Module 10 - The main idea
The main idea is the main idea
Finding the main idea is a key to understanding a CARS passage. The main idea is the central claim of the passage, tying all of the paragraphs in the passage together. Some paragraphs provide evidence or support through reasoning. Some paragraphs may describe exceptions to the central thesis or counter-arguments. Once you identify the main idea, the purpose of each of the paragraphs in the passage clicks into place.
Finding the main idea of a passage involves may involve straightforward, literal comprehension or it may involve interpretive levels of comprehension. Sometimes the main idea is stated in the first paragraph as a thesis statement. The author develops the main idea with supporting evidence and arguments throughout the passage. Sometimes the main idea is subtle. Whichever is the case, always remember to ask yourself before moving on to the questions, "Okay. What was the main idea?"