Expert Guide on How to Write a Summary
Getting assigned a summary is a pretty common task in school. It helps you understand and retain the information you’ve read in a better way.
If you’re wondering how to write a summary, the first thing you should do is to carefully go through the piece of writing and understand it. Note down important points that you think need to be presented in the summary.
Remember to write a summary in your own words. You’re required to rely on your memory. Later, you can perfect it to make sure all the major points of the original text are covered.
Here’s a deeper look into the steps involved in writing a good summary.
What is a Summary
A summary is a record of someone else’s original work in your own words. The text can be anything from an article, novel, chapter, movie, or even a lecture.
No matter what the source material might be, the aim remains the same. It is to demonstrate your understanding of the work and the original author’s argument.
You give a synopsis of the main points of the text without mentioning each and every detail. Only focus on the details that are important for the understanding of the topic. These include the main idea, supporting points, without analyzing or interpreting the content.
When writing a summary of an article or any other text, students often get confused. They start to analyze and critique the ideas presented by the original author. However, the purpose and contents of a summary are different.
What Should a Summary Include?
A typical summary consists of the following elements:
- Clearly stated the main idea of the original text
- Written in the writer’s own words
- Overview of the arguments and supporting details.
- Uses keywords from the original text.
- Significant information is presented in a limited word count.
How to Write a Summary?
Summaries can be used in several instances. You could be assigned to write a summary when your teacher has asked you to go through a novel. Or you can also write a summary of different texts to be included in your research paper.
Learning to write a summary is a simple process that you can master just by following simple steps.
- 1. Read the Text Carefully
- 2. Understand the Focus of the Text
- 3. List Down the Important Points
- 4. Don’t List Down Irrelevant Details
- 5. Write the Summary
- 6. Don’t Provide Your Interpretation
- 7. Use Appropriate Language
- 8. Revise the First Draft
- 9. Write Events in a Chronological Order
- 10. Remove Repetitions
- 11. Use Transitional Words
- 12. Get Rid of All Errors
- 13. Check the Word Count
- 14. Get Feedback
It goes without saying that you need to read and really understand the text before starting the writing process. At this point, don’t make notes, just focus on the meaning of the text, so you know what is being said.
Once you’ve gone through the text, try to figure out what the main idea or theme is.
Next, you need to reread the piece and look for important points that justify the theme. Focus on the title, characters, the plot, etc.
Since a summary is a shorter version of the original text, you can’t incorporate every single detail. Your focus should be the author’s main argument. Don’t focus too much on the evidence and facts.
Start your summary by mentioning the title of the original text, its author(s) main point, and genre in the present tense.
Your first draft should be written with the help of your memory. Without looking at your notes, write down what you thought was significant in your own words.
If you want to use the exact words as the original author, write them within quotation marks.
Write everything from the author’s point of view and perspective, not through your opinions. Simply summarize the summary in the different paragraphs, starting them with topic sentences.
Since it is a summary of someone else’s work, you should use phrases such as “the novel indicates,” “the writer claims,” etc. This is just to remind the reader that you’re summarizing someone else’s piece.
You can also use the author tag, using their last name. For instance, “Adam argues/suggests/persuades/rejects…”
Go through the draft and compare it with your initial notes. If you’ve left out something, make sure to add it.
Don’t forget to keep the same sequence as the original text. It is important, especially when writing about some work of fiction.
Sometimes authors tend to repeat a single point multiple times when writing the summary. Make sure that you don’t do the same thing.
Your summary should come across as consistent. To maintain a logical flow, you can use transitional words when starting a new paragraph. All of the paragraphs must be coherent and should refer back to the main point.
Once you’ve perfected the format of your summary, make sure that there are no other mistakes or typos.
Lastly, don’t forget to check how long the summary is, whether or not the word count is being met. If the professor hasn’t specified the word limit, then you can follow the general requirement that is one-quarter of the original text.
However, the final length of your summary depends on the length of the text you are summarizing.
Get someone else to read your summary and see if they understand the meaning of the original text. They can also help spot errors that you overlooked.
Summary Writing Samples
Here are a few samples of various summary examples. Go through them to know how you can draft an excellent summary for yourself.
How to Write a Summary of an Article
How to Write a Summary for a Resume
How to Write a LinkedIn Summary
How to Write a Professional Summary
Tips for Writing a High-Scoring Summary
Here are some tips to make sure your summary is up to the mark.
- Break the text into smaller chunks.
- Skim through the original text.
- Use the topic sentences of the original author to get the idea.
- Summarize each paragraph in a sentence.
- Write in the simple present or past tense.
This was the entire process needed to form an impressive summary for class. If you have any queries feel free to reach out to our expert writers at 5StarEssays.com for help.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you start a summary?
The summary should start with an introductory sentence about the author(s), including their names. It should also mention what the original text is all about and how it differs from other similar pieces in terms of content or message.
What are the 3 characteristics of a summary?
The 3 main characteristics of a summary are conciseness, accuracy, and objectivity. If these 3 elements are present in your summary it will be worth reading.
How many sentences make a summary?
Generally, a summary is about six to eight sentences. However, the exact length depends on the kind of text you are summarizing or the instructions provided to you by your teacher.
How long is a summary?
The ideal length of a summary should be 1/3rd the length of the original text.