Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

1.4. Summarise and use information

ryanrori January 24, 2021

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A summary (or précis) is a shorter version of a longer piece of writing. The summary captures all the most important parts of the original, but expresses them in a much shorter space. A summary is a short account of the main ideas contained in a piece of writing.

A summary:

  • Includes all the main ideas that relate to the purpose of making the summary
  • Contains only the ideas in the passage, not your own ideas
  • Leaves out unnecessary detail and examples
  • Is brief and accurate

Summarising is one of the most important skills that we can use for learning. It makes us read the text with understanding, and therefore helps us to learn what we are reading. We will therefore look closely at some techniques for summarising information presented in a written text:

  1. Read the original quickly, and try to understand its main subject or purpose.
  2. Then you will need to read it again to understand it in more detail.
  3. Underline or make a marginal note of the main issues. Use a highlighter if this helps.
  4. Look up any words or concepts you don’t know, so that you understand the author’s sentences and how they relate to each other.
  5. Work through the text to identify its main sections or arguments. These might be expressed as paragraphs or web pages.
  6. Remember that the purpose [and definition] of a paragraph is that it deals with one issue or topic.
  7. Draw up a list of the topics
  8. Write a one or two-sentence account of each section you identify. Focus your attention on the main point. Leave out any illustrative examples.
  9. Write a sentence which states the central idea of the original text.
  10. Use this as the starting point for writing a paragraph which combines all the points you have made.
  11. The final summary should concisely and accurately capture the central meaning of the original.
  12. Remember that it must be in your own words. By writing in this way, you help to re-create the meaning of the original in a way which makes sense for you.


Original text ‘At a typical football match we are likely to see players committing deliberate fouls, often behind the referee’s back. They might try to take a throw-in or a free kick from incorrect but more advantageous positions in defiance of the clearly stated rules of the game. They sometimes challenge the rulings of the referee or linesmen in an offensive way which often deserves exemplary punishment or even sending off. No wonder spectators fight amongst themselves, damage stadiums, or take the law into their own hands by invading the pitch in the hope of affecting the outcome of the match.’ [100 words]SummaryUnsportsmanlike behaviour by footballers may cause hooliganism among spectators. [9 words]

Another way of summarising information is the Mind Map:

Mind Maps are very useful for improving the way you take notes and for summarising and learning large amounts of information. 

Mind Maps are more compact than conventional notes, often taking up only one page. This helps you to see associations easily. Mind Maps are also very quick to review, as it is easy to refresh information in your mind just by glancing at the Mind Map.

Mind Maps hold information in a format that your mind finds easy to remember and quick to review. They abandon the list format of conventional note taking in favour of a two-dimensional structure and very often use colour or icons to help memorise the facts. 

Mind Maps can also be effective mnemonics (memory aids). Remembering the shape and structure of a Mind Map can provide the cues necessary to remember the information within it. They engage much more of the brain in the process of assimilating and connecting facts than conventional notes.

If you find out more information after you have drawn the main Mind Map, you can easily integrate the new information with little disruption.

These are the foundation structures of a Mind Map, although these are open to free interpretation by the individual:

  1. Start in the centre with an image of the topic, using at least 3 colours. 
  2. Use images, symbols, codes and dimensions throughout your Mind Map. 
  3. Select key words and print using upper or lower case letters. 
  4. Each word/image must be alone and sitting on its own line. 
  5. The lines must be connected, starting from the central image. The central lines are thicker, organic and flowing, becoming thinner as they radiate out from the centre. 
  6. Make the lines the same length as the word/image. 
  7. Use colours – your own code – throughout the Mind Map. 
  8. Develop your own personal style of Mind Mapping. 
  9. Use emphasis and show associations in your Mind Map. 
  10. Keep the Mind Map clear by using Radiant hierarchy, numerical order or outlines to embrace your branches. 

This is an example of how you can draw a Mind Map