SQ3R is an active reading exercise that is designed to help you get a fuller understanding of your reading materials. You will need to keep a pen and some paper on hand to use this method. SQ3R stands for:

Survey: The first step of SQ3R is to survey the chapter. Survey means to observe the layout of something and get an idea of how it is constructed. Skim over the chapter and observe the titles and subtitles, take a look at the graphics, and make a mental note of the overall layout.

The survey of the chapter gives you an idea of what the author considers most important. Once you have surveyed the chapter, you will have a mental framework of the reading assignment. Jot down any words that are in bold or italics.

Question: Jot down questions that address the chapter titles and boldface (or italicized) words you've noted.

Read: Now that you have a framework in your mind, you can begin to read for deeper understanding.

Start at the beginning and read the chapter, but stop and write down test questions for yourself as you go, fill-in-the-blank style. Why do this? Sometimes things make perfect sense as we read, but not so much sense later on, as we try to remember. The questions you form will help the information "sticks" in your head.

Recite: When you reach the end of a particular passage or section, quiz yourself on the questions you’ve written. Do you know the material well enough to answer your own questions? It’s a good idea to read and answer aloud to yourself.

Review: For best results, the review step of SQ3R should take place a day after the other steps. Go back to review your questions, and see if you can answer them all easily. If not, go back and review the survey and the reading steps.