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http://testprep.about.com/od/readingtesttips/tp/Main_Idea_Worksheets.htm The main idea of a paragraph is the point of the passage, minus all the details.

How to Find the Main Idea Summarize the Passage After you've read the passage, summarize it in one sentence that includes the gist of ever idea from the paragraph. A good way to do this is to pretend you have just ten words to tell someone what the passage was about. You'd have to think broadly, so you could included every detail in just a short statement. Look for Repetition of Ideas If you read through a paragraph and you have no idea how to summarize it because there is so much information, start looking for repeated words, phrases, ideas or similar ideas. Read this example paragraph: A new hearing device uses a magnet to hold the detachable sound-processing portion in place. Like other aids, it converts sound into vibrations. But it is unique in that it can transmit the vibrations directly to the magnet and then to the inner ear. This produces a clearer sound. The new device will not help all hearing-impaired people - only those with a hearing loss caused by infection or some other problem in the middle ear. It will probably help no more than 20 percent of all people with hearing problems. Those people who have persistent ear infections, however, should find relief and restored hearing with the new device. What idea does this paragraph consistently repeat? A new hearing device. What's the point about this idea? A new hearing device is now available for some hearing-impaired people. And there is the main idea. Avoiding Main Idea Mistakes Now, choosing a main idea from a set of answer choices is different than composing a main idea on your own. The writers get tricky and will give you distractor questions that sound a lot like the real answer! So be sure to avoid making these 3 common mistakes when you're selecting a main idea on a multiple-choice test.

Main Idea Mistake #1: Choosing an Answer That's Too Narrow Let's say you read a passage about Leonardo da Vinci's genius. Several paragraphs talk about his sculpting, charcoal drawings, and paintings. Other paragraphs mention his science skills and foresight into mechanical engineering. If you select an answer that only details his sculpting, drawings and paintings, then your choice is too narrow: it only uses part of the information from the passage. How to Avoid the "Too Narrow" Mistake: Be sure to choose an answer that encompasses every major idea in the passage, not just a few. Main Idea Mistake #2: Choosing an Answer That's Too Broad

Suppose the next passage you read on your test is a summary of a Blue Angels' performance last May. The passage explains the maneuvers, tricks and near-misses that happened that day. It showcases the daredevil approach of the newest pilot on the team, and congratulates the veterans on their mastery of the techniques that woo the crowd. If you select an answer that mentions how to become a Blue Angel, then your choice is too broad: it goes beyond the scope of the passage and gives information not discussed. How to Avoid the "Too Broad" Mistake: Choose an answer that doesn't step outside the passage. If you can't find the idea or infer the idea from the info in the passage itself, then it is not the correct choice. Main Idea Mistake #3: Choosing an Answer That's Complex, But Opposite The third passage you read on your exam argues that the haiku is a better poetic form than the tanka. The author explains each ancient Chinese poetic form and describes how the tanka has changed throughout centuries to fit into a modern-day approach, while the haiku has remained intact, which is more noble. While explaining the length of lines, syllables, and format required, the author gives poems from each to demonstrate how superior the haiku is over the tanka. Be careful not to select an answer that sounds really good, because of the length of lines and similarity to the passage, but actually states that the tanka is better than the haiku! Writer's often slip the opposite meaning into an answer choice to check your reading comprehension. How to Avoid the "Complex, But Opposite" Mistake: Read the answer choices carefully. Do NOT choose an answer because it merely "sounds" right. Put the answer choices in your own words so you can dissect the meaning better. You must choose the choice that actually reflects the main idea, not the opposite. Sometimes, a reader will get lucky and the main idea will be a stated main idea, where the main idea is easy to find because it's written directly in the text. However, many of the passages you'll read on a standardized test like the SAT or GRE will have an implied main idea, which is a little trickier. If the author doesn't directly state the main idea of the text, it's up to you to infer what the main idea is. Finding the implied main idea is easier if you think of the passage as a box. Inside the box, is a random group of stuff (the details of the passage). Pull each item from the box and try to figure out what they each have in common, kind of like the game Tri-Bond. Once you've figured out what the common bond is among each of the items, you'll be able to summarize the passage in a snap. How To Find the Implied Main Idea 1. Read the passage of text 2. Ask this question to yourself: "What do each of the details of the passage have in common?" 3. In your own words, find the common bond among all the details of the passage and the author's point about this bond. 4. Compose a short sentence stating the bond and what the author says about the bond. Step 1: Read the Implied Main Idea Example: When you're with your friends, it's okay to be loud and use slang. They'll expect it and they aren't grading you on your grammar. When you're standing in a boardroom or sitting for an interview, you should use your best English possible, and keep your tone suitable to the working environment. Try to gauge the personality of the interviewer and the setting of the workplace before cracking jokes or speaking out of turn. If you're ever in a position to speak publicly, always ask about your audience, and modify your language, tone, pitch and topic based on what you think the audience's preferences would be. You'd never give a lecture about atoms to third-graders!

