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Dealing with difficult texts: The excerpt

    It is known from scientific research that summaries that contain more information have a positive effect on subsequent exam success, with people with greater prior knowledge producing better excerpts than learners working through completely new material. It was also shown in these studies that summaries written from memory increase learning success, more detailed summaries are more favorable than less detailed ones, and that knowledge is better consolidated when summaries are formulated in the learner’s own words instead of just copying down the formulations, which happens repeatedly, especially with beginners in this learning technique.

    An excerpt consists of logically ordered sections of meaning, whereby the order of the text to be excerpted need only be adhered to as far as it is logical. An excerpt should contain the individual processing process and be adjusted according to the learning objectives. There is no such thing as the right excerpt for a text. You should always explain all foreign words in an excerpt, also graphical schematizations are suitable in an excerpt. An excerpt should always be handwritten, so that the handwriting can be better practiced during the test. In an excerpt you have already done the new formulation of a text. This saves energy when writing the test.

    Especially the first summaries are usually much too extensive, so that the effort naturally seems huge. Learning from excerpts is therefore quite a time-consuming affair, because this learning technique only works for learners who are practiced in writing summaries. For all untrained learners, extensive and sometimes tedious training is required, which makes summary writing as a learning technique extremely unattractive to some at first glance. Thus, writing summaries should be considered fundamentally problematic for those learners who are looking for quick success with as little effort as possible. (