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SQ4R - a solid textbook study system

sq4r tutorial


The purpose of surveying is to give you an overview of what you are planning to read.  By having an idea of what the chapter is about, you are more likely to mentally organize ideas when you read more in depth later. 

Spend only about 1 or 2 minutes on this step. 

Look (survey) for core ideas by:
A. Scanning through all the headings.
B. Reading the chapter summary (if there is one).



The purpose of questioning prior to reading is to stimulate your curiosity which will in turn help your comprehension of the material.  Questioning helps make a bridge between what you already know and what you need to know. 

Save your questions for when you do the next step "Read" (you can use them later as a test review ).

Write your own questions by:
A. Looking at chapter headings, for example "New Tax Law Problems"
B. Changing the heading into a question, i.e... "What are the new tax law problems?"


Actively search for answers to your questions by reading the passage you surveyed.

Read the:
A. Whole paragraph or section.
B. Look for the main idea  and supporting details (these will probably contain the answers for which you're looking).


Write in your textbook, notes, on flashcards, etc.: 
A. Underline important ideas, concepts, words, etc..
B. Highlight (only 3 or 4 important words on a page).
C. Write notes in the margins.
D. Make flashcards from 3" x 5" cards or paper.


After each section, look away from what you are reading, and try to briefly recite answers to your questions:
A. Stop and ask "What was Main Idea?"
B. Answer your own questions you wrote in the Question section (above).
C. Return to text and notes to check answers.


Review what you've read
A. Test yourself after finishing the chapter or assignment.
B. Return to text to check answers.

Irene Lietz, CSS Summer, 1987

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