SQ4R Study Technique


SQ4R is an effective study technique that engages the student and makes studying more active and hands-on. The endless drudge of sifting through long texts with the constant task of memorizing facts only to forget them 10 minutes can feel very disheartening and demoralizing. If this sounds Like what you’re going through, why not give the SQ4R approach a go and see if it makes you a more proactive and motivated learner.

So what is it all about?

SSurvey or Scan. When facing into studying a chapter or topic most people will begin by reading the text and continue reading until they have finished the chapter, or they will read it paragraph by paragraph and learn it off by heart. The SQ4R method asks you not to do that. Instead scan over the chapter. Just read the headings and the words underlined or emboldened. Look at the diagrams and the charts and try to make sense of them. Finally read over the chapter summary.

Q – Question. Now that you have scanned the chapter you have some idea of the content. You now need to Question it. When we question things it puts our mind to work and engages our learning. So turn the headings into questions. E.g. History Topic – ‘The Berlin Blitz’ transform this heading into ‘What was the Berlin Blitz?’  Continue using this technique with all the headings in the chapter. Then read the questions asked at the end of the chapter. You are now armed with the questions and you know what information you need to find.

R – Read. Now read the chapter. One paragraph at a time. Read the questions you have made up. Find the answer to your question in the text. Now you need to employ the 2nd R – Recite. Read the question again and recite the answer in your own words. If you can do this then move onto the 3rd R – Record. Without using the text, record or write the answer to your question. This task will tell you if you know the information or not. Continue working in this way until you have covered all topics in the chapter.


R – Revise. Finally you wouldn’t be studying unless there was revision involved. The 4th R is Revise. When you have learnt the information you need to go back over it. Look at the chapter as a whole now. Look at the questions you asked yourself and see if you know the answers. If so you can move onto the next chapter but don’t forget to revisit and revise your work at regular intervals to ensure you know it.


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