Top Speed Reading Comprehension Strategies

One of the best ways to study and retain information for a much longer time is highlighted by the SQ3R method. This method has been proven to increase your retention and comprehension of the material being read. This method is optimum for studying.

SQ3R Method:

Determine the structure or organization of the chapter.

  • Think about the title. Guess what will be included in the chapter.
  • Read the introduction. The main ideas will help you understand or make sense of the details.
  • Read the main-headings (boldface type). Here are the main ideas.
  • Read the summary. Here is the relationship among the main ideas.
  • Read the questions at the end of the chapter. These will help you to identify important parts of the chapter.


Turn each heading and subheading into a question. Especially while you are practicing this technique, write the questions down. This gives you a focal point for crystallizing a series of ideas (the answer). YOU ARE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING RATHER THAN SIMPLY LOOKING AT WORDS.

  • Take one section at a time. Keep answers brief. Use your own words.


Read only that section, looking for the answers to your questions. Move quickly. Sort out ideas and evaluate them. If content does not relate to the question, give it only a glance. READ SELECTIVELY.

  • Reread captions under pictures, graphs, etc.
  • Note all the underlined, italicized, bold printed words or phrases
  • Study graphic aids
  • Reduce your speed for difficult passages
  • Stop and reread parts which are not clear
  • Read only a section at a time and recite after each section


Answer the question in your own words, not the author’s. Then write the answer using only key words, listings, etc. that are needed to recall the entire idea. Follow the above technique for each section of the chapter.

  • Take notes from the text but write the information in your own words
  • Underline or highlight important points you’ve just read


Increase retention and cut cramming time by 90% by means of immediate and delayed review.

  • Write questions in the margins for those points you have highlighted or underlined.
  • Make Flash cards or use index cards to highlight important points.
  • Re-Skim the chapter very quickly; test yourself.

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