"SQ3R" is a study technique which provides you with a purpose for what you are reading.


  • Determine the structure or organization of the chapter
  • Think about the title. Guess what will be included in the chapter.
  • Read the introduction. The main will help you understand or make sense of the details.
  • Read the main-headings. Here are the main ideas.
  • Read the summary. Here is the relationship among the main ideas.
  • Read the questions at the end of the chapter. These will help you to identify important parts of the chapter.


  • Turn each heading and subheading into a question.
  • You are looking for SOMETHING rather then simply looking at WORDS.
  • Write the question on the front of a 3X5 index card- and put the answer on the back!


  • Read only that section, looking for the answers to your questions. Move quickly. Sort out ideas and evaluate them. If content does not relate to the question, give it only a glance


  • Answer the question in your own words, not the author's
  • Then write the answer using only key words that are needed to recall the entire idea


  • Increase retention and cut cramming time by 90% by means of immediate and delayed review
  • Use the note cards that you have made to study the main ideas


Respond to each of the following statements with "Always," "Sometimes," or "Never" to evaluate how often you utilize effective reading strategies:

  • I preview all of my textbooks to review the learning aids provided by the authors.
  • I preview each chapter before I read.
  • I think of questions as I read.
  • I underline my textbook as I read.
  • I look for main ideas as I read.
  • I use maps or charts to organize the content I read.
  • I complete exercises pr answer questions at the end of each chapter when I am finished reading.
  • I make notes to identify material I don't understand.
  • I constantly monitor my understanding as I read.
  • I read my assignments before attending lectures.

Try it Out

The following exercise is taken from the book Motivation and Learning Strategies for College Success: A Self-Management Approach by Myron H. Dembo and Helena Seli.

Read the following passage and see how much you can remember:

The procedure is actually quite simple. First you arrange things into two different groups depending on their makeup. Of course, one pile may be sufficient, depending on how much there is to do. If you have to go somewhere else due to lack of facilities that is the next step, otherwise you are pretty well set. It is important not to overdo any particular endeavor. That is, it is better to do too few things at once than too many. In the short run this may not seem important, but complications from doing too many can easily arise. A mistake can be expensive as well. The manipulation of the appropriate mechanisms should be self-explanatory, and we need not dwell on it here. At first the whole procedure will seem complicated. Soon, however, it will become just another facet of life. It is difficult to foresee any end to the necessity for this task in the immediate future, but then one never can tell.

Surely you recognized all the words in the paragraph. Yet, you probably still had difficulty understanding what you were reading. Don't be disappointed if you did not understand the passage or remember much of the content. Most people don't remember one thing after the first time of reading it.

Now, read the passage again, but this time keep the title "Washing Clothes" in mind. You should be able to make more sense of the passage because the title provides a meaningful context or framework for understanding the text, (Dembo et al, 38-39).

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