This article was originally published on January 18, 2018, and was revised in February 2021. It was written by former tutor Ronnie C. of our Reading and Writing Center.
Have you ever read something only to find out afterwards you have no idea what you’ve read? The Preview, Question, Read, Self-recite, and Test (PQRST) method will improve your ability to understand and remember the content you read. The P and T apply to the entire document, and the Q, R, and S apply to each individual section of your reading.
Before reading, look at the material’s main points. During the preview stage you should read the introduction paragraph, look at headings, read each paragraph’s first sentence, review any diagrams, and read the concluding paragraph.
Ask yourself what you’re supposed to be getting out of each paragraph of the content your reading. What are the important parts you should take away?
Now you may begin reading the content. While you read, try to relate the topics discussed to subjects you already know about. During this stage, you may choose to highlight key words that will help you remember the main points of the reading. Be careful not to go overboard. If you would like to take notes, they should be taken after completing the reading.
After you’ve completed reading, think back to the main points of the reading you remember. Verbalize the points you remember, and then look back at the text to see what information you may have missed.
At this point you should have finished reading the document. Review any notes or summaries you may have created. Think about the main ideas, and what makes the content you read important.
McLoughlin, Ian. “The PQRST Method of Reading.” Lintech, www.lintech.org/study-skills/The_PQRST_method.html.