PQ4R Method: Read, Reflect, Recite & Review Steps

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  • 0:01 The PQ4R Method
  • 0:58 Read
  • 2:37 Reflect
  • 3:50 Recite
  • 4:57 Review
  • 6:10 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lisa Roundy

Lisa has taught at all levels from kindergarten to college and has a master's degree in human relations.

The PQ4R method is a process for learning new information. In this lesson, you will find out what PQ4R stands for and discuss the the four Rs of this learning method.

The PQ4R Method

Report cards came out, and you have a D in history. You realize you need to use some different study techniques. Before last week's test, you decided to try listening to audio recordings of the information while you slept. Unfortunately, it didn't work, and you failed the exam. What should you try next?

The PQ4R method is a formula for effective studying that takes an active approach to learning. Using this method improves memorization and helps you understand the material. PQ4R stands for six steps:

  • Preview
  • Question
  • Read
  • Reflect
  • Recite
  • Review

The preview and question steps take place first and are not covered in this lesson. We will be focusing on the four Rs of the method: read, reflect, recite, and review.


When you read instructions for putting a new shelving unit together, do you simply glance at the paper and toss it to the side? Unless you have put together a number of similar shelving units, you probably need to refer to the instructions as you go. Taking the time to understand what you read one step at a time is important if you want all of the pieces in the correct places.

The same is true of the first 'R' in the PQ4R method: read. This is typically the step where you would - you guessed it - read the new material for the first time.

You should learn new information one section at a time. This helps you digest the information in manageable chunks. It is why textbooks are broken into different units with subheadings. Making sure you understand each piece of information as you read is also essential because each unit will typically build upon previously learned material. You should read with the purpose of answering questions developed during the question stage of the PQ4R method to help you understand the material better and retain the information.

A teacher using the PQ4R method in the classroom could assign reading material following a lesson. Reminding students of questions that were brought up about the topic in class will help them form an association between what is being read and classroom instruction. This is essential for engaging the students in active learning as opposed to passively listening to the teacher lecture.


Remember those shelves you were building? You probably compared the instructions to previous knowledge. Maybe the instructions tell you to use a screwdriver, and you have used one before to tighten a handle on a drawer. This makes it easier to understand what the instructions mean by using a screwdriver.

The second 'R' in the PQ4R method is reflect. When you reflect, you think about what the information you have read means to you. Pausing periodically as you read to reflect on the information helps you improve your understanding. Ask yourself if you understand what you have read or if you could explain it to someone else. Relating material you read to the real world, like using a screwdriver in our example, makes it easier to understand and retain what you have learned.

During classroom instruction, the teacher could allow students to take turns explaining how they relate the material to other information they are familiar with. If the material is being read during class, the teacher may want to pause at the end of each section to allow time for reflection.

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