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Reading Main Idea Summary Tip

Updated: Jun 6, 2018

In this question, you will see one MAIN IDEA SUMMARY statement.


Below that, you will then see 6 more statements.

The question asks you to select 3 out of the 6 sentences given.


These 3 sentences will be MAIN IDEAS.


You must eliminate statements that are details, false or not mentioned in the text.



One way to eliminate wrong answer choices is to:

Look at the main idea sentence provided by TOEFL.This will give you a clue into what the correct MAIN IDEA SUMMARY statements are.


When you make a selection, you want to be sure it supports the MAIN IDEA statement that TOEFL gives.


For example, the TOEFL MAIN IDEA SUMMARY statement reads:

Many factors lead to desertification.


This MAIN IDEA statement is focused on the FACTORS that result in desertification. So, when we look for our MAIN IDEA statement answers, we want to focus on the factors or the reasons for desertification.


Which one of these statements focuses on the factors that lead to desertification?

a. Animal grazing that does not mimic nature can hasten the erosion of soil and result in infertile areas.

b. Cows eat grass.


Answer A: Correct! This is a Correct MAIN IDEA Statement. Notice how animal grazing is a factor that leads to desertification.


Answer B: Incorrect. Yes, it is true that cows eat grass. The text may even say this, but notice how this sentence does not support the main idea sentence provided. The main idea sentence is interested in factors that lead to desertification. This sentence does not indicate how desertification occurs.


Let's Practice. The MAIN IDEA SUMMARY sentence provided by TOEFL reads:

People go to Disneyland for a variety of reasons.

a. Experiencing Disneyland helps reduce stress.

b. Disneyland opened in 1955.

c. Disneyland offers entertaining attractions.

d. Mickey Mouse is the official mascot of Disneyland.

e. The Tomorrowland area of Disneyland has a rollercoaster named Space Mountain.

f. Many parents bring their children to Disneyland because it is a cultural or familial tradition.




Correct MAIN IDEA SUMMARY statements that also SUPPORT the sentence provided: A, C, F

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