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Get the whole picture

Having developed the skill to identify central idea in a small passage, we can move on to larger passages. The idea is to extend what we have learnt in small passages to a larger piece of text. We should not get bogged down by details, examples and illustrations but learn to read for ideas. If we get the whole picture, questions on details are easy to solve.

Your mental flowchart would look something like this:



Main idea


Read the details only if there are questions on specific things, otherwise concentrate on the main idea and topic only.

Appropriate details would give specific examples of some of those styles, allowing you to see that your statement of main idea and topic was both correct. If the passage discussed just one style, you would know your main idea was incorrect.

When reading for topics and main ideas, do not “study” the details. Just read them and notice what kinds of details appear in various locations of the passage. Let your reading be driven by the purpose of gaining a sense of the main idea, and purpose of the paragraph. Use the details to see if they develop, support, or refute your guess of what each main idea is.

Different passages will be arranged differently. You have to decide which technique to follow and change it as per the passage. A passage on globalisation must be read for ideas. A personal experience must be read for details of the experience or what that experience illustrates.

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