The GP Summary
This post will be in a series of 2 parts. The first part will touch on pointers on how students can do their summaries, while the second part will focus on how students can paraphrase their summary points.
The problem most students have with the summary is how to filter out what is important from what is not so as to keep within the word limit. Teachers will tell you to include only the main ideas but exactly HOW do we do that? Here are a few steps you can follow:
- Box up the area from which to extract your points from
- Write down the points that the question wants you to find at the top of your box
For example, if the question asks you to summarise the “consequences of economic growth and the solutions to tackle the problems”, then write ‘consequences’ and ‘solutions’ at the top of your box.
- Look for your points and crosscheck each one to see if it matches the word(s) at the top of your box
If the point and word(s) do not match, do NOT include it in your summary!
- Number the points you have found
A safe bet would be to find 13-15 points to ensure a decent mark for content.
- Organise your points
This would depend on what the question wants you to present but remember to keep one topic to one paragraph. For instance, if the question wants you to present “consequences and solutions”, lump all the points for “consequences” in one paragraph. Do the same for those points under “solutions”.
Furthermore, always start your paragraph with a simple topic sentence to signal to the reader what your paragraph is going to be about. Topic sentences can be as simple as:
The consequences are…
Some solutions are…
However, do not mechanically list down the points when writing because it makes your paragraph sound very unnatural. This is where language power comes in, in the form of paraphrasing and connectors, as I will discuss below.
- Paraphrase the main ideas in the points
Unless the question requires it, exclude anything that is descriptive or explanatory! Instead, you should identify the main idea in these descriptions/explanations and paraphrase them.
“A “universal vaccine” is the holy grail of immunisation efforts against the flu, a shape-shifting virus which kills up to half a million people each year, according to the World Health Organisation.” (straitstimes.com, 24 Aug 2015)
A “universal vaccine” is the ultimate solution to battling the deadly flu.
Notice how these main ideas appear in the paraphrased answer as well?
|universal vaccine||universal vaccine|
|holy grail||ultimate solution|
|virus which kills up to half…||deadly virus|
That’s all for now, stay tune for our next post on how to paraphrase your summary points!