How To Study, A Method Called SQR3
The buses are rolling again. Fall is around the corner and parents are relishing the once again quiet of an empty house.
Kids look forward to going back to school with varying levels of anxiety and anticipation. A big part of their anxiety is rooted in their lack of true study skills.
This post is about fixing that problem.
Steps To Successful Studying
There is a five step study method that has been taught by teachers who want their kids to succeed. Its acronym is very easy to remember and helps one recall each stage. SQR3 is the acronym.
SQR3 steps are:
Using Survey To Get Started
The definition of the word ‘survey’ is to look carefully and thoroughly at someone or something, especially so as to appraise them. In our case that something is the material that you are trying to master.
I think it helpful to list a few synonyms. Making the decision to ‘survey’ a thing is not a daily routine for most. Survey is generally thought of as a ‘poll.’ As in, “We are taking a ‘survey’ or we are taking a ‘poll.’
Here are those I think will help you survey your study materials efficiently.
- look over
Basically, to survey the material you should just flip the pages, scanning to learn about how the material is organized.
Does it have comment boxes surrounded by borders?
Does it have boxes marked “Important Tip” or something similar?
Lots of times there will be boxes in the margins entitled things like “Did you know?” “Something to think about.” Anytime you see this, you know the author thinks this is particularly relevant the subject. You are also likely to see this information on the test, so, you are forewarned.
- What is this material about?
- Why is this important to me? (Aside from passing a test.)
What does it seem to be saying is important? What is it that the author is trying to teach me? Make a few notes about things that seem to stand out.
Read the material. Do I mean just speed read while your favorite show is taking half your attention? While I suppose it would be better than nothing I doubt it will maximize your comprehension.
When I say read, I mean:
- Immerse yourself in it.
- If there are audiovisual resources or other resources listed on line, make sure to watch or read them all.
- Read at a comfortable pace, moving back and forth in the material, looking for connections amongst the various points made.
- Take your time, moving slowly enough to absorb the material, fast enough to keep yourself from getting bored.
Recite means to read the material out loud. Recite it to the world through the main window. Recite it to your dog. I am sure he will love the attention. Recite it while sitting …everywhere you sit.
Why? You know, I do not have an authoritative explanation, but I do have some thoughts on the matter.
Reading only involves he sense of sight and to a much lesser degree, touch.
- Involves the sense of sight as does reading.
- It also involves the sense of sound.
- If you pace when you recite you are tying all kinds of sensory input to the material.
To sum it up, your eyes see it. Your ears hear it again directing the knowledge to your brain through a second channel. If you pace as you recite you are tying the knowledge to even more sensory input.
Now that you have completed this process, review what it is you now know. How much do you think you have learned? This process can be repeated until you are satisfied with your retention.
Folks tend to learn best when their studying is disciplined and regular. A fixed study time is helpful because setting one teaches the brain to quickly drop into a learning mode at the appointed time.
Also, they tend to retain smaller chunks of knowledge at a time so pick a time period somewhere between 15 minutes and an hour.
As long as it presents no health problems for you, eating just a little bit of sweet, like a teaspoon of honey, before each study period can enhance retention and comprehension. Why? Most likely it is because the brain is 90% fat by weight and uses exclusively glucose as an energy source.
While it is not part of the SQR3 method per se, I have found it helpful to take intense notes during class and apply the SQR3 method to my notes as well. Using highlighters, clips and post its can also further enhance retention by providing more things to which information can be attached.
I really hope this helps. It is applicable to any and every thing which one wants to master, whether we are talking about 6th grade civics class or PDFs on how to master SEO or how to work from home.