Self Help-SQ4R

SQ4R Method for Reading
  1. Survey

    Determine the structure, organization, or plan of chapter. Details will be remembered
    because of their relationship to the total picture.
    1. Think about the title. Guess what will be included in the chapter.
    2. Read the introduction. Here the main ideas are presented: the “forest” which must
      be seen before the details & the “trees” which make organized sense.
    3. Read the summary. Here is the relationship among the main ideas.
    4. Read the main heads (boldface type). Here are the main ideas. Determine where in
      the sequences of ideas each the headings is located.

  2. Question

    Having in mind a question results in (1) a spontaneous attempt to answer it with information
    already at hand; (2) frustration until the question is answered; (3) a criterion against
    which the details can be inspected to determine relevance and importance; (4) a focal
    point for crystallizing a series of ideas (the answer).
    1. Use the questions at the beginning or end of the chapter.
    2. Formulate question by changing main heads or subheads into questions.

    Example: Causes of Depression. What are the causes of depression? What conditions
    are usually present before depression occurs?

  3. Read

    Read to answer the question. Move quickly. Sort out ideas and evaluate them. If content
    does not relate to the question, give it only a passing glance. Read selectively.

  4. Recite

    Answer the question(s) in your own words, not the authors’.
  5. (W)Rite
    1. Write the question.
    2. Write the answer using only key words, lists, etc.

  6. Review

    Increase retention and decrease cramming time by 90% by means of immediate and delayed
    review. To do this:
    1. Read your written questions.
    2. Try to recite the answer. Five to ten minutes will suffice for a chapter.
    3. Review again in another week.


  • Active involvement in reading the text is important for comprehending and remembering the material
    being studied.
  • Use 3" x 5" index cards. Write the question on one side and the answer on the other (using key words,
    formulas, etc.). Use as flash cards — carry them with you and review when you have spare time.