SQ3R is a study method taught to first year students in many tertiary institutions. But do you know how to use SQ3R study method effectively?
In this post I explore how you can use this powerful study tool to help understanding.
Francis Robinson introduced the SQ3R study method in 1946. It’s a study method that helps college students read and comprehend textbooks better.
My first real contact with SQ3R was in my first year at the university. Because it was part of my GSS 111(Use of English) course, I had to study what it was all about.
But, like many other students at the time, I didn’t make much of the method.
I had developed a set of study skills that had seen me through secondary school. So why try a new study method when the existing one got me to the university in the first place?
My study skills was simple. Go through past questions and memorize perfect answers to problems from that section of the syllabus.
And it worked 99% of the time. Why bother with a new SQ3R study method then?
So I memorized the key definitions and explanations for the SQ3R method. Without trying to understand how and where to use it.
And as expected, I passed with an A…
10 years later, I came across SQ3R study method again while surfing the web. This time I got deeply interested.
Thinking about this study method, I beat myself up for not using it then.
It could have made what I learned from my courses more permanent. (Most people forget concepts learned in school after they graduate and start working at a job).
While it is not possible for me to go back in time and put SQ3R to use, I have found SQ3R study method a useful tool in my professional life.
I consider this study method a tool anybody can use to learn anything permanently.
And I use it every day.
When I speak about using SQ3R to people, the usual objection is: “…but I don’t know how to use it.”
So, below I explore a step-by-step way to use SQ3R. Because the best way to learn new concepts is through examples, I explore the SQ3R method with an example article…
“Registering A Business With Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) In Nigeria.”
What is the meaning of SQ3R?
SQ3R is an acronym for: Survey, Question, Read, Recite and Review
At the survey stage, you don’t want to dive head on into the article or book chapter.
Just run through it quickly. Note headings and subheadings. Skim through one or two paragraphs to judge difficulty level. Decide if you’d need to draw a dictionary close or not. Begin to form in your head questions you’d want to see the article or book answer.
For my article example, here is what I did.
I ran through the article in 3 minutes, noting headings and subheadings. From my assessment, the article looked easy to read. No need for a dictionary. The key question I formed in my head was “how can a new business go about registration with CAC.
Now it was time for the next stage…
Here you want to turn the headings and subheadings into questions. Phrase the questions you want to see the article or book chapter answer.
For my business registration article, I turned some headings and subheadings into the questions below…
- What documents do I need to do this?
- Do I need to pay money for this?
- Why do I need to register my new business?
- How do I go about registering my new business? What is the process?
3. Read (R1)
Here is where you sweat your brains. You want to read actively, not passively. Reading actively helps you find answers to the questions you raised in (Q) above.
For example, during my reading, I generated the following answers to the questions raised in the (Q) stage…
- Filled CAC forms; memorandum and articles of association, and proof of payment
- Stamp duty and Filing fees
- Corporate account opening, access to loans and grants, and credibility in the business community.
- Online registration or outsourcing to a business consulting firm
4. Recite (R2)
Here is where I’ve done some change to Robinson’s SQ3R method. I replaced R with T. The T stands for Teach. You want to teach what you have learned to a friend or course mate.
Back to my article, I taught the business registration process with CAC to an imaginary friend. Let’s call my imaginary friend, Henry. He wants to register a new textile business, Henritex Nigeria Limited, with CAC.
So I walked him through the entire process from filling the forms to picking up his certificate.
5. Review (R3)
At this stage, you want to make sure you didn’t miss anything when you were teaching this concept to your imaginary friend.
Every key idea must be explained without you looking at the source material. In my case, if you wake me 4 a.m. any day, I can recount the process for getting your business registered with CAC.
Tell me, are you going to start using the SQ3R study method today?