How to effectively summarise a passage in PSLE English Comprehension Paper 2?

The skill of summarising a passage in PSLE English Comprehension Paper 2 is a vital one that, when mastered, can greatly assist students in excelling in their English examination. The Ministry of Education Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (MOE SEAB) does not outline this skill in PSLE English Paper 2 marking scheme but it is an excellent way to test a student’s ability to distill the key information and articulate it succinctly in the classroom.

The primary goal of summarisation is to condense a passage while retaining the crux of its content and messages. It is not merely a test of language skills, but also of understanding, critical thinking, and the ability to determine which information is of primary importance and which can be omitted. In this regard, the examiners are looking for the student’s capability to identify the main ideas, retain essential details, and disregard extraneous information.

To effectively summarise a passage, students should first read it thoroughly, perhaps multiple times, to gain a deep understanding of the text’s primary themes and messages. Annotating the passage as they read, highlighting key points, and making notes can be of great help in this process.

A successful summary, according to the MOE SEAB, should maintain the original text’s meaning, tone, and intention while being concise and focused. A rule of thumb is to limit the summary to approximately one-third of the original passage’s length. Furthermore, students should not introduce their own opinions or interpretations, but instead strive to be objective and faithful to the original text.

Apart from learning this skill in the classroom, students can also utilise the many resources available, including past PSLE examination papers, to practice summarising a variety of texts. This practice is crucial, as the types of texts presented in the PSLE examinations are wide-ranging, from factual to descriptive to argumentative texts. Note that summarising enhances their ability to understand texts and nuance presented in the passage and is beneficial for students to quickly figure out important points in the passage to lock into and be able to answer accurately the questions presented in PSLE English Paper 2.

In summary, effective summarisation requires a blend of language proficiency, critical thinking, and an understanding of what the original author is conveying. It’s a skill that the MOE SEAB values highly, as it showcases the student’s ability to comprehend and distil information efficiently – a vital skill not only for the PSLE examinations but also for future academic and professional pursuits.