Key Steps for Summarizing the main conclusion
- Read the question (do this for every question!)
- Read the passage
- In your own words, make a conclusion for the passage. What is the author’s main idea?
- Find a sentence in the text that matches the conclusion you made, and underline it.
- Keep an eye out for giveaway words and phrases
- Find an answer that matches the underlined sentence.
The key here is to find the main topic and then find out what the author thinks about it here. The main topic is the benefits of positivity and being happy, however, the author is saying that, although there are some good applications, blind positive thinking is not always helpful. The author gives us a few examples of situations where positive thinking is not the best thing to do, and taking a more reserved approach can be more beneficial. The author is not saying that you should never think positively, but rather in moderation and depending on the situation. Now that we know this, let’s take a look at the answers.
A Positive thinking is not always helpful.
The author introduces us to the idea behind positive thinking and its benefits but then exposes its negative aspects. The author provides several pieces of evidence to show situations where positive thinking is not always helpful, such as waiting for exam or interview results, health, and difficult family and friend situations. All of this helps support that A is the correct conclusion.
B Negative thinking about health can be beneficial.
This is one specific example and not the whole argument the author is trying to make. The author uses it as an example to show when negative thinking can be used and when blind positive can be avoided. Therefore B is incorrect.
C People who think positively live longer.
This cannot be drawn from the text and is merely an indefinitive statement made to show the benefits of thinking positively. The wording from this answer should be a big enough red flag because here (answer C), it is definitive, while in the text it says ‘they may even…’ .Regardless of the wording, it is not the main conclusion that can be drawn since it does not touch on when we should think negatively (which the author provides a lot of evidence and support for). Therefore C is incorrect.
D Being overly positive can damage our relationships with friends.
This is similar to B, as it is another example the author is using to support their argument that positive thinking is not always beneficial. Therefore D is incorrect as it supports another main conclusion instead of standing on its own.
E Research into positivity has so far ignored its potential downsides.
This is directly contradictory to what is found in the text: ‘But as shown by research, positivity, when deployed at the wrong time or in the wrong amount, can have negative effects’. This shows that the research has looked into the downsides, and that is what the author is trying to inform us about.