Step 2: What's the Common Thread? In this case, the author is writing about hanging out with friends, going on an interview, and speaking publicly, which, at first glance, don't seem to relate to each other that much. If you find a common bond among all them, though, you'll see that the author is giving you different situations and then telling us to speak differently in each setting (use slang with friends, be respectful and quiet in an interview, modify your tone publicly). The common bond is speaking, which will have to be part of the implied main idea. Step 3. Summarize the Passage A sentence like "Different situations requires different kinds of speech" would fit perfectly as the implied main idea of that passage. We had to infer that because the sentence doesn't appear anywhere in the paragraph. But it was easy enough to find this implied main idea when you looked at the common bond uniting each idea. Sometimes, a reader will get lucky and the main idea will be a stated main idea, which is the easiest to find in a passage. It's written directly in the text. Author's sometimes come right out and write the main idea in the passage for a variety of reasons they don't want you to miss the point, they're new writers, they like clear, informational writing. How To Find the Stated Main Idea 1. 2. 3. 4. Read the passage of text Ask this question to yourself: "What is this passage about?" In your own words, explain the answer in one short sentence. Look for a sentence in the text that most closely fits with your summary.

Stated Main Idea Example: Because the Internet exists in a world that is already regulated with policies and laws, government officials, upholders of current laws and the voice of the people, should be ultimately responsible for the regulation of the Internet. With this responsibility comes the enormous task of managing the protection of First Amendment rights along with honoring social and public interests across the world. That being said, the ultimate responsibility still rests in the hands of Internet users who vote they, along with the officials elected to serve them, make up the global community. Voters have the ability to elect responsible individuals to the appropriate posts, and the elected officials have the responsibility to act on the will of the people.. The main idea here is "government officialsshould be ultimately responsible for the regulation of the Internet." That is a stated main idea because it is directly written in the text, and it full encapsulates the passage's meaning as a whole.

How to Find a Stated Main Idea How to Find an Implied Main Idea Summary

Finding the main idea can be challenging, but if you use the tools above and practice, you'll be well on your way to the score you want on the verbal or reading sections of those standardized tests.

Finding the Main Idea Paragraph 1: Classrooms The physical environment of a classroom is extremely important because it can influence the way teachers and students feel, think, and behave. If a student feels pressured, under stress, unhappy, or unsafe, it would be impossible for her or him to learn the lessons planned by the educator. Likewise, if a teacher feels unhappy or disorganized because of the classroom's lack of order or detail, the ability for her to teach is greatly diminished. The environment of a classroom serves four basic functions: security, social contact, pleasure, and growth. For real learning and teaching to take place, all four of those needs must be met by the class space. What's the main idea?

