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