Summary writing is one of the most dreaded components of the secondary English Paper 2 exam. But it doesn’t always have to be that way! Use this 3-Step Strategy to guide you along.
Step 1: Identify the points
Before you start, mark out the paragraphs that you need to summarise (e.g. draw a line above and below these paragraphs).
- Identify at least eight key points to summarise. Use dotted lines if you are unsure of your points and edits as you re-read and count the number of points you have chosen.
- Every paragraph should contain at least one point.
- Number your points
- Underline only the key words, instead of underlining the whole sentence.
Step 2: Paraphrase the points
Understand each main point before rephrasing it. Be clear and concise!
- Think of synonyms.
- Eliminate phrasal verbs where possible (e.g. instead of “carry on”, use “continue”).
- Eliminate “empty words”: redundant words without which the sentence is still grammatical (e.g. I think
thatthe lecture was boring).
- Change the sentence structure if necessary.
Step 3: Organise the points
Reorder the points in a logical way (e.g. compare-contrast / cause-effect / problem-solution).
- Use connectors and transition words to signal the relationship between ideas. For example:
- Compare-contrast: unlike, while, similarly, likewise
- Cause-effect: since, as, thus, consequently
- Additional related point: moreover, furthermore, additionally
- Link related ideas together to further reduce the word count.