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finding of a sex difference in math performance from adolescence is a finding that arouses curiosity as to the cause of the difference is nature or nurture involved or a combination of both? What's the main idea? Finding the Main Idea Paragraph 5: Movies Going to the movies has become a weekend activity that many people pay large amounts of money to do. Movies are pricey these days, but the medium never fails to draw crowds. And while some movies have excellent plots, characterization and cinematography, others are simply horrible in just about every way. Yet once in a while, a film will appear on the big screen that will earn itself a rightful place in history as a magnificent film, one that touches the lives of people. And really, isn't that all people are really looking for as they trek out to the show, weekend after weekend? A brief glimpse into a life where people express what the moviegoer is also feeling? It must be, otherwise people would spare their wallets and stay home. What's the main idea? Finding the Main Idea Paragraph 6: Troopathon As troops fought their way throughout the desert during the war in Iraq, the narrative from the mainstream media was nearly synonymous with that of the anti-war left. The military mission was continuously undermined by media reports claiming that American troops were killers and that the war on terror was all but lost. Frustrated with the lies and exaggerations perpetuated by the media, Melanie Morgan decided to fight back. So Morgan joined forces with political strategists Sal Russo and Howard Kaloogian to create a pro-troop nonprofit organization that hosts Troopathon, a yearly web telethon fundraiser that raises money to send care packages to troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. Since the first Troopathon was held three years ago, the organization has raised over $2 million. What's the main idea? Finding the Main Idea Paragraph 7: Relationships At one time or another, most adults have been in a romantic relationship. A guy walks up to a girl at a bar, gets her number, and the beginning of a relationship is formed. A guy and a girl meet in Physics class, get paired as study partners, and the rest is history. Two high school sweethearts rekindle an old flame on Facebook after years apart. These types of simple encounters may lead to relationships, and even though that first meeting is easy, the entire relationship is not. A lot of work goes into making a true bonded relationship, and when that work is bypassed, the relationship may not last. What's the main idea? Finding the Main Idea Paragraph 8: Educational Technology Slowly, over the past several decades, technology, in all its various forms, has been creeping into the educational institutions of the United States and is now a pervasive presence. Computers are present in most classrooms; second grade students use digital cameras for science projects; teachers use document cameras for lectures; and students of all ages research on the Internet via smartphones, smartpads and laptops. While advocates have cheered and opponents have grumbled, technology has made its way into classrooms across the U. S. and knowledge of its applications has become a prerequisite for a modern education. Some people, however, do not accept this stance wholeheartedly. Opponents of the massive influx of technology into school systems state that the results of the technology have, thus far, not proven to be sufficient grounds for accepting it and its shortcomings. Despite their good intentions, these critics of technology integration are mistaken, and about twenty years behind the times.

What's the main idea?

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Learn English in the USATOEFL, IELTS, TOEIC at low cost Private Tutorials & Small Classeswww.capstone.org College Prep SchoolsView profiles & prep school reviews of college prep schoolsBoardingSchoolReview.com/prepschool Finding the Main Idea Paragraph 9: Fair Use The recording industry has gone too far in its fight against file sharers in that Copyright Management Systems (CMS), used to enforce Copyright Management Information (CMI), can impinge on users fair use of digital information. According to U.S. code, Title 17, chapter 1, section 107, copying of copyrighted information is allowed for purposes such as criticism, comme nt, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research. Many proposed systems of copyright management, such as creating hardware with anti -copying devices already installed, can impinge on this fair use allotment in copyright law by preventing professionals with legitimate defense from exercising proper usages. It can also prevent the copying of non-copyrighted material by the average user. If a person wishes to make a copy of a noncopyrighted CD, so as to have a copy at home and one in the car, a copyright management system would prevent him or her from this fair use act. What's the main idea? Finding the Main Idea Paragraph 10: Mares A recent study followed bands of feral horses in the Kaimanawa Mountains of New Zealand over the course of three years, has some interesting findings regarding foaling rates of social mares. Elissa Z. Cameron, now at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and two colleagues computed sociality scores for fifty-six mares, based on parameters such as the proportion of time each animal spent near other mares and the amount of social grooming she did. The team found that the scores correlated well with foaling rate: more sociable mares had more foals. They also suffered slightly less harassment by the bands' few males. Paragraph 1: The Environment Almost everyone would agree that cleaning up the environment and keeping it that way is a good thing. The obvious negative impacts on human health and the ecosystems on Earth are well understood. Yet, there are underlying consequences to compliance to this most basic need that need to be studied, as well. The government of the U.S. has requested voluntary action from citizens and industry, and it has also legislated action in order to start the clean-up process. An example of this is the Clean Air Act. The good news is that this law requires that emissions into the air meet certain standards that will help clean up the environment. Under this act, cars have to reduce emissions of nitrous oxides by 60%, and "clean coal" technologies have to reduce harmful emissions by 20%. Industry is required to reduce emissions of over 200 compounds that are known to cause health problems. The bad news is the cost of compliance. Estimates of consumer costs for a cleaner environment go as high as $50 billion a year, and that study does not even take into account the loss of jobs from reshaping industries to meet the new standards. Which of the following statements best expresses the main idea of the paragraph? A. Industries in nations across the United States need to unite to maintain the standards created by the Clean Air Act despite the costs to the country. B. Industries are doing their part to reduce emissions that are known to have ill effects on the environment and human health. C. Although legislation that supports cleaning up the environment is a good idea, the costs of such

