Summary Guidelines

The purpose of the summary essay is to convey to others an understanding of a text you have read without their having to read it themselves. You cannot write a good summary of a text that you do not understand.

An Introduction to Summary

  • A summary is a shorter version of a longer piece of writing. The summary captures all the most important parts of the original, but expresses them in a [much] shorter space.
  • Summarising exercises are usually set to test your understanding of the original, and your ability to re-state its main purpose.

Some Tips to Remember

  • Read the piece for understanding first. Never summarise as you read the article for the first time.
  • Keep the relevant details, remove the irrelevant ones.
  • You may use a highlighter to underline key ideas if it makes things clearer for you.
  • You need to use your own words to re-write a sentence or paragraph without changing its meaning. This is called paraphrasing.

Steps to Follow

  1. Read the instructions
  2. Read the text to get the general idea.
  3. Underline the major points / keywords.
  4. Look for specific details.
  5. Leave our unnecessary examples, illustrations & repetitions.
  6. Include definitions of key terms and concepts (if any).
  7. Prepare an outline. List the main points in order.
  8. Write a draft of the summary.
  9. Paraphrase as you write the draft.
  10. Write in one paragraph.
  11. Be concise / brief.
  12. Don’t add your own opinion.
  13. Use transition words.
  14. Check the number of words as stated in the instructions.
  15. Read through to check for errors.

Posted on August 11, 2009, in Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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