Summary Writing

Summary writing is an important skill that all of us need to have as summarising improves our reading skills as we pick out the main ideas of a reading. It also helps with vocabulary skills as we paraphrase a reading, altering the vocabulary and grammar as we do so. In school exams, students are tested these 3 basic skills:

a) Identify key points of a passage
b) Articulate in own words
c) Sequencing points cohesively

10 Important Tips for Summaries

1. Read the question carefully and locate key words/relevant main ideas that answer the question specifically. (underline them)

2. A summary is written in your own words. Lifting a few words is acceptable but do not lift the whole phrase from the passage. Good to use synonyms of key words. Check if you can put the new choice of word back in the sentence without changing the meaning. NO NEED TO FIND SYNONYMS for technical objects eg: solar heaters.

3. A summary contains only the ideas of the original text. Do not insert any of your own opinions, interpretations, deductions or comments into a summary. Content marks will only be obtained when the right content is provided.

4. Write down only the key support points for the main topic and do not include minor details, figurative language, examples, repetition and direct speech.

5. There is no need for an introduction or conclusion. Start by using the wording of the question.

6. Organise and sequence points cohesively by connecting your ideas with complex sentences rather than simple or compound structures.

A simple sentence has the most basic elements that make it a sentence. It consists of only one clause, with a single subject and predicate.
An example: This dress is too expensive.

compound sentence is a sentence that has at least two independent clauses joined by a comma, semicolon or conjunction.
An example: I really need to go back early as I am expecting a visitor.

A complex sentence is a sentence that contains an independent clause and one or more dependent clauses. An independent clause can stand alone as a sentence, but a dependent clause even though it has a subject and a verb is not able to stand alone.
An example: When I am done with my work, I will go to bed.
– ‘When I am done with my work’ – dependent clause which is not able to stand alone
– ‘I will go to bed’ – independent clause which can stand alone.

7. Make sure the spelling, punctuation and grammar are correct.

8. Write in continuous writing and not in point forms.

9. Do not write a narrative, or in the first person, or in any other inappropriate form.

10. Write within the given word count. If there are points inside the excess words, it would be crossed out by the examiners. If you are required to write within 200 to 250 words, 180 words would be too few. It means you have missed out some points.

For IGCSE students, summary writing will be tested in Paper 1. It should not be more than 120 words and do not write beyond the lines given to avoid answers not being able to fit into the scanned screen. Up to 10 marks are available for the content and 5 marks for the quality of the writing.

Learn Prefix to Guess the Meaning of Words

antiagainst/opposed toanti-war, anti-racist
dereverse or changede-classify, decontaminated, demotivate
disreverse or removedisagree, displeasure, disqualify
downreduce/lowerdowngrade, downhearted
hyperextremehyperactive, hypertension
imnot, opposite ofimpolite
miswrong, badmisbehave