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For SSCE Candidates : How To Tackle Question On Summary

For SSCE Candidates : How To Tackle Question On Summary
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For SSCE Candidates : How To Tackle Question On Summary

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Students are usually bitter when they obtain low marks in summary. One student complained that he failed woefully in summary and that affected his overall performance in English. “And it is 30 marks,” he complained. I believe many students have the same story to tell about their performance in summary. After being carefully tutored, his performance has however improved, and he confided in me that he now teaches his classmates how to go about answering questions on summary.

The first thing to know about summary is that: it is something we all have the natural ability to do. What do I mean? You watch a movie, especially Indian movies which sometimes last more than two hours and you narrate the same movie to a friend in less than 30 minutes, sometimes lesser! That’s summary! How did you narrate a movie of more than two hours in less than 30 minutes? I am sure that all you did was to mention the most important scenes. You probably wouldn’t mention the dances, which are usually a major feature of Indian movies. You also did not use the exact words of the characters (actors/actresses). The focus of your narrative was on the important scenes. Wasn’t it? The same skill can be used in attempting to answer questions on summary.

For SSCE Candidates : How To Tackle Question On Summary

A quick breakdown of some helpful tips on summary.

#Rule One: Read the question(s) on the summary passage before reading the passage. Why did I say so. The question gives you a clue or some clues on what the passage is all about. One question reads thus: In six sentences, summaries the benefits of the dog to man. From the question, we can conclude that the passage is on the importance of the dog to man. So, I suggest you read the question first.

For SSCE Candidates : How To Tackle Question On Summary

#Rule Two: Answers should not be provided in words, phrases or incomplete sentences. For instance, when you are asked: Where do you live, you most likely will use just a word in response to the inquiry.

A: Where do you live?
B: Lagos.

If that were to be an answer to a question on summary, that would be wrong. Why? Because the answer is provided in a word. If it were to be an (appropriate) answer to a question on summary, it would be:

A: Where do you live?
B: I live in Lagos.

‘I live in Lagos’ is a sentence, not a word.

If the same question were to asked:
A: Where do you live?
B: In Lagos.

If it were to be an answer to a question on summary, that would also be wrong. You want to know why? Because the answer is provided in a phrase, not a sentence.

A: Where do you live?
B: Somewhere in Lagos.

If it were to be an answer to a question on summary, the answer above would still be wrong. The reason is because that is still not a sentence! Perhaps I should define what a sentence is.

A sentence must start with a capital letter and end with a small letter, together with an appropriate punctuation mark which can be a full stop, question mark or exclamatory mark.

i. He has been sick. (Sentence ending with a full stop)

ii. He has been sick? (Sentence ending with a question mark)

iii. He has been sick! (Sentence ending with an exclamatory mark)

A sentence must have a finite verb. Which leads to another question: What is a finite verb. That’s simple. Any verb that you can use with any of the pronouns below is a finite verb.

I am/have/will/shouted
We have/like/went/played/did
You are/hate/live
She/He/It has/was/likes/goes/reads/dances
They were/will/wrote/played

Now, check out four answers to the same question below.

What do want to become in the future?
A: Doctor
B: A doctor
C: To become a doctor
D. I want to become a doctor.

If it were to be an answer to a question on summary, A above is wrong because it is a word; B is also wrong because it is a phrase; C is wrong as well because it is an incomplete sentence. The most appropriate answer therefore is D. I guess you know why by now, because it is a sentence!

#Rule Three: Avoid (unnecessary) elaboration. In other words, avoid the use of ‘for example’, ‘including’, ‘especially’, ‘for instance’, ‘e.g’, ‘i.e’ and such words that are used to elaborate or clarify points.

For SSCE Candidates : How To Tackle Question On Summary

Let’s read the following passage together.

Mrs Jones is at the market with her son of twelve who is resuming school the following week to shop for the forthcoming Home economics examination in her school. She is the teacher in charge and has to ensure that all that is needed is provided in abundance. She bought some onions, cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, cabbage, spinach, Irish potatoes, etc. She needed a set of new pots, whisk, ceramic plates, forks and knives, and more importantly, a medium-sized chopping board. She made a quick payment for these and drove down to the nearest bookshop, where a soft-spoken, charming attendant helped her with all that she needed. In less than an hour, the different textbooks, pens, ruler, notebooks, were purchased. She thanked the attendant, who refused to be tipped, profusely and returned home happy and relaxed.

In three sentences, one for each, mention the three things that Mrs Jones bought.

I. Mrs Jones bought vegetables.
II. Mrs Jones bought kitchen utensils.
III. She also bought stationery (for her son).

That information in brackets isn’t necessary because the passage already stated that.

An example of a wrong answer to that question would have been:

i. Vegetables
ii. Kitchen utensils
iii. Stationery

Remember, your answers are not to be provided in words.

