Study Skills Series: SQ3R

by Robert Craig, University of Bristol Law School

[The introduction to the series can be found here]

One widely recommended way to try to distil complex texts into notes is called “the SQ3R method”. It means “Skim, Question, Read, Recall, Review”. Some of you may find it useful, but – again – don’t force yourself to do things that don’t work for you. In essence, the SQ3R method means you first Skim the whole chapter and make a note of the main section headings, so you have an overview. Then you ask yourself (“Question”) what you are trying to get from the material – try to identify a few main things you want to know after each subsection. Then you Read a small section of the chapter – say 3-4 pages – without taking notes. Then you look away and Recall the main points. Then you Review those points by writing down the main points in your own words and from memory. This is crucial. Don’t write out what the author of the textbook said. And try to use simple, clear sentences. Also consider using the dictation tool on Word – my note taking improved massively when I started using that.

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