- Write the answer using only key words, listings, etc., that are needed to recall the whole idea.
- Review. Increase retention and cut cramming time by 90% by means of immediate and delayed review. To do this:
- Read your written questions.
- Try to recite the answer. If you can’t, look at your notes. Five to ten minutes should be enough time for a chapter.
- Review again after one week.
IMPORTANT: GIVE THE METHOD A FAIR TRIAL. It may be a slow and difficult task at first, but with practice, studying will become less painful and tedious.
*from Effective Study, by F.P. Robinson, New York, Harper’s 1961