Another typical example of a wrong answer would have been:

Mrs Jones bought vegetables, kitchen utensils and stationery.
(Remember that you are to provide the answers in three sentences, one for each).
Endeavor to follow the example shown above.

For SSCE Candidates : How To Tackle Question On Summary

Another instance would have been:

i. Mrs Jones bought vegetables like lettuce, cucumbers, etc.

ii. Mrs Jones bought kitchen utensils i.e. forks, knives and plates.

iii. Mrs Jones bought some stationery like pencils and textbooks.

Let’s also consider the examples below:

i. Students should maintain good hygiene by washing their hands because of germs and infections.

ii. People should participate in politics i.e voting during elections.

If the examples above were to be answers to a question on summary, the underlined expressions are instances of elaboration that will cost the student his or her marks.

#Rule Four: As much as possible, avoid lifting from the passage. We have earlier said that it is important to use your own words.

Let’s now try and use the principle learnt so far to answer the question on the summary passage below.

People are usually unwilling to make changes in their lives after being accustomed to a certain style of life. However, this can cause a lot of problems, as changing circumstances often make a change in lifestyle inevitable. Take for example, people who have to leave their country and go abroad for various reasons. Such people will inevitably face many challenges. First, they have to adapt to a new culture and habits that are completely different from what they were used to in their own country. They will also have to adapt to the weather and may need to learn a new language, or now, communicate regularly in a language other than their mother tongue, which they used more frequently before their relocation.

Again, at some point in their lives, some people may have cause to change their career. The reasons for this may be varied and need not concern us here. But career change inevitably necessitate the acquisition of a different set of skills and experience in the new job, a new routine and adaptation to new friends and colleagues at work. In the face of economic recession and related circumstances, people may lose their jobs as the organizations they work for try to adjust to the adverse situation by retrenching many of their workers. (Terms such as “downsizing”, “rightsizing” and “restructuring” are the modern-day euphemisms for this phenomenon!) A worker who suddenly loses his or her job obviously has to adjust to a new lifestyle–at least until a new job comes along.

For SSCE Candidates : How To Tackle Question On Summary

Closely related to job loss is retirement. Many people carry on at their jobs as if they will remain at such jobs forever. But retirement is inevitable not only for the paid worker but ask the self-employed. Retirement in most cases means a change from an active working life to a more sedentary lifestyle. It often requires giving up official property such as accommodation and vehicles and the replacement of a regular salary with a modest pension, which may not be right. Because of these, the prospect of retirement is often viewed with apprehension by many, as they retired not prepared for it.

Outside the work domain, other changes inevitably continue to take place. For example, at some point in their lives, young men and women come together and get married and start their own families. The transition from bachelorhood or spinsterhood of course means adaptation to a spouse, raising children, and discarding many of the habits, often reckless and impulsive, of unmarried life.

Finally, as painful and undesirable as it is, death is inevitable. The untimely loss of a loved one–a wife, a husband, a parent–often turns people’s lives upside down, and necessitates a drastic change in lifestyle. Many people never anticipate such a loss, and if unfortunately it does occur, it can be quite devastating. In conclusion, people have to be ready for any changes that may occur in their lives, as change is inevitable and there is no guarantee for anyone that life will be stable forever.

In six sentences, one for each, summaries the six factors that can cause a change in lifestyle as discussed in the passage.

MAY/JUNE WASSCE 2011

Answers

We will need to apply the principles we have discussed to answer the summary passage above. The first principle is to read the question so as to have an idea of what the passage is all about. Judging from the question, the passage is about factors, six of them, that can cause a change in lifestyle.

i. Migration can cause a change in lifestyle.

ii. Changing jobs can also cause a change in lifestyle.

iii. Loss of jobs can cause change in lifestyle.

iv. Retirement can cause a change in lifestyle.

v. Marriage can cause a change in lifestyle.

vi. Death can cause a change in lifestyle.

OR

i. Migration is one of the factors that can cause a change in lifestyle.

ii. A change of job is another factor.

iii. Loss of jobs can also cause a change in lifestyle.

iv. Retirement can cause a change in lifestyle.

v. Marriage is another factor that can cause a change in lifestyle.

vi. Death can also cause a change in lifestyle.

Providing your answers in the following way will be marked wrong.

i. Migration
ii. Loss of jobs
iii. Change of job
iv. Retirement
v. Marriage
vi. Death

By now, you should know the reason why the answers provided above will be marked wrong. It is because the answers are provided in words and phrases, not sentences.

Did you find this lesson helpful? Let’s hear from you. You can leave a comment or contact us via SMS or WhatsApp on 08037699294.

http://olabanjititles.blogspot.com/2019/04/students-are-usually-bitter-when-they.html?m=1

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