SQ3R Method | Survey | Question | Read | Recite | Review

Written by Waseem Raza

SQ3R method of study was developed by Robinson (1941) to provide students with a systematic approach for studying a textbook. The key idea behind reading is that your textbooks have something you want. They have knowledge and valuable information. An effective strategy for successful reading and retaining of Ih materials you have read, is SQ3R Method.


To read effectively, it’s important that you read with a purpose. The SQ3R Textbook Studying Method helps students:

  • select the important ideas and facts in a text
  • understand a text
  • retain the information you need to learn
  • make important information easy to review

SQ3R stands for the following terms:

S Survey

The Survey step helps you to see the scope of the assignment and its important parts. Start with the conclusion then go to the introduction, headings, vocabulary, diagrams/charts, and examples. This will give you an overview of the text.

• Spend 2 — 5 minutes surveying the text.

Q Question

The Questioning step engages your brain in actively approaching the material and thinking about assessment and significance; writing out a list of questions in an outline form allows you to create a study guide. Turn each heading into a question, or write a series of questions you have about the material. You should be able to come up with a good set of questions based on your survey.

• Spend 5 — 10 minutes writing your questions.

R Read

The Reading step can be directed then, focusing on what is important and what is missing from your notes. Read the text with the purpose of answering the questions you wrote. Actively search for the main idea; don’t expect it to jump off the page!

• This should take about 20% of your study time.

R Recite

The fourth step is Recite, which again engages your brain in two different ways; using your own words and speaking aloud, and also listening to yourself. You can do this step with a tutor, or with any study buddy, or by yourself. Write the answers to your questions in your own words and recite them out loud.

This will take the bulk of your study time: 70 —80%.

R Review

The last step, Review, encourages you to go back over your material in a focused way, thinking about the questions and which answers you know well and which you don’t. Remember that because of the “question” stage, at any point after that, you can identify areas where you need help and ask questions to get specific support from a tutor or your professor on a topic or concept. Review the notes you took on the chapter often until you are certain you understand and know the information.

• Spend 5 — 10 minutes reviewing your notes

How is SQ3R Taught?

The teacher should introduce and review the technique, with a large group, using an overhead projector. A worksheet guides the students.

Difficulties with SQ3R

This strategy requires direct, intensive, and repeated instruction from the teacher. Students can be reluctant to invest in the strategy as the learning of SQ3R requires their commitment to careful study and practice. However, research supports the efficacy of the study skills incorporated into this strategy.

Suggested Procedure of SQ3R Reading Strategy

The suggested procedure by which the implementation of the SQ3R reading strategy is carried out successfully in a reading class is as follows:

  • The teacher should start the lesson by activating the students’ prior knowledge.
  • In the very first step of the strategy, that is, “surveying”, the teacher should guide the students to survey the text by skimming the text to get the keywords and the main ideas.
  • The second step of the strategy, that is, “questioning”, the teacher should guide the students to generate questions based on the keywords and main ideas acquired in the previous step.
  • In the third step of the strategy, that is, “reading”, the teacher should guide the students to get detailed information from the text, reminding them to get the answers to their own questions, and not to let them write notes during this step.
  • ln the fourth step of the strategy, that is, “reciting”, the teacher should students to write notes and the answers to the questions that have been generated in “questioning” step, and not to let them open the text again.
  • Fifth step of the strategy, that is, “reviewing”, the teacher should guide the students to review the text and help them to find whether there is any missing information during the first reading session.

Reward method might be helpful to motivate the students so that they will be enthusiastic in following the lesson. The use of pair and group discussion is very helpful in giving the students the opportunity to share their ideas with their friends. Read more

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