Hi guys! So I’ve noticed that a lot of people, including myself, struggle with reading directly from a textbook and actually retaining all of the information.
Well my friends I am here to change that [queue the victory music]. Recently I discovered a reading strategy known as the SQ3R technique. It stands for Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review. I’ve found this technique to be extremely helpful when it comes to reading through textbooks, and so now I’m passing this information onto my dear followers.
The first step in this process is to get a basic idea of what you’re going to be reading. Most textbooks have chapter outlines or a brief summary at the beginning of each chapter. Take about five minutes to skim through these. By doing this, you’ll have the basic structure of what you’ll be learning in your head.
This step will be repeated multiple times throughout your reading, so pay attention! Within each chapter, there are section titles that give you a vague idea of what the next few paragraphs will be about. This step asks that you turn the section title into a question. For example, we’ll say that our section title is “The Changing Role of the States.” You can turn this into questions such as “how did the role of the states change” and “which states changed and how.” When you turn the titles into questions, you end up looking for the answers while you’re reading rather than simply reading. This stops you from reading the same line over and over again.
This one’s the obvious one. Read your textbook. Take notes while you’re reading. Write down all the important definitions, concepts, names, dates, etc. But remember to take breaks! Taking a three minute break for every twenty minutes of reading allows information to settle in your brain. It also helps with memory retention.
I’ll admit I’m still a bit uncomfortable with this step but it’s helped me a lot with remembering what I’ve read. Basically, this step asks you to summarize what you’ve just read out loud. I do this after each section, and then I summarize the whole chapter once I’ve finished the chapter. (Pro Tip: If you’re uncomfortable with talking to yourself, try talking to a recording device or summarize to a nearby friend.)
Review, review, review. I cannot stress this enough. Read over your notes the day after, then the week after. Studies show that you remember 60% more of the material you learned when you review it the next day. Don’t forget you can review with more than just your notes! Make flashcards or foldables with the most important information in the chapter and quiz yourself! So many textbooks have quizzes online for each chapter, so use them!!!! I find mind maps to be super helpful in studying too. Reviewing is a super important step, so don’t think that you can forget about studying just because you’ve read through a chapter!
I might include that, as of recent, many professors have been saying that there is a fourth ‘R’ to this process: Relate. With this step you simply relate the information you’ve just read back to something important in your life. When you make connections with your reading, it becomes easier to remember the material.
Well that’s all I’ve got for you guys for now. I hope this helps at least a few of you. Keep on studying guys, and good luck on finals!