For many, studying and preparing for the GACE Test is comprised of reading and familiarizing with material. While everyone has their own method to studying, it is sometimes too easy to read through material without truly retaining and learning the information. For those looking to increase their critical thinking and retain the information studied in the most effective way, consider the SQ3R method. This great little studying method will help you sharpen your study skills and get the most out of your study time.
SQ3R stands for Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review. At the beginning of the study session be sure to write this little slogan down.
The first part, Survey, is done before anything is actually studied. Much like any other situation dealing with the unfamiliar, surveying the GACE test study content identifies what exactly is being looked at, what needs to be done, and how to achieve it. Consider it to be like a road map before a trip, in which you can familiarize yourself with the various routes and landscape. This sets the mental framework for successful studying and learning.
Question occurs as you read or study. While actively looking through and reading materials, ask basic questions (such as the who, what, when, where, why, and how) and whatever else that relates to the material. This directs you to understanding what the most important parts of the material are, and eliminates unimportant and irrelevant information. The Question portion also challenges you to think critically and truly understand the material. It is recommended to keep track of the important questions and answers by writing them down.
The next part, Read, seems self explanatory. It involves reading your study materials and guides. However, keep in mind that you should not skim the material, but instead read actively. Focus on the main points of the text and the main questions that should be answered after reading it. Bold and italicized words are important to be recognized, as well as tables and charts. By reading with purposed you will be on the lookout for the most relevant and important information on the subject.
The Recite part occurs as you are reading. From time to time, stop and evaluate what you have learned. What were the main points that were shown? Can you sum up the important content of a section or a chapter in a more concise way? These parts of recitation make the best notes, as they are highly relevant. Be sure to be able to describe what you have learned in your own words. Although challenging, expressing content your own way shows a true grasp of the material and makes it more personalized and memorable.
Review involves analyzing everything you have done during your time studying. Review your notes, flashcards, highlighted text, etc. to reinforce what you have spent your time learning. This often involves looking at what was done by taking a step back. Look at the big picture: what major elements of areas of a subject did you cover? Reviewing should be done shortly after the studying process and done frequently. This keeps the material fresh in your mind so you are simply reviewing closer to the exam date, not cramming!
Although this method seems a bit tedious, it is a very effective method in truly learning, understanding, and retaining GACE material. Adopting the SQ3R method into your studying habits will result in success, so keep at it!