How to Write A Summary Essay? 7 Easy Steps & Common Mistakes

We all write essays in college. Is there too much content in your essay to remember? Easy—the summary essays are there for that!

Ah, the summary… the students’ best friend! Proofreading can be a little complicated with the large number of materials that need to be assimilated quickly. Thankfully, the summary essay is there to help us remember what is most important to know about each piece of content.

There are two basic kinds of summary:

  1. Reader Summary: You need to explain your reading to make people understand that better.
  2. Summary Essay: It is mostly written for other readers and summarizes a legitimate resource. The primary reason behind writing a summary essay is that the readers get to know the detailed overview of that particular resource. It benefits readers who do not wish to read the original text.

Cool huh? But I must warn you that summarizing an essay is difficult. As you already know the importance of this ally when studying, I elaborated on the steps to write a summary essay outline! I got these tips when I asked someone to write my essay. Come with me:

How to write a summary essay

Steps to Write A Summary Essay

1. Read and reread the text

How to start a summary essay? The first thing you should know is that preparing a summary is also a way of studying – after all, to prepare it, you need to be well in tune with the subject. You need to examine and observe that unique text. Ideally, you must read and reread the text a few times to make sure you understand everything correctly. While reading, try to sense the author’s vogue, tone, and mood. Also, try to catch and sense the primary ideas that the author wants to express. Enjoy the moment you are studying the subject! Doing some exercises may benefit to some extent.

2. Search for the most important concepts and fundamental points of the text

Now that you have read your essay a few times, you must be prepared to highlight its essence. You should try to search for some keywords on the subject, which will help you get organized and highlight what is most important in the essay. After breaking down the original text into various parts, sketch a random outline for the text. It will be easy to grasp when you break the text into several sections.

Then, read those sections once again to mark a few key points. Highlight those texts you want to refer to in your summary section and not in the essay you write.

For example, if you are doing a Physics summary on thermology, the keywords can be heat, temperature, expansion, the study of gases, Kelvin scale, etc.

Besides gathering the keywords, you can also highlight the essential items and phrases to understand that content or even what you can’t escape from being decorated.

For example, formulas are essential in an exact story, and of course, they must be included in the summary.

Likewise, in history, you can highlight some names of protagonists of historical facts (for example, Robespierre in the French Revolution or Otto von Bismarck in German unification) and some very representative dates (like 1945, the year that ended World War II).

Similarly, basic concepts cannot be left out in geography, especially in geophysics.

Attention! When looking for the summary essay’s fundamental parts, you will need some text interpretation skills. There is no point in underlining or emphasizing the entire text, so it is necessary to understand what is essential in the middle of those words. Access here a guide on how we can help you improve your interpretation.

3. Organize the main ideas

Now is the time to organize what you understand about the subject. With the most important keywords and formulas, names, and dates, it’s time to guide the summary you will write. To do this, try to answer two questions:

  1. What is being said in your essay?
  2. How would I explain this to anyone?

When you have gathered complete knowledge about every portion of the text, pen down a short review of the main idea every part of the text wants to convey.

It is also important to list the subject on topics you consider important (if it is a summary of History, do it in chronological order of events). This is where you can “draw” a small outline for the subject, stipulating several main concepts, like three or four, so you don’t put too many things in the summary.

4. Introduction

After following the above guidelines, the next step for you would be to write an introduction for a summary essay. It should briefly explain ideas conveyed in every section of the original text. Here, you must include the author’s name and their work title. If required, you may also include a little background about the author.

5. Main body paragraphs

In that passage, compose the idea you encountered while reading those texts in every section. You can expand them by mentioning one or more, as provided in that original text. Remember to mention only the vital information and not those that may be irrelevant.

6. Conclusion paragraph

After summarizing the text’s primary ideas, your essay might be completed. On your teacher’s advice, you must include a conclusion paragraph at the end of your essay.

7. Write the text with your words

Get to work! It’s time to write your summary essay. You have read and reread the text, highlighted the most important words or formulas, and already listed the most important topics. You must be almost an expert on the subject. After all that, writing will be easy. Take the subject by the general basics and then move on to the specific subjects within that subject.

Summary Essay Topics

You can write down a Summary essay on:

  • A research journal
  • Any interesting article
  • Summary of any scientific work
  • A novel

It can be on any subject. For example, you might want to write a summary essay on:

  • A blog post of a famous journalist
  • A movie by Ingmar Bergman
  • A novel by Jack London
  • An article in The New York Times
  • Ben Hurr (A film)
  • Captain Fantastic (A film)
  • Catcher in the Rye (A book)
  • Citizen Kane (A film)
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (A book)
  • Lord of the Rings (A book)
  • Mad Max: Fury Road (A film)
  • Moby Dick (A book)
  • Of Mice and Men (A book)
  • Song of Two Humans (A film)
  • The Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant

Key Points to Consider for Summary Essay

  1. The foremost vital aspect of a summary essay is its association with the topic. Remember that your translation of the source text will mislead the readers or even twist what the original text signifies.
  2. Your summary essay should be represented as an alternative to the original text. Readers must easily gather correct information about the original text by reading and analyzing your source summary.
  3. A summary is about summarizing the original text and not finding faults.

Do’s and Don’t’s in Summary Essay

Do’s Don’t’s
Only use the phrases by the author if required, or else it may appear plagiarized. Try not to mention your own examples or understandings in your essay. You must repeat the source’s information in short frames and your own words.
Always write an essay in the present tense, regardless of whether the original text’s author has left the universe long years in the past. Don’t mention your personal opinions about the original text. You need to summarize the author’s thoughts and not yours.
A writer should perceive the source thoroughly before starting to write. Get the meanings of the words that are unfamiliar to you. Don’t try to gather all the ideas explained in the original text. Emphasize only the significant points.
Ensure that you have mentioned precisely the author’s phrases. Don’t write needless information.
Revise when your summary essay is ready. You may notice a pleasant place to cite new quotations, make corrections, or improvise topics. You may also refer your essay to your friends or any other person to read and attain the idea behind your essay. Your essay is up to the mark if that person attains the same idea related to the source. Don’t incorporate the changes to the flag while shifting to the new concept within the same paragraph.

Common Mistakes in Summary Essay

  1. Mentioning excessive or insufficient amount of information in your essay.
  2. Do not refer to the citations with the goal that the expressions of the original text resemble your own.
  3. Emphasizing inconsequential information and examples.
  4. Attempting to decipher or clarify what the author wanted to say. You need to concisely summarize the source and not represent your own understanding.

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