Singapore Math Guru

The Importance of Underlining Key Information

sign-34670_640Underlining key information is extremely important and it is often overlooked by many students, resulting in unnecessary careless marks lost.

Let me give you an example:

John and Mary have some marbles. After John’s father gave him some marbles, John’s share increased to 40%.

Now let me give you another example:

John and Mary have some marbles. After John’s father gave him some marbles, John’s share increased by 40%.

Can you spot the difference?

Now let me repeat both statements with the underlined word that makes a difference.

John and Mary have some marbles. After John’s father gave him some marbles, John’s share increased to 40%.

John and Mary have some marbles. After John’s father gave him some marbles, John’s share increased by 40%.

Now, can you spot the difference?

marbles-319938The word “to” in the first instance tells us that John’s share as a percentage of the total i.e.  Mary’s share and John’s share combined is now 40%.

The word “by” tells us that John’s share has increased by 40% from his original share as a base.

Now, these are 2 entirely different meanings altogether just with a tweak of a word.

And that is why it is so important to underline key information.

The next question you might ask then is: What is considered key information?

A rule of thumb is if you cover those words and/or figures with your fingers and the meaning of the sentence is lost, then those words and figures are key information.

Let me repeat that in a simpler way.

The words and figures which are considered key information, are those that contain the entire meaning of the statement.

Here’s an example regarding this:

Mary has 1088 toy dolls and she gave half of these to Tom.

Now, read the above sentence.

Read it again without they key information.

___ has ___ toy dolls and she ___ ___ to Tom.

If I remove the words” Mary”,”1089”,”gave” and “half”, then the sentence above would not be understood at all. Therefore these words contain most of the meaning of the sentence above.

But I would underline “Tom” as well as he might be the all important 2nd character involved. So this is what I would do:

Mary has 1088 toy dolls and she gave half of these to Tom.

Now, let’s remove the words which are not underlined and see what we get.

Mary 1088 gave half Tom

knowledge-390287_640As you read the underlined key information, your brain can still figure out that Mary gave half of 1088 to Tom. It just pieces it altogether and that’s the power of underlining. It not only aids in understanding but also helps in doing quick checks. A quick glance will give you the meaning of the problem sum and it is especially helpful when checking for errors.

So, at SingaporeMathGuru, we advocate that these be done in order that less careless mistakes are made.

In fact, in most of our videos, you can watch our teachers do the same and as a student watches, he learns the correct examination techniques to go along with the “know-how” as well.

 

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