SQ4R: Survey, Question, Record-Recite-Review
Survey - 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 this 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 - 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 miss them.
- Notice reading aids - italics, bold face print, chapter objective, end-of-chapter questions are all included to help you sort, comprehend and remember.
Question - Help your mind engage and concentrate.
- One section at a time, turn the boldface heading 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.
Read - Fill in the information around the mental structures you’ve been building.
- Read each section (one at time) with your questions in mind. Look for the answers, and notice if you need to make some new questions.
Record - Select only main ideas and major supporting details as well as all definitions.
- Write marginal notes.
- Take notes on paper or on the computer.
- Make flash cards.
- Make visual mappings.
- Finally, write a summary of each section or chapter. Use your own words
Recite - retrain your mind to concentrate and learn as it needs
- After each section, stop. Recall your questions and see if you can answer them from memory. If not, look back again (as often as necessary) but don’t go on to the next section until you can recite.
Review - refine your mental organization and begin building memory.
Once you’ve finished the entire chapter using the preceding steps, go back over all the questions from all the headings. See if you can still answer them. If not, look back and refresh your memory, then continue.
(REMEMBER - The information you gain from reading is important. If you just “do it” without learning something, you’re wasting a lot of time. Train your mind to learn.)