Thursday, 22 August 2013

Summary Lesson 1

Summary Writing I: Analysing Summary Questions & Selecting Relevant Points

1. What is the Summary Question?

The summary question requires you to derive the points for your answer from a specified section of the passage, and to phrase your answers in your own words, within a specified word limit.

  • Summary Writing Techniques
Here is a 4-step approach to answering the summary question. The estimated time for each step is stated below.
Analyse the question
(2 min)

Select relevant points
(5-8 min)
Draft: Shorten, rephrase, edit points using your own words (10-15 min)
Final Product: Use linking words, write in one paragraph, check grammar and punctuation & keep to the word limit
(8-10 min)



Tip: Allocate at least 20 minutes to attempt the summary question to ensure you have sufficient time to do a good job. However, you should have a finalised written summary in less than 40 minutes. You should tackle the summary question only after you have attempted all the comprehension questions. This will ensure that you have understood the passage fairly well before writing the summary. Never spend too much time on the questions, leaving too little time for the summary. After all, it carries a significant number of marks for your comprehension paper (15 marks)!

2. Step 1: Analysing the Summary Question

(1)   Read the question carefully.

(2)   Highlight/ identify the key words and phrases.

(3)   Decide on the point of view – i.e. who you are writing as – it will affect the use of language (first-person or 3rd-person)

(4)   Topics to be summarised – The question may require you to summarise one, two or even three topics. Make sure you include ALL required topics.

(5)   Source of your points – usually the question specifies the section of the passage your points should be taken from. 

(6)   Word limit – about 80 words. Take note, however, that the word limit does NOT include the number of words in the recommended beginning.

Task 1

In the following examples of summary questions, highlight / underline the key words or phrases and decide on the number of topics to be summarised for each question. The first one has been done for you.

Summary Question
No. of topics to be summarised
1.     Write a summary of the attractions that Mount Faber has to offer tourists

2.     Write a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of using the television as a ‘babysitter’…

3.     Write a summary of the factors that led to the uprising, the steps taken by the government to put down the revolt, and the factors that led to the success of the revolt…

4.     Summarise why students need to be and how they can be taught to become more media- savvy.

5.     Summarise the activities suggested by the writer that are supposed to help a person get his or her creative juices flowing.

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