Secondary English Comprehension Singapore: 3 Useful Tips To Write Effective Summaries

Table of Contents

There are 2 important features for writing a summary effectively in Secondary English comprehension.

The first is to understand the passage well and to locate the main points.

The second is to interpret the points.

If you are able to do both well, your summary answer in Secondary English comprehension will be compact and concisely written.

Location of Main Points

The key to a good summary lies in understanding the Secondary English comprehension passage well. A sound vocabulary, understanding of the main points for each paragraph and being able to understand the author’s intention are extremely important in writing a proper summary answer. The first step is to read theSecondary English comprehension passage thoroughly and to take mental notes of the main highlights of each paragraph while reading.

Location of Main Points involves eye alignment with the text. The first reading of the text has to be a general assessment of the themes, the main characters and how it leads on to the end. 

The first reading has to be followed by a second reading. The second reading will give one a stronger grip on the passage. The location of the main points is not only about an understanding of the passage but it also means that the nitty gritties of the paragraphs are understood and selected.

secondary english comprehension

Selection Process

The selection process means the points that are needed for the summary question inSecondary English comprehension. The priority task here is to know which points to select and which ones to leave out. If the summary states that the summary answer should be from the second paragraph till the sixth paragraph, then it does not mean that everything in between has to be selected though sometimes it may be almost all of it.

The next priority is to ascertain which points seem to be the main ones and which ones are the secondary points. The main point is also the highlight of the paragraph. 

In the example below, the highlight is shown in three stages:

First, it is about Mark’s feelings, then the realisation, the missing gold and finally the naming ceremony. Though these highlights can be reduced to make way for the other points in the other paragraphs, they cannot be completely erased in any form. All of the highlights have an important function.

Interpretation of Main Points

Interpretation requires careful attention to the text and the analysis of its contents. There are different forms of passages set for the Secondary English comprehension paper. Some are purely technical in content with statistics crowding every paragraph. Whilst others tend to be narrative in content dwelling purely on adjective phrases for elaboration. Whatever the content is, different forms of writing require different forms of understanding.

With the technical sort of passage, there is a careful highlighting of technical features, data and actual instances. The features tend to display an assortment of details dealing in technical jargon which is purely explanatory. 

The student has to analyse this in order that it appears and manages to peruse it in that same order when translating it into one’s own words. Since explanatory notes are more important, the details have to be taken into account.

secondary english comprehension

With the narrative passage, the content is purely subjective dealing with adjectives and creative expressions. There is more fluidity in terms of self-expression. The words tend to project the author’s own feelings and perceptions as they alter or affect the student’s opinions. 

The events are time-based with a particular moral intent or message that it deals with. The flow of ideas is captured in metaphors that are extended including ironies and statements which explain the author’s own logic and turn of mind. Perception of these thoughts and interpretation of the intentions is of great importance.

Narrative writing also includes several layers of incidents followed by opinions. There could also be direct speech involved with character portrayal. In most cases, this does not exist but when it does, a careful understanding of the rhetoric and the difference in the presentation of the characters as well as their function is of primary importance inSecondary English comprehension.

Interpretation basically means editing. Interpreting the words according to the meaning in the context is crucial. Editing does not simply mean the cutting down of points or material from theSecondary English comprehension passage but it means gathering only what is necessary and pruning it down to size. 

Changing the words to one’s own or paraphrasing is done at this step. The words must follow a certain order, retain the author’s meaning and be paraphrased at the same time.

Ok. I think that is quite enough for today. We have understood the method to locate the main points and how to interpret them inSecondary English comprehension. Once you have understood these two features, the rest is easy. It is merely a matter of getting the word count within 80 words.

All the best in getting your summary right!

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