GP Comprehension Sample Summary Question

GP Comprehension Sample Summary Question (AQ)


“Brevity has outlived verbosity.”


In order to full understand and to analyse the requirements of the summary question (SQ) of GP Paper 2, w shall run through a complete example of the sample question and offer a full answer to it.



Passage: A World Not Neatly Divided

Dividing the world into discrete civilizations is not just crude. It propels us into the absurd belief that this partitioning is natural and necessary and must overwhelm all other ways of identifying people. That imperious view goes not only against the sentiment that ”we human beings are all much the same,” but also against the more plausible understanding that we are diversely different. For example, Bangladesh’s split from Pakistan was not connected with religion, but with language and politics. 


Each of us has many features in our self-conception. Our religion, important as it may be, cannot be an all-engulfing identity. Even a shared poverty can be a source of solidarity across the borders. The kind of division highlighted by, say, the so-called ”antiglobalization” protesters — whose movement is, incidentally, one of the most globalized in the world — tries to unite the underdogs of the world economy and goes firmly against religious, national or ”civilizational” lines of division.The main hope of harmony lies not in any imagined uniformity, but in the plurality of our identities, which cut across each other and work against sharp divisions into impenetrable civilizational camps. 


Political leaders who think and act in terms of sectioning off humanity into various ”worlds” stand to make the world more flammable — even when their intentions are very different. They also end up, in the case of civilizations defined by religion, lending authority to religious leaders seen as spokesmen for their ”worlds.” In the process, other voices are muffled and other concerns silenced. The robbing of our plural identities not only reduces us; it impoverishes the world.

GP Passage Source: Amartya Sen, New York Times



Using material from the above paragraphs, write your summary for the reasons for the writer’s opinions that it is impossible and undesirable to categorise people into civilisational groups. Write your answer in no more than 120 words, not counting the opening words which are given below. Use your own words as far as possible. [8 marks]

The write thinks that people should not be categorised into civilisational groups because…


GP Sample SQ – Suggested Complete Answer

The writer thinks that people should not be categorized into civilisational groups because it oversimplified the situation. Indeed, it forces people to not only believe that it important to do so, but that it must override all other ways of classifying people. This contradicts the idea that humans are basically similar yet also unique.


Moreover, individuals are multi-faceted personalities and religion cannot represent them entirely. There are other diverse factors transcending culture that bind humanity across the world. The world can aspire to achieve peace only it recognizes this. Politicians who divide people into civilisational groups only cause conflicts. In societies governed by religion, they give power to religious heads, and become the dominant voice of the people, suppressing all other opinions. Depriving people of their diversity not only makes them less significant, it also makes humanity less vibrant.



Questions to ponder over this sample answer for Summary Question:

1. Do we need at least 8 points to secure full marks?
2. How do you make the flow one sentence to the next smoother?
3. How would you rate the use of the language?
4. How many marks would you give this SQ answer?



Purpose of Summary Writing in A-Level General Paper Comprehension

So why are JC GP students tasked to write a summary in the Compre paper (Paper 2)? By definition, a summary is a shortened version of a GP text that highlights its main arguments or key points. The word “summary” comes from the Latin, “sum.” It is aka an abstract or synopsis.

The aim of a written summary question is to test the JC pupil his / her ability to offer a condensed and objective account of the main ideas and features of the paragraph(s) in question. Usually, a summary has between one to two paragraphs or 100 to 150 words, and is alloted 8 marks out of 50.



So how does one write a summary question (SQ)?
How do you know if your summary is a good one? Let’s use this checklist!:

A Checklist for Evaluating GP Summary Answer
i. Is my summary accurate, and complete?
ii. Is my summary precise & economical?
iii. Is my summary response reflecting the proportionate coverage given numerous points in the GP passage(s)?
iv. Am I using my own words? (Minimal adjectives allowed!)
v. Will the summary answer stand alone as a coherent and flowing piece of writing?


BONUS #1:  Summary Writing Question & Answer


As if all this were not enough, the political impact of celebrities in modern society is also a new and disturbing trend. Celebrities have great appeal as political candidates – which explains why so many are weaselling into the political picture, In a world where image is ever formula name, identification, perfect teeth and big hair, wealth, media savvy and public adulation. 65 The recent election of Arnold Terminator Schwarzenegger to California Governor depressing example of this trend. Not to be outdone by their celebrity rivals, once earnest politicians er to California Governor is only the latest are jumping on the celebrity bandwagon, borrowing all the phoney gestures, presentation styles and special effects that pay off in Tinseltown. We are experiencing the ‘Hollywoodization’ of political culture where the line between politics and entertainment is blurred. This inbreeding of politics with showbusiness is trivialising the political agenda.


An accompanying phenomenon is the celebrity as do-gooder. In our media dominated culture, saturated with sound bites and nanosecond attention spans the ability of stars to galvanize public opinion is second to none. It has become almost impossible to direct political energy that do not entertain or have visible celebrity backing. Issues without this lustre – boring old problems like poverty and hunger, which are not cute and rarely photograph well – stand little chance of reaching the political limelight. If they ever do, they need celebrity backing (how could we ever solve the problem of world poverty without Bono and the obligatory rock concert, or free Tibet without Richard Gere?). When such celebrity heavyweights do pitch in, their vehement condemnations, misinformed statements and simplistic solutions not only distort the truth but make matters worse by offending the very people who have the power to effect real change. Moreover celebrity activism is also open to charges of hypocrisy. At the recent Live Earth concert which aimed to raise awareness of climate change, the biggest impression left by pop stars was the huge carbon footprint made by their private jets. If all this were not enough, the organisational ineptitude of such stunts is staggering – witness, for instance, the mountain of plastic cups and litter discarded by ‘concerned’ fans at the same event, which only served to make further mockery of the entire event.


