Brilliant Study Hacks: SQ3R And Its Effectiveness In Writing Mind-Blowing Essays
Cruising through college is hard, and anybody who says otherwise must not have heard about mounds of assignments to trudge through every week in college. Topped with the immense pressure of too many assignments comes with a dreary reading list for all the subjects, and it is totally okay to feel like you should not have enrolled for a college degree in the first place.
We have all been there, done that. But you know what? Holding on to your academics despite all the challenges it constantly keeps throwing at you is actually super-beneficial in the long term. But then, you are old enough to understand that, and that is why it is best for us to not launch into that sermon today.
Instead, we bring you a brilliant study hack that might be the answer to all those hours of pondering over lengthy readings and not being able to decipher a single word. It is called the SQ3R method, and although it sounds like some alien spaceship sending cryptographic codes to earth, it is actually a great way that makes sure you can study smarter and retain better.
Decoding SQ3R – what and how
Educationist Francis P. Robinson is credited with the development of the SQ3R method smart studying, which he first published in his book Effective Study. Originally devised as a method to help college students understand that there was an effective way of deciphering their college textbooks, the method has come a long way since then. Withstanding the test of time, this is one of the pioneer methods of studying that will help you grasp those difficult concepts in coursework with ease.
The SQ3R method is an abbreviated form of the main techniques of this study format, that is, Survey (sometimes referred to as Skim), Question, Read, Recite, and Review. Here is a brief overview of the basic factors that you must employ to put this method to good use for your studies.
S – Survey/ Skim
The S in the method denotes the task of surveying or skimming the text for the most important information. This will help you grasp the basic tenets based on which the core concepts of the text have been explained to you. Here is how you can skim or survey the text that you need to read.
- Capture titles and headings where the main concepts are developed
- Identify important information by taking note of graphs, pictures and infographics within the text
- Take a good look at the footnotes for they provide crucial information too
- Check the first and last sentences of a paragraph for a broad understanding of the concepts and arguments
Q – Question
Next comes the Q. It denotes question or taking an inquisitive approach for the text. Turn everything that you have read so far into answers of simple when-what-how-who, and you will find that taking in so much of information all at once will become much easier. This step is especially helpful if you need to read through a big portion of text with difficult concepts or detailed arguments.
R1 – Read
Reading is the most basic of the steps in SQ3R, but this is not simply reading for reading's sake. To make sense of your coursework text, you need to employ a more critical and focused kind of reading. You can highlight portions that you feel are important or go about taking mini-notes as you read through it.
R2 – Recite
There is simply no matching good old recitation tasks that helped you retain more information as a kid. You can read a few important points and recite them out loud (by yourself or to a friend) to test how much you could remember. Reciting is a tried and tested technique of storing information in the long-term memory folder in your brain.
R3 – Review
Lastly comes the technique of reviewing. You can take reviews in many formats. Tests are a generally accepted format for review where you can time yourself and prepare a summary of what you have read so far in the text. However, if the prospect of testing yourself like that does not excite you, then you can simply ask a friend to question you on random parts of the text that you claim to have finished reading and see how much is still left to go.
It is only with a combination of all of these steps that you can work towards having a more fruitful study routine that helps you retain information in a better manner, so you start scoring superbly in those surprise quizzes from now on.
How to write essays in the SQ3R way
The sayings that you can improve the quality of your writing by becoming an attentive and avid reader have been done to death. While picking up a great reading habit is indeed a way to hone your writing skills, you will have to know the right technique to read in order to be able to turn all those hours of poring over books into a fruitful and informative essay.
Here is a bonus R from the SQ3R method of reading that helps you frame your sentences coherently and enables you to become a better writer. Once you get the hang of it, you will also be able to put the rest of SQ3R into good action for turning your erstwhile drab essays into engaging reads.
Bonus R – Relate and Write
Powering up your entire study scheme with a fourth R to figure in the factor of writing, this deals with the simple concepts of relating and writing what you read and comprehend. Here is how you can do that efficiently for your studies, taking help from the SQ3R method.
- Connect new knowledge with existing knowledge in your mind and form a link that helps you with retention
- Create mini-notes or doodles in your notebooks that summarise the text that you have read
- Take keywords and important phrases into account and jot them down whenever you can throughout the study session
- Prepare a full-length summary of the text after you finish reading it and compare yours with the original to identify the points that need to be worked upon for improvement
This apart, you will be able to integrate the entire model of SQ3R learning method in your essays in the following ways.
- You will learn how established writers in your discipline frame their sentences and construct their arguments
- You will pick up new words for your ever-extending vocabulary
- You will learn to integrate your writing into a coherent whole
Being a smart learner, you are sure to be able to incorporate these lessons into your writing patterns little by little. That is all it takes for having a more improved style of writing – a little bit of practice and tonnes of determination.
Establish a regular writing routine so you can put the SQ3R method to good use for honing your writing skills and writing better essays. The best way to do this is to start practising from day one. Jot down the initial ideas on a piece of paper and keep it handy when you sit down to pen an essay. You should put in concerted efforts to bring in a new flavour to your style of writing by using the tricks that you picked up while reading the SQ3R way.
Not only for writing essays, but you can introduce the SQ3R method in your study routine to comprehend difficult reading assignments in a much better way too. Try fitting this smart study hack, and you will unlock the door to better essays and comprehension with practice.
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