There are a number of different strategies that you can use to improve your note taking. One of the strategies that a number of individuals use is the SQ3R strategy. SQ3R, which stands for Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review, is a note taking strategy in which a note taker attempts to create a series of questions before he or she reads a book or handout so that the note taker can attempt to answer those questions as he or she reads. This strategy can be very helpful when you’re trying to take notes on a section of your textbook that you haven’t already read.
To use the SQ3R strategy, there are five things that you must do.
- First, you have to search the chapter or, in other words, survey the chapter for topics, subtopics, key terms, and other similar key points. In most cases, you will be able to find this information by looking at the heading of each section, the italicized or bold words in your textbook, the words included in the glossary or key term list for the chapter, the chapter summary, and other similar locations. It is important to note, however, that this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should read the chapter, but instead means that you should skim it for important information.
- Secondly, once you have a list of the key points in the chapter, you have to turn each key point into a question. For example, if you’re reading about acids and bases, you might ask yourself, “What is the difference between an acid and a base?”; “What is a pH?”; “Where do the names for acids and bases come from?”; “What is the difference between strong acids and bases and weak acids and bases?” and other similar questions.
- Third, after you have created a list of questions about the topics covered in the chapter, you have to read the chapter to find the answers to each of the questions that you created. Fourth, every time that you reach the end of a section, you have to ask yourself if you have found any of the answers that you’re looking for. If you think that you have, you should say the answer aloud. This will help you to not only see the information that you’re studying, but it will also help you hear it. Finally, when you have finished the section that you are reading and you think that you have found all of the answers that you were looking for, you need to make a list of all of the questions that you originally set out to answer and a list of the answers to each question.