How does all this affect our political well-being in general? Fixating on the stars in the media skies is a process that tends to be mind-numbing. The more awed we are by their wondrous activities, the more stupefied we are likely to become. They make news, and we devour it. Today’s media script often features celebrities – from Hollywood and Silicon Valley to Wall Street and Washington – glorifying a few rich and powerful Americans. The rest of us are mostly cast as incessant consumers of insignificant public worth or relevance. In terms of our democratic health in particular, we have become political couch potatoes, more fascinated by a candidate’s recent plastic surgery than concerned with his proposed programmes. In a spectator mode, looking up to movers and shakers, we are not likely to rock a lot of boats. Instead of engaging in heated ideological debate or energetically lobbying for change, we wallow in apathy and bask in blissful ignorance.

The New Religion By John Schumaker, New Internationalist



Using material from the above 3 paragraphs, summarise the adverse effects celebrity culture is having on modern politics. Write your summary in no more than 120 words, not counting the opening words which are printed below. UYOWAFAP. [8]

Celebrity culture is having an adverse effect on modern politics because…



SQ #2 Sample Answer:
Preparing your own response, and then reading summary examples that we provide her on, you can over time, learn the best practices of SQ writing.


Celebrity culture is having an adverse effect on modern politics because stars are deviously entering politics. Where politics has become all about superficial appearances candidates adopt similar disingenuous tactics. The separation between politics and showbusiness is indistinct, making real issues seem unimportant. Real concerns without star endorsement will receive limited attention. The rancorous rhetoric, misleading assertions and naive answers misrepresent the problem, and exacerbate the situation by upsetting influential authorities. Star involvement is subject to double standards. Incompetent management renders their charitable efforts ridiculous. Celebrity obsession incapacitates our ability to think. The media portrays us as mere customers of no value. We are passive citizens, more concerned with image than policies. Our lack of knowledge means we do not agitate, passionately discuss ideas or pressure for reform.

(119 Words)



BONUS #2:  Summary Writing Reading Sample


There are those who view childhood through rose-tinted spectacles, seeing it as a golden synonymous with joyful innocence during which we, spared the rigours of adult life, enjoy uninhibited freedom and experience unlimited play. The argument runs thus: just as childhood releases us from responsibilities and adversities of adult life, so there should be no necessity to think in terms of stat rights for children – a concept which we assume is reserved for adults. Some even argue that children rights would subvert the inherent responsibilities of parenthood. They also assume that adults already instinctively and spontaneously provide the love and care children need, so that the case for children’s rights becomes superfluous. In building this mythic walled garden around childhood, such claims idealise and distort the adult-child relationship, ill-reflecting the lives of many of today’s young people. Most damningly, in its unquestioning acceptance of the traditional family roles of ‘custodianship’ (i.e. dominance) and child ‘dependence’ (i.e. subservience), such a false stereotype serves to legitimise social attitudes that tolerate the use of force in ‘disciplining children for the good’.


Legal rights are important because those who lack rights are like slaves, means to the ends of others, and never sovereigns of their own selves, It is surely significant that whenever we have wished to deny rights to those who have attained chronological adulthood in the past, such as blacks in South Africa or the American South, we have labeled them as ‘boys’. Even if one concedes that children are in some way different from adults because they are economically dependent, it can be argued that it is precisely because of this difference that they deserve – indeed require – to be accorded rights, so that their welfare can be duly protected. It is indeed a cruel irony that so many Western liberals focus their energies on achieving equal rights for our dumb animal cousins whilst millions of children worldwide suffer from unspeakable abuse.


As well as protecting children everywhere from cruelty and exploitation, they should also be accord rights to empower them as autonomous agents of their own lives. In the developed world in particular children today grow up at meteoric speed. They are a generation of techno-savvy ‘netizens’ ab access ‘adult’ material on the Internet more easily than most adults. Targeted by the mass media valued audience group and feted by advertisers because of their spending power, they are becoming streetwise much earlier. Indeed, many teenagers today reach levels of cognitive and moral maturity give them the capacity to be less reliant and more self-disciplined than some adults. It is time we treating young people as docile dependents and recognise them instead as persons who are capable of making up their own minds on matters such as the education they receive, the media they consume, and the company they keep. According children rights ensures that the parental power to dictate yields child’s right to make his own decisions, so that a more equitable and democratic parent-child relationship can rightfully be attained.

Taking Children’s Rights More Seriously By Michael Freeman


Summary Question:
Why do some people believe that it is not necessary to give children legal rights and why does the writer disagree with them? Use material from paragraphs 2-4 only. Write your summary in no more than 130 words, not counting the opening words provided below. UYOWAFAP. [8]

Some people argue that it is not necessary to give children rights because…


SQ Sample Model Answer:|
Some people argue that it is not necessary to give children rights because childhood is viewed as an idyllic period unburdened by audit duties, hence legal right only apply to older persons. According children rights would undermine fundamental parental duties. Because parents naturally nurture their young, rights are unnecessary. However, people romanticise and misrepresent the reality children experience. To blindly believe that adults have total authority over their submissive charges condones corporal punishment. Rights make children independent instead of subservient. As children are financially vulnerable, it is even more important to safeguard their well-being. Rights give children the authority to control their lives. In affluent nations, young people mature more rapidly, becoming more worldly-wise both intellectually and ethically, making them dependent and more self-controlled. Rights establish egalitarian relationships between children and parents. (119 words)


Go to: Sample GP Application Question



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