• Learning To Summarize For TOEFL Reading Exam

    How can you summarize a text of 1000 words to 100 or less? This is a skill you will need for your TOEFL reading test.

    Here are some tips to help:

    Don’t Give Your Opinion

    When you are asked to summarize a text, it is critical that you do just that. If asked to sum up, do not give your own opinion.

    Don’t Repeat Chunks of Text

    To summarize means to reduce a text to your own words. Don’t reproduce whole sentences or paragraphs in your answer.

    Learn To Pick Out Important Details

    It is important that you learn to pick out the important from the not so important details. Names, places and dates are among the things you should look out for.

    One Paragraph, One Idea

    Remember that each paragraph contains only one developed idea. Don’t over complicate the text.

    Write Notes

    If it helps to focus your mind, take notes in the margin as you go through the text.

    Here is a text to summarize. See how you get on.

    Sample Text

    Now I want to tell you about what one company found when it decided that it would turn over some of its new projects to teams of people, and make the team responsible for planning the projects and getting the work done. After about six months, the company took a look at how well the teams performed. On virtually every team, some members got almost a “free ride” … they didn’t contribute much at all, but if their team did a good job, they nevertheless benefited from the recognition the team got. And what about group members who worked especially well and who provided a lot of insight on problems and issues? Well…the recognition for a job well done went to the group as a whole, no names were named. So it won’t surprise you to learn that when the real contributors were asked how they felt about the group process, their attitude was just the opposite of what the reading predicts. Another finding was that some projects just didn’t move very quickly. Why? Because it took so long to reach consensus…it took many, many meetings to build the agreement among group members about how they would move the project along. On the other hand, there were other instances where one or two people managed to become very influential over what their group did. Sometimes when those influencers said “That will never work” about an idea the group was developing, the idea was quickly dropped instead of being further discussed. And then there was another occasion when a couple influencers convinced the group that a plan of theirs was “highly creative.” And even though some members tried to warn the rest of the group that the project was moving in directions that might not work, they were basically ignored by other group members.

    Suggested Summary

    A company found that allowing teams of people to oversee projects wasn’t effective in the long run. Problems included the uneven distribution of tasks and rewards. Projects took too long to complete and strong personalities within the group dominated it, something which hindered the creativity of the group.

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  • No Responses to “Learning To Summarize For TOEFL Reading Exam”

    August 31, 2011 at 2:57 pm, Craig Jull said:

    Some great points you have raised here for the TOFEL exam.
    Many of these can be transferred into the general workplace also.


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