efforts need to be evaluated. D. Cleaning up the environment is best accomplished through both legislation like the Clean Air Act and volunteerism from humans impacted by emissions. Answer

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Paragraph 4: Students with Special Needs Often, students are not capable of performing within a designated range of expectations in school. Those students who hover below the normative range due to physical or cognitive impairments must be evaluated to determine if special services or accommodations are needed. High schools are required to offer a wide array of special services to those students who are evaluated as incapable of staying within the normative range of performance standards in the classroom. The special services offered can help these students reach their maximum potential, but before they can be administered, a teacher has to identify that there is a problem. Which of the following statements best expresses the main idea of the paragraph? A. High schools are required to help students with special needs achieve their maximum potential. B. High schools are required to help students who have been identified by a teacher as having special needs, achieve their maximum potential. C. High schools serve the needs of various types of students, including those who have been identified as having special needs. D. High schools serve the needs of various types of students, but only offer special services to those who have been identified as having cognitive impairments. Answer Paragraph 5: Legends Legends make children dream of princesses riding bare back through fields of fragrant heather. They immortalize noble knights, champions for humanity, who fought tyranny as they raced through a village with sword brandished and banner waving in the afternoon breeze. Legends awaken imagination in the young and spur creativity in the old. The famous and trustworthy story of King Arthur is one of those great legends made famous through repeated telling. According to the stories about King Arthur, he was a man of valor, integrity, and honor in the face of challengers and opposition. He strove to lead all of England down the path of goodness and prosperity without any foolish moves or attacks of cowardice. He supposedly did all of these wonderful things, but as it seems, not one person knows how this legend came to be, and some even debate that he was once alive. Which of the following statements best expresses the main idea of the paragraph? A. King Arthur's legends have been inspirational for both the old and the young. B. Legends, like that of King Arthur, can be inspirational despite their muddled beginnings or deficient proof. C. Legends can inspire both the young and the old. D. Legends, like that of King Arthur, are inspirational to those who want to believe in fairy tales. Main Idea Paragraph 1: Shakespeare The idea that women are not equal to men has been a prevailing, common theme in literature since the beginning of time. Like their predecessors, Renaissance writers staunchly laid down the tenet that women were less valuable throughout the pages of effusive literary writings, where women are alternately idolized as virtuous or shunned as harlots. One man proved to be a glaring contradiction to this falsity. That man was William Shakespeare and he had the courage in those turbulent days to recognize the value and equality of women. His portrayal of women differed than that of many of his contemporaries during the Renaissance era. What's the main idea?

