Introduction to SQ3R

Introduction to SQ3R

What is SQ3R?

Welcome to our very first blog post!

Today, we are going to let you in on a little hack to ease your studies. The SQ3R-method is a tried and true way of reading. ”SQ3R” is a five-step method to increase how much you understand of what you read. The advantage of SQ3R is that it provides some easy to remember steps that you can memorize and use as an approach to almost any work you read.

SQ3R has five steps: “Survey,” “Questions,” “Read,” “Recall,” and “Review.”

Let’s dive into it!

Textbook on table

1) Survey

When reading, the first thing you have to do is survey the book, chapter, or paper.

Start with briefly skimming the chapter, paying attention to headings, and emphasized parts (boxes with explanations, definitions, etc.). First, write down your jotted observations on a piece of paper or in your notebook and then try to produce a qualified guess about what the author is conveying—progress on to reading the summary if such exist.

2) Questions

Next up is questions.

Turn headings into questions; for example, “The future of the planet” becomes “What is the future of the planet?”. Note these questions on your paper or notebook.

3) Read

Look at your questions and start reading with these questions in mind. Answer them as you go along by providing bullet points, in your own words, under each item.

4) Recall

Recall what you have just read without glancing over your notes. What are the key takeaways of what you have just read? As a rule of thumb - you should probably use more time on recalling than on actually reading.

Recalling will help anchor the learnings in your memory. At first, new material will be challenging to remember, but you'll recollect those same learnings easier as you go through this exercise a couple of times.

5) Review

In the fifth and final step, you will compare your thoughts and findings with your notes.

Did you sufficiently answer the questions?

Did something surprise you?

Take a moment to grasp everything, and don't be afraid to go through the same process a couple of times. This is especially true for academically challenging material, which usually takes some time to get comfortable with.


Since being initially presented by Francis P. Robinson in 1946, SQ3R has proved a valuable resource for students worldwide in studying more efficiently.

University is about learning and immersing yourself in literature that can be hard to understand. By using a technique such as SQ3R, you can attain a better understanding of reading a paper or book.

Read more about SQ3R at Dartmouth’s website.