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Question Type: Summary


At this point, you should know what summary means, so you should know what summary questions probably are. These are questions that ask about the passage as a whole. They ask you to summarize the main ideas. Specifically, there will be three main points that you have to choose. This type of question appears at the end of almost every reading passage.

It only doesn't show up if you have a categorized question instead. Usually, you'll see summarized questions as the final questions in each set. So that means they're medium frequency. They are as common as other medium questions, but they're extra important because they count for twice the points. One summary question will count for two times as much as a detailed question for example.

In order to answer them you really need see the structure, the big picture. You cannot focus on the small details. This is very tricky because there will be some small details that you can choose from, but are wrong. And they are true according to the passage. They're just not part of the summary.

That can be very tempting, so knowing the author's real purpose, what they want to communicate by the whole passage is very important. Okay here are our instructions. In introductory sentence for a brief summary of the passage is provided below. Complete the summary by selecting the three answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage.

Some sentences do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that are not presented in the passage or are minor ideas in the passage. Okay, what's important here? Three answer choices. There will be six that you can choose from, but only three are correct. Three are not summaries of anything important.

They are details or they are not in the passage. That is what's said here. The express ideas that are not in the passage or they are details. Let's see our sample. We are using as usual, the text from the lesson linked below, sample passage. And here's the question.

Notice that the first sentence is already done, a clonal colony is a group of genetically identical plants produced by vegetative reproduction. This is the first main idea of the passage. It's usually the most important idea first. This is really like a summary of the whole passage. Next, we have what the passage tells us about those clonal colonies.

Let's see our options. First. Even though some animals do reproduce asexually, it is far less common than in plants. Well, I'm a little skeptical about this one because it seems like the main point of this sentence is about animals compared to plants.

And that happened in the text, but it was very short. It wasn't so important, there was not a whole paragraph about it. Let's see the next one. Statements made about the status of a colony as one organism, however, are difficult to verify. All right.

So, we don't know if a colony is one organism. I do remember that in the final paragraph. I'm not sure if it's definitely a main idea. A single ramet of a colony can survive on its own, and is thus not completely dependent on the shared root system. This I also remember from the passage.

If you separate a ramet, it can live, and therefore it's really a separate plant in some way. Okay. The size and age of a colony can be extremely impressive, as Pando. A certain colony of quaking aspens, has shown. Well that sounds pretty good we talked about Pando as an example of a very big and old colony.

Is that just a detail or was it a main idea? Hm,. One type of colony is formed by the extension of a root that sprouts new stems, connected below ground to the original. And we did learn about this, this root. Rhizome which creates new plants connected to the original plant.

But, is it a detail? Finally, the seeds that individuals within a clonal colony might create via sexual reproduction are not genet, genetically identical to the parent plants. This is definitely true, and again the question is,. Is it a detail. All right, let's go through this.

First, I think I can cross off that one. I really didn't like that, because we're not comparing animals and plants. That's not a main point of the passage. Next, I want to cross off this one. Because this just seems like a detail. The fact that the seeds are not genetically identical to the parent plants is just one fact.

What does it mean? Why do I care? We don't know why I care from this sentence. It doesn't have any importance for the main idea of the passage, which is what are clonal colonies, and why are they important? I'm going to move this one up because I like it.

Pando was an important part of this passage. There's a whole paragraph about Pando. We should probably mention that in our summary. Next, I'm gonna move up this one. Why? Well, this defines rhizomes.

Rhizomes were very important. We talked about rhizomes throughout the whole passage. A definition of them is important for a summary. And now, I have two more options. And between these, I need to decide which one is just a detail. Which one I can cross off.

This seems to be nicely connected to this. This does not seem connected. Actually, we are looking at a single fact about ramets, again. This is only mentioned one time in the passage. And here, we don't see why it's important. We don't have any connection to the other big ideas.

So, let's cross off that and bring up our last statement. Now that this is done, we can read back through our summary and be sure that it makes sense. First, a clonal colony is a group of genetically identical plants. Then, one type of colony is formed by rhizomes. Okay, so we have a definition.

Then we have an example of a type. And then we have the size and age of a colony can be impressive. A fact about them and an example of about that fact, that connects well. And finally. Statements about the size of a colony. This connects well with the one before.

All of these together relate to the big ideas of the passage, and thus our summary is finished.

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