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The SQ4R Way

Use the following steps in the SQ4R method to comprehend what the reading selection is about and to determine what information is to be remembered.

  1. The first step of the SQ4R technique is SURVEY. Read the title of the chapter and the author’s name. Read all headings, subheadings, graphs, charts, and illustrations and refer to summary and review questions.
  2. After surveying the chapter to get an idea of what it is about, convert the headings and subheadings into QUESTIONS. If you have trouble formulating questions, use the who, what, when, why and how questions. Write these questions down. For example, if the subheading is Nouns and Pronouns, the questions to ask are: What is a noun? What is a pronoun? How are they alike? How are they different? When do I use a noun? When do I use a pronoun?
  3. Now, READ for answers to the questions you have recorded. Skim the first line of the paragraph under the heading. Do not read the paragraph word-for-word but read for facts and answers only.
  4. Using the questions and answers you have recorded, ask yourself each question, and then RECITE the answer aloud. Do this for each of the questions you have recorded.
  5. WRITE these answers down in a very simplified, abbreviated form. Follow the same procedure for each question you recorded in step 2.
  6. REVIEW your notes as soon as possible after you have recited them. Review is more beneficial if done in many short durations and immediately after the reading, rather than one long period of studying time. For extra reinforcement, ask a friend to drill you over your notes.

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SQ4R may appear to be a complicated and time-consuming process at first glance, but this text-reading system ensures the thorough learning required of students and also saves the later "relearning" time often necessitated by more casual approaches to reading. You will be surprised at how much less time you spend and how much more you remember when you get ready to review for exams. In the long run, you’ll save time and remember more of what you read.



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