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What's the main idea? Main Idea Paragraph 6: Social Movements Society, though not perfect, is a working group of people trying to live together in peace. For the most part, people tend to obey the laws set before them and abide by societal codes. However, some people believe the government has made desperate errors, and they wish to change the status quo only to bring peace again in a different way. Those people begin what are known as social movements. These are small groups within societies that seek change. These social movements can rally around anything from saving eagles to saving trees and once a social movement is in motion, it either is inculcated into society or fizzles out. Either way, society will emerge from the social movement and will stabilize again into peace. What's the main idea? Main Idea Paragraph 7: Hawthorne Nathaniel Hawthorne is a name associated with many different styles of writing that have intrigued the reader well past the 19th century. Born in the infamous city of Salem, Massachusetts on Independence day in 1804, he grew up with many obstacles that influenced his writing and led him to adopt various patterns instead of relying on one sole medium to convey his thoughts. He was a novelist, a master of the short story, and a poetic essayist. One facet, though, that tied his works together, was his brilliant use of the concepts of both the Enlightenment and Romanticism. Hawthorne combined and intertwined those concepts to project themes in his various short stories and novels, of which he was a master. What's the main idea? Main Idea Paragraph 8: Digital Divide The digital divide is an issue that sheds light on a pervasive social situation in the U.S.: some people in the U.S. have access to the Internet and its extensive array of information, but other people do not. The difference between the people who can sign on and those who cant is a difference that has always divided the nation: race or ethnicity. In todays society, the Internet is power because of the vast amount of information it provides, opportunities it creates, and its linkage to future societal norms. Therefore, the digital divide is not an easily solved economic issue as it may seem at first, but rather a social issue, and one that is merely a glimpse into the bigger picture of social inequality. What's the main idea?

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What's the main idea? Main Idea Paragraph 10: Classroom Technology Despite modern outcries for technology in schools, some skeptics believe technology has no place in the modern classroom, and argue against it for several reasons. Some of the loudest, most heavily researched arguments come from The Alliance for Childhood, an organization whose mission involves supporting the rights of children globally. They have completed a report called, "Fools Gold: A Critical Look at Computers and Childhood." The document's authors purport these: (1) there are no conclusive stats that prove technology's helpfulness in school, and (2) kids need hands-on, real-world learning, not computer training. Their research backs up their claims, which heightens the debate about what real learning means. What's the main idea?

Topic: Americans waiting to marry (age at which Americans marry) Are Americans today waiting longer to get married? According to 2003 Census Bureau figures, the answer is yes. The Associated Press reports that one-third of men are still single when they reach age 34 and that nearly one-quarter of women are still single at that age. Compared with data for 1970, these figures are four times higher. In 1970, the percent of never-married men aged 30-34 was 9 percent; the rate has risen to 33 percent. The percent of never-married women increased from 6 percent to 23 percent. The typical marriage age for men in 2003 was 27.1 years, up from 25.3 in 1970. The typical age for women rose from 20.8 to 23.2.

Are Americans today waiting longer to get married? Men marry at a later age than women do. Americans today are waiting longer to get married. More men than women are still single at age 34.

Topic: results of a survey about teens and money A recent survey revealed some shocking results. One in five teens does not know that if you take out a loan, you must pay interest in addition to repaying the loan. One teen in four has the mistaken notion that financial aid will take care of all their college expenses. And one teen in three thinks that Social Security payments will provide all the money they need when they retire.

A recent survey revealed some shocking results: one in five teens does not know that if you take out a loan, you must pay interest in addition to repaying the loan. Teenagers do not know anything about money matters. A recent survey revealed some shocking results about how little understanding teens have about money matters. One teen in four has the mistaken notion that financial aid will take care of all their college expenses. And one teen in three thinks that Social Security payments will provide all the money they need when they retire.

Topic: fiction (definition of) Novels and short stories are types of fiction. Drama is another example. Fairy tales and fables are also fiction. It is a type of narrative writing that comes from the imagination of the author rather than from history or fact.

There are many types of literature. Novels, short stories, drama, fairy tales and fables are types of fiction. Fiction is a type of narrative writing that comes from the imagination of the author rather than from history or fact. Novels and short stories are types of fiction.

Topic: how far it is to the Sun (distance to the sun) How far is it to the Sun? It's so far that it's hard to comprehend. In actual distance, it's approximately 93 million miles. The distance changes slightly as the Earth travels around the Sun. Suppose it were possible to take a jetliner there. Traveling at a little over 550 mph, it would take nearly 20 years to get there. Even if you could travel at 25,000 mph, it would take five months to reach the Sun.

A) B) C) D)

How far is it to the sun? It's so far to the Sun that it's hard to comprehend. In actual distance, it's approximately 93 million miles to the Sun. It takes a long time to get to the Sun, no matter how you travel.