The things you can do and learn online for General Paper (and Project Work).

Summary skills?

Because of the sweet comments from ssdd and others, I’ve been inspired to blog a little. 🙂

So, summary skills, you ask.

A good place to start with any fundamental question like that is the most current GP syllabus published by the SEAB. You can find it here. Having checked that though, I find nothing there of use to your question. Moving on…

Mr Stephen Kennaugh, Director of Studies of St. Dominic’s College in Sydney has the following pointers (taken from this file):

1. Knowing what you want:
• This can be achieved through asking a teacher or deciding for yourself what you want to achieve or attain. [In the case of GP Paper 2, you’ll have to thoroughly understand what the summary question demands of you.]
• Once you have this clear then you are able to skim over the text to summarise the main content from your perspective.

2. Deciding what is important:
• It is important to realise what is of use to you and what isn’t in a text or a piece of writing.
• Once you have your focus then it is imperative that you are selective in what you summarise.
• Eliminate all of the joining words and non-essential background information. It is only important for background information or context formation. [But do leave in some basic connectors for fluency; it’s a trade-off between content and language here, I suppose.]
• Record the vital information and subject specific terminology. [There shouldn’t be much jargon in comprehension passages.]

So, it’s all very good advice. More specifically, for the purpose of Paper 2 of GP (and also for research writing in general), you must paraphrase if you want to get any credit at all. You’ll also be penalised under Use of Language for wholesale lifting if you simply do not paraphrase. (More severe penalties are found in PW and further along your academic career.)

There’s probably nothing here that your GP tutors haven’t told you in some way or other. But I hope this post helps these guidelines stick in your head.


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