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0001 Main Ideas and Supporting Details
0002 Analyze the Relationship Among Ideas
0003 Critical Reasoning Skills
0004 Purpose, Point of View, and Intended Meaning
0005 Meaning of Words and Phrases
0006 Applying Study Skills
Identify Summary, Outline, or Graphic Representations
Interpret Information in Charts, Graphs, or Tables
Table of Contents, Section Headings, and Index
Practice Reading Tests

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0006 Apply Study Skills to Aid in Understanding Reading Selections, Graphs, Tables, and Charts

Identify an Accurate Summary, Outline, or Graphic Representation of a Reading Selection

Of all the required skills in reading, these may be the most difficult because they are the least practiced. You may be asked on the test to identify which of several choices best organizes or summarizes material for studying.

Organization may take the form of:


an outline or

a map (a graphic form of outlining or notetaking).

A summary is a brief statement of the main ideas and supporting details. It answers the question of what the passage was about and what was said about it. Whatever the form of the test question, there are several things to check for.

First, and probably most important, the outline or summary must be complete. That is, it must include the important points from the entire passage. The testmakers realize that students often begin an outline or a summary in considerable detail and then tire before they reach the end of the passage or section. A correct outline or summary must cover the whole passage.

Another common problem students have when outlining or summarizing that testmakers will check for is the failure to identify the important points made by the author. It is very easy to mistake a lengthy example or cute comment for the important point that introduces the example or contradicts the comment. Also, the outline or summary must accurately reflect what the author says. Comments outside of the actual passage should be avoided.

Finally, you must recognize that the purpose of outlining or summarizing is to help you study better. Sometimes, the author of a passage may not have used the clearest method of organization in the passage. The wise student will reorganize the passage to make it easier to understand or remember. On the test, therefore, the correct answer may not be the one that simply follows the author’s pattern; it may be one that makes the reading better organized or clearer.