A Plan for Studying

The  SQ3R  Plan* for studying has been around for many years.

It has stood the test of time, and it is still used in many tutoring centers because of its success.


                   First Step: SURVEY (1-3 min.)

  1. See how long the assignment is
  2. Look over the pictures, charts, diagrams.
  3. Read the title.
  4. Read the headings.
  5. Read the first sentence.
  6. Think about what information they all might be leading into.

                  Second Step: QUESTION (1-3 min.)

  1. Read over the teacher’s questions if (s)he gave any.
  2. Read the questions at the end of the chapter or assignment.
  3. Turn the headings into questions if you have no other questions.
  4. Make up your own questions which you think the text will answer.

These two steps should take just a few minutes, but they help focus your mind on the reading.


                Third Step: READ (time depends on length and complexity of text)

  1. Read the words carefully.
  2. Think while you read; don’t just read the words.
  3. Be sure you understand boldface and/or italicized words; they are important.
  4. Look them up in the glossary or dictionary if necessary.

                 Fourth Step: RECITE (1-5 min.)

  1. Don’t leave out this step! It is basically making sure you understand the ideas and can repeat them in your own words.
  2. Talk about the ideas to yourself as you read.
  3. You can recite after each paragraph or after each section.
  4. If you don’t understand something, read it again more carefully.
  5. If you still don’t understand it, make a note of it and ask the teacher in the next class.

               Fifth Step: REVIEW (5 m in.)

  1. Let some time pass if possible.
  2. Read the summary at the end if there is one.
  3. Think of the main points of the text and be sure your understand them.
  4. Try to answer your questions quickly, without looking back. If you cannot do this, be sure to go back and reread to understand.

Continue to practice this plan for studying with all subjects until it becomes natural. The student will truly reap its benefits for many years!

Be sure to check out our free Study Habits Self-Help Test for extra guidance.

Reading Spotlight’s Blog Post: The Most Effective Study Practices  includes some interesting research-based information.

*© F.P. Robinson 1970

© Reading Spotlight 2020