Having students get the GIST of the text is the first step for them to understand the main idea. This exit slip also prevents students from giving you the summary of the text. Recently, I learned that students should be able to give you a summary statement or GIST using 10 or less words. I decided to have my students create the statement using 12 words or less and I have seen great success since teaching this concept to them. I saw an improvement also with them uncovering the main idea. This form will give you a great snapshot of where your students are with understanding the big idea.