Whether you enjoy writing or not, summaries are part of every student’s life so, the faster you’ll learn how to deal with them, the better for you. No matter if you write the summary of a novel or an article on your computer or an old-school typewriter, there are certain rules you need to keep in mind. Read below to find the most efficient ways to finish this type of homework fast.
An effective summary manages to extract and condense the most relevant information from a paper in as few words as possible. Summaries can vary in length depending on the subject you’re covering so you can expect them to be as short as a few sentences.
No matter the case, the first thing you need to do is read the entire paper carefully, at least once. Get accustomed to the subject, the characters or the theme presented. Also, don’t try to write it all at once but, instead, start with notes. After carefully establishing the main subject of the paper you can begin your in-depth analysis.
The easiest way to make sure you got the subject right is to answer fundamental questions like who, what, when, why or where. This will give you a clear image of each paragraph you need to cover in your summary.
Also take a look at how the author managed to express his/ her thoughts, ideas or emotions, and try to identify the primary emotion of the text.
Keep in mind that a summary is not a rephrasing of the original text so try to use your own words as much as possible. Write full sentences and avoid bullet points. However, keep your sentences as concise as possible. Remember that a summary has to focus on straight facts.
Avoid using too many quotes either. In fact, it would be best to forget quotes for good if you can express the main idea with your own words.
Establish your audience and your vocabulary
Writing the perfect summary is strictly linked to the way you manage to appeal to your audience. If your audience isn’t familiar with the subject or the theme, it would be best to adjust your vocabulary so that everyone will understand what you’re saying.
Avoid pompous words and phrases as much as possible, and keep your style as concise as possible. Remain on the formal part of the writing without making the sentences harder to read or understand. In other words, keep it professional but don’t try too hard.
Another characteristic of good summaries is knowing how to stay objective. Don’t take sides or try to express your personal point of view on the matter as this is not the case. Your only purpose is to state facts as they are, without interfering with the message. Summaries should accurately reflect the author’s opinion or beliefs.
Nevertheless, if you want to address your personal opinions, do that outside the summary. You can include your notes and ideas in a separate paper if needed.
Read your first draft
After writing down the first version of your summary, read it out loud once. Chances are you included at least one paragraph or a couple of sentences that provide too many details. Don’t forget that the main idea of a summary is to be as concise as possible. Remove any bulky passages or unnecessary words. Rephrase if necessary.
Now go back to the original text and read it out loud one more time. Decide whether or not your summary includes all the key ideas of the text and concisely answers the questions you previously asked.
The last step of your homework implies rewriting the entire summary and adding necessary connectors to ensure the fluidity of your ideas. Words like “as a result,” “thus,” “however” should also be included in your paper to state each idea explicitly.
Don’t forget to check your text one more time for typos or any other type of mistakes. We don’t suggest doing it immediately after finishing writing and editing. Instead, take a few minutes or hours to clear your head. Thus, the next time you read your paper you’ll come with a fresh perspective and easily spot errors if any.