Writing the Perfect Summary Advice
Summarizing an essay is an important skill in academia and the workplace. It requires critical thinking, the ability to be concise, and a considerable amount of writing finesse. Developing the skill can make you stronger as a reader, too, since it teaches you how to read for the main points. It is a talent that you will have to acquire to succeed.
But how? Many people are not effectively taught to summarize. If you don’t know how to write a good summary, read on.
How to Summarize a Paper
We have compiled a list of the steps involved in writing a summary. Follow them and you’ll be on your way to writing an excellent summary in no time.
- Read for understanding: You can’t summarize a text you lack a thorough understanding of. Read through once to get a complete knowledge of the text’s points before you begin.
- Read for content: Next, read with a more analytical eye. What are the text’s arguments? How would you sum up what it means? What’s essential and what isn’t? Keep these questions in mind for your reread.
- Make notes: You can do this either after or during your second reading. Answer the questions you asked yourself, sum up important points, make note of what seems essential. Be liberal; include everything that seems even remotely important. It’s easier to take things out than put them back in.
- Cross out: Time to weed out what you built up. Anything that seems particularly unimportant to the point may be crossed out now. You will do quite a bit more editing, so you can be gentle with your red pen. Just take out anything that doesn’t seem to contribute much.
- Outline: Check out your notes and create a structure for your paper based on them. Include everything at this stage, even things you’re not sure about.
- Edit: Time to cut it down again! Go through and remove everything that seems unimportant. You should remove this before you start writing, so you have less to do when you do write. Do save it in a separate document case you need it later, though.
- Fill in: Time to write! Go through your outline and expand on your main points piece by piece. This will be your first draft, so feel free to make it a little bit slapdash. You will fix it later.
- Edit some more: Yes, again. You can do this during the fill-in stage if you like, or you can wait until after. If your paper is too long, remove some of the inessential information. If you’ve cut too much and it’s too short, go back and check your notes.
- Check your work: Read your text again and compare your paper. Does it convey all the important points and leave out the inessentials?
- Proofread: Final step: now it’s time to edit out those rough edges. Look for any awkwardness caused by the removal of inessential pieces as well as regular mistakes. A good tip for proofreading is to read out loud or to read your paper backwards. This helps you catch things your eye would skim over normally.
How to Write a Good Summary Help
Writing a good summary is certainly no easy task. However, you are now much better-equipped to do so than you were before you began reading. You have a better understanding of the steps and can apply them to your own work. However, it’s possible that you still have questions or need some summarizing activities to practice. That’s quite understandable, as this is a complex task which takes time to learn. It’s a good idea to ask for help from your professor, teacher, or a peer that you trust. Our website also has a team of professional writers who can help answer your questions as well. We are always happy to help you at any stage of the process.