By Rod Powers

Reading for the purposes of studying the ASVAB is a different kind of reading. Reading comprehension just requires you to place information into short-term memory long enough to answer a question about it a few seconds later. To read for the purposes of study, you need to commit important information to your long-term memory — at least long enough to take the ASVAB.

Check out the survey, question, read, recall, and review method

This method is affectionately known as the SQR3 method by those who make a living teaching students how to study. It helps you separate the important information from the chaff.

  • Survey: The first step is to survey the material to get the big picture. This quick preview allows you to focus your attention on the main ideas and to identify the sections you want to read in detail. The purpose is to determine which portions of the text are most applicable to your task.

    Read the table of contents, introduction, section headings, subheadings, summaries, and the bibliography. Skim the text in between. Be sure to look at any figures, diagrams, charts, and highlighted areas.

  • Question: After you’ve gained a feel for the substance of the material, compose questions about the subject you want answered. First, ask yourself what you already know about the topic and then generate your questions.

  • Read: Now go back and read those sections you identified during your survey and search for answers to your questions. Look for the ideas behind words.

  • Recall: To help retain the material, make a point to summarize the information you’ve read at appropriate intervals, such as the end of paragraphs, sections, and chapters. Your goal isn’t to remember everything you’ve read — just the important points. Recite these points silently or aloud. Reciting the points helps you improve your concentration. You can also jot down any important points. Finally, determine what information you still need.

  • Review: This last step involves reviewing the information you@’ve read. Skim a section or chapter immediately after you finish reading it. You can do so by skimming back over the material and by looking at any notes you made. Go back over all the questions you posed and see if you can answer them.

Take notes

Reading something once isn’t enough to really learn it. That’s why note taking is so important. Clearly written, accurate notes help to capture information for later study and review. Taking notes also helps you to focus and learn during your study time.

Here are some note-taking and note-studying tips:

  • Organize the information. Arrange data or ideas into small groups that make sense to you. The smaller groups make remembering the information easier.

  • Make the information relevant. Connect the new information with the information you already know. Recalling the information you already know about a subject helps you recall the new stuff more easily.

  • Learn actively. Use all your senses. Don’t just speak aloud when reviewing your notes; get your entire body into the act. Get up and move around as if you’re practicing for a speech.

  • Use your long-term memory. To commit information to your long-term memory, review the material several times. Take advantage of your ability to remember best what you read last by changing the order of the information you recite during your review.