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Study Skills 101 - South Bend-Elkhart: SQ3R Method

A libguide to help you learn more about how to study effectively


Survey is the first part of the SQ3R study method.  This step should be done before any reading is started. Basically, you want to survey the text or assigned reading you have.  Or, if you are just getting a new textbook, survey the first chapter as a way to familiarize yourself with how the book is laid out.

  1. Scan over what you will read
  2. Look at the length of the assignment
  3. Note all indexes, glossaries, and any other supplemental info
  4. Read all titles, headings, graphics, and table of contents
  5. Read the Introduction or Preface
  6. Read any study or review questions provided by the book

Once you have completed these steps, you are ready to move on to the next step!


After you have surveyed the text, the next part is to create questions about the material that you will answer as you read.  Occasionally, the text itself or your teacher provides study questions which you can use, but don't rely completely on those. Make sure to create your own questions as you read.  A few sample questions are below.

  • How do these concepts relate to each other?
  • What is the author saying here?
  • How can I apply this idea in real life?
  • What are some examples?


What is SQ3R?  It is actually a study method that has been proven very successful in the past.  There are five parts to SQ3R: Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review.  To the left and right are boxes that go into detail for each of these parts.

Read, Recite, Review

Reading is the 3rd part of the SQ3R method.  Now is when you will begin to read the text for comprehension.  There are a few tips below to help you get the most out of your reading.

  • Underline or highlight main ideas and supporting details only
  • Re-read difficult material a day or 2 later to understand confusing concepts
  • Follow the Rule of 10
  • Use any other strategies from the Reading Tab



Reciting and reviewing are the last steps you have to go through.  Reciting involves taking what you have read and summarizing it in your own words, section by section and answering the questions from the 2nd part of the method.  This is to help you remember what you read and also to let you know what you maybe didn't understand or need to go over again.

Reviewing is not actually done right away.  Reviewing should take place when you are studying for a test over the content you read.  Experts suggest spreading the reviewing period out over a week or so to help your brain remember, absorb, and process the information you are learning.  Spreading it out over a week can also help you to store the information longer and make it easier to remember for test time. Don't forget to put it in your weekly schedule!