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Summary Writing


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A slideshow designed for OCR English GCSE Unit 1 Task 1 which requires students to write a summary of an unseen non-fiction stimulus in 35 minutes.

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Summary Writing

  1. 1. Unit 1 Task 1 Summary writing
  2. 2. In the Unit 1 OCR GCSE examination, you will be given a page of brief stimulus information, followed by a question assessed for reading
  3. 3. The stimulus will be a non-fiction source such as: •A Newspaper or magazine article •An extract from a biography or autobiography •A review of a book, film or event •The transcript of a speech •An extract from a travel guide •A report or advice sheet
  4. 4. You will have 35 min to answer this question – 10 min reading & planning and 25 min writing
  5. 5. You will be expected to either: Give an account of the ideas or argument presented in the passage or Extract and summarise key information
  6. 6. In either case, you will be writing a summary – the term ‘outline’ is often used in the question rubric
  7. 7. Sometimes the question will ask you to offer a ‘concise account’ or ask you to ‘concisely explain’
  8. 8. It is likely that the stimulus material will be about 700-800 words long (1 side of A4) You will be expected to write 300-400 words in the time available
  9. 9. So you should aim to cut the word count at least in half!
  10. 10. The skill of summary writing is knowing what is the essential information and what you can afford to leave out
  11. 11. This will depend on what the question asks you to focus on – so make sure you read it carefully
  12. 12. Once you have understood the task, you should read the stimulus material and identify the relevant information
  13. 13. To save time, annotate the text using one or more highlighters – this will save you time when planning your answer
  14. 14. It’s all too easy to highlight everything! Try to extract just the key information because...
  15. 15. There’s nothing worse than bad highlights!
  16. 16. Your plan should follow a 5 paragraph essay plan
  17. 17. Paragraph 1 Capture the essence of the stimulus material – think of this as a thumbnail sketch
  18. 18. Paragraphs 2/3/4/5 Summarise the key ideas or arguments – directly answering the task
  19. 19. Unlike other writing tasks in the exam, there is no need for a formal conclusion but you should bring your summary to a close by starting your last paragraph using one of the following:
  20. 20. Finally,... In the closing lines, the writer... The author concludes by... The article ends with... The writer’s position is brought to a close by...
  21. 21. As a general rule, you can cut out: •Anecdotes •Case studies •Other examples for clarification •Statistics and detailed facts •Structured repetition for effect
  22. 22. You are expected to write your summary in your own words If you quote from the passage or parrot the phrases used by the writer you will lose marks
  23. 23. The better your vocabulary bank, the more likely you are to be able to express yourself eloquently and economically
  24. 24. He was wound up and edgy. He couldn’t seem to make his mind up because he was stressed out by the hassles that he might have to deal with if he made the wrong choice about which kind of job he should try and get. (45) He was anxious and indecisive, being aware of the possible consequences of a poor career choice. (16)
  25. 25. Your opinion about the passage content should NOT appear in your outline
  26. 26. Think of yourself as a translator rather than a critic or commentator
  27. 27. ‘’The Simpsons’ for example is a highly overrated TV show aimed at the brain dead MTV generation. Like so much media entertainment today it appeals to the lowest common denominator and offers little worthy of serious contemplation. Great programming must do more than amuse – it must educate. ’’ Can you spot the trap you could fall into?
  28. 28. “The writer clearly has no taste or appreciation for great popular cultural texts because he suggests that ‘The Simpsons’ is.....oops”!
  29. 29. “The writer suggests that modern programming fails to challenge or educate its audience”.
  30. 30. You should also make sure that you only deal with what is IN the text – don’t add details or make unsupported assumptions
  31. 31. ‘My cat had the annoying habit of singing along whenever I played the piano’
  32. 32. ‘My cat had the annoying habit of singing along whenever I played the piano’
  33. 33. To summarise – a good summary is:
  34. 34. Now it’s time to put all of this into practice!