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.
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 reread 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.
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 the lecture was boring).
- Change the sentence structure if necessary.
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.