The secret trick about writing a perfect summary is knowing the original content well. While it does sound obvious and overly simple, the experts at Nerdify believe that it is precisely what leads to a successful summary. It does not mean, however, that you must spend hours reading through every line of the lengthy article. Quite on the contrary, you must start with an outline of phrases that inspire you, statistical information, and the claims that have been made. Of course, it will always depend on your subject and the type of summary that must be completed, yet the outline part will always help you stay within the most important, use quotes, and never miss anything from what must be there!
- Start with an outline of the key elements. Our team at Nerdify recommends always making an outline or a list of notes with the key points that have been made by the article or a book passage that you have to summarize. It also relates to movies or music pieces. In such a case, you must write down various time points or write down complete phrases that speak of anger, happiness, or describe the breakdown in a certain relationship. Remember that summary must include certain analyses and evidence to help make a point and prove that you have done your homework right.
- Make a list of quotations with the page or paragraph marks. Another important part is coming up with the quotes that will help you make a statement or bring up certain arguments. If you find a quote that fits, make sure that you write down where it is coming from, so it does not take too long when you form the References page. The quotations must not be too long, if possible, so you can avoid any plagiarism issues. Remember to write down the page numbers or paragraphs, so your college professor can check with the quotes. It will always improve the reliability of your summary essay.
- Come up with the positive and negative things about the text. As a rule, most summaries that we encounter at Nerdify contain a list of strong points and weaknesses. In short, you must discuss and sum up the ways how an author has succeeded to make his or her point across. The same goes for shortages and the weaknesses that you believe are there. Do not turn it into the critique review as your purpose here is to sum up things with a little bit of analytical work in terms of what could have been elaborated on in a better way.
- Identify the thesis and the purpose of the review. The most important part of a successful summary writing is the identification of the thesis or the main goal that has been pursued by the author(s). Unless you deal with an odd article structure, the thesis can be found at the end of the first paragraph before the body parts strike in. Since most academic writing will have an argument or an idea present, use it as a way to compose your summary and list the topic sentences that either prove or fail to support the thesis. It will make the summary much better and will show that some research has been done.
- Find similar or related information that deals with your original text. It is not a common requirement, yet our experience at Nerdify has proved it more than once that those summaries that included brief analysis on similar works or mentioned at least one related source always received much better grades. The purpose is to prove that an author has enough credibility (if there are certain references in the paper). If it is the case, provide a brief overview of what has been included (and why) to make it clearer for the target audience.
- State your opinion and the general impression. As you come to the conclusion of your summary, remember to state your opinion without making it lengthy. It has to include your general impression as you have finished the summarizing. As a rule, this part belongs to those complex scientific papers where the person writing a summary borders with the review work and the critique bits.
- Make a conclusion and say what has been missing or what could have been added. The final part of your summary must include the basic information regarding what has been missing in the original text as you summarized the key points. Since it must relate to the introduction and the thesis, feel free to tell about what could have been included to make the writing better. Unless you have specific instructions, you must keep your tone neutral and only related to the article that you summarize.