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Finding Information - How to Skim
How do you skim? A lot of students have trouble with this because normally when we read, we read every word, and we try to understand the details based on those words, and if you try to do that same thing when you skim, you’re going to have trouble. Skimming is not just reading fast. It is not reading every word and doing it quickly.
Instead, let’s try some other methods. For example, first method is just reading some words, and ignoring sentences. So that means not reading full sentences. Just looking at what words are in a paragraph, or what words are in a text. So let’s say we have this text. This paragraph from a reading section, and we want to skim to get the general idea.
What is it about? We’re not going to start with although people commonly. That’s reading. No no no. Instead. Let’s go down the paragraph and look at words.
What words do you see? For example, I see clone. I see plants. I see progenitor. I see procreation. I see reproduce.
I see parents. I see offspring. I see vegetative. Okay. These are not sentences. These are just words that have meaning.
They are nouns and verbs, usually, that give you hints to the topics, and from this, I understand that this is probably about plants because we saw vegetative down here and plants up here, and it’s probably about reproduction. Making children because we have reproduced procreation, progenitor, offspring, parent.
These are all about reproduction. So this is probably about plant reproduction. So just by skimming I understand the big idea here. I did not read any of these words, right? I didn’t even look at them. I didn’t read any of these.
I just went down the middle and saw some words with meaning that I knew. That’s one way to do it. Often, you’ll hear another method Method that is the first and last sentences, so let’s try that paragraph again. Here we might read from the start. Although people commonly associate the word clone with modern scientific advancements.
Its usage in botany is far removed from those developments, and I actually see a semicolon here. I’m going to stop there and pretend that’s the full sentence. So I’m starting with this first sentence and it’s about clones, and botany, that is the study of plants, and then I’m going to read the last sentence. The term for this type of procreation is vegetative reproduction, which includes a number of different processes by which various plants multiply.
So again, now, we have reproduction, plants, vegetative, and up here, this was about plants and clones. So, again, I understand this is about plant reproduction, and I might also even see that it’s about clones because we see clones here near the end of the sentence, the end of the paragraph and here at the beginning.
It’s defined at the start, and here, so you might even understand that it’s not just about plant reproduction, it’s about clones. So, we ignored this whole middle and just from the first and last sentences, we get a rough understanding of the main ideas. It’s okay if we don’t know what the term refers to. It’s okay if we don’t understand what these different processes are.
We have the topic. So these are very important for the reading section. Any way of skimming is important for the reading section. Specifically on two types of questions. Summary questions and purpose questions and we will learn more about these in other videos in other lessons, but let’s take a quick look at summary questions, first.
They look like this. You get many choices, and you need to put them in the summary. So, three of these are correct summaries, and three of them are false. So, you need to move the correct ones here. In order to do that well we need to look at a paragraph and say paragraph one, and summarize it.
Come up with the main ideas of this paragraph, and then look at a paragraph two and summarize this. What are the main ideas? And you will match those main ideas with the answer choices in the summary question. So maybe this is one is about, actually paragraph one is here.
Maybe this one’s about paragraph two over here, and maybe this one’s about paragraph three. So, it’s really important to skim and find those summaries or know those summaries before you look at the answer choices so that you know what you what to find. Purpose questions are a little bit different.
They ask about the purpose of a specific phrase or a specific word sometimes or sentence. This is about the purpose of this phrase. Why is this phrase in the first paragraph? And then if you look in the first paragraph you will see it highlighted So here I know that this is all about plant reproduction, and it talks here about modern scientific advancements.
He says that people associate the word clone with modern scientific Scientific advancements, and the question is, why? Well, maybe it’s because he’s introducing the word clone. Maybe because he’s introducing a term for plant reproduction. It’s really just about the relationship between this phrase and the first paragraph.
In order to do that, you need to know what the first paragraph is about. We’ll talk more about how to answer purpose questions in other videos as well as summary questions in other lessons. This is just a general idea of why skimming is so important. So in the writing section we have something very similar because we need to summarize a whole text.
The text is going to be broken up into paragraphs with different topics, and we need to know what those topics are. It’s going to connect to something you hear in a picture and so before you start writing it helps to go back to the text, skim it, and summarize paragraph one, paragraph two, paragraph three, paragraph four. So that you can connect those paragraphs back to the listening in your writing.
So to summarize here skimming is looking at words, or looking at the first and last sentences It’s not reading fast. Don’t try to just read fast. You need a different strategy. It’s very helpful for the reading section in particular, with summary and purpose questions and the writing section for the integrated essay before you start writing.
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