Speed Learning With SQR3

By: Michael Tony Jones

SQ3R is a reading/study system preferred by many educators.

It can add 10 to 15% more time to a study session. However, it can produce a 70% improvement in retention according to some researchers.

The SQ3R acronym stands for:

S = Survey
Q = Question
R = Read
R = Recite
R = Review

SURVEY:

Take five minutes to get an overview of the material paying special attention to organization and content.

Look out for diagrams, maps, pictures, charts. Take note of headings, boldface type, italicized words.

QUESTION:

Create interest in the material by asking the leading questions - What, Who, Where, When, How.

Keeping the mind focused on these questions as we read maintains interest in the material.

Ask yourself, "What is likely to be the most challenging part of this material for me to understand or remember?"

READ:

Look for answers to your questions from the previous stage. This means active reading. Summarize the main points in your own words, perhaps putting notes in the margin.

Read the whole paragraph first, then go back and underline key words or phrases.

Caution on underlining: Don't overdo it or nothing will stand out.

RECITE:

Without looking at your material recite the main points. Answer the questions you raised in step 2 (Question) in your own words.

If you can't explain it in your own words, you don't understand it - even if you think you do!

Verify your answer by checking the text.

REVIEW:

After applying the previous four stages to your material section by section, review the whole lesson at the end.

Note the parts that did not come to mind so easily and check the material again.

Re-read your margin notes and underlined words and phrases. Verbalize the sequence of main points.

Do this frequently within a two day period.

That's SQ3R in a nutshell. Sounds like hard work? Yes. But apply yourself and see your retention ability skyrocket!

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