Simple guide to make a summary

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Writing a summary seems like a very simple thing, but in reality it is not so. Not everyone has a strong ability to synthesis but learn how to write a good summary you can! Follow these tips


Make a summary: it seems a simple, almost trivial thing. In fact, to make a summary you need a skill that you can develop over time and that will come in handy throughout your studies, from primary school to university. The summary is essential to be able to remember important concepts and concepts and can be used to simplify any type of text. There are some techniques and strategies that you can use to make an impeccable summary even if you do not have the gift of synthesis: if you fall into this category, follow our guide to avoid mistakes!


When we talk about the summary, we refer to the re-elaboration and synthesis of a larger text, in which to insert all the information we consider fundamental and eliminate the superfluous. Writing a summary is one of the tasks that a student has to face from the beginning of his school career, to elementary schools, and that accompanies him throughout the course of study, even at university. The reason? The summary has not only the task of testing the student’s ability to understand the text and to synthesize it, but it can offer a concrete help in the study: as for the concept maps, it allows to report the more important concepts of what we have to memorize and to imprint them in our mind in an almost indelible way.

Not everyone, however, has the gift of synthesis and the students who are able to perfectly summarize the basic concepts of a text are not as many as one would expect.

In this guide we give you the tools to learn how to write a perfect summary, which helps you not only to take a good grade but to teach you to use a really good study tool.




Writing a summary means taking an original text and depriving it of its superfluous contents, leaving only what can be considered essential. In short, it means to write practically the same things, but more briefly, using about a third of the words. No, it is not something impossible or reserved for bright minds only: every student – you too! – can succeed in this “business”. To do so, however, you will need to follow some practical advice, a kind of itinerary that will help you in writing a perfect summary …

Carefully read the text in question

This is not a trivial and negligible passage: carefully read the passage that we have to summarize is essential for achieving a good job. Do not limit yourself to a summary reading, but try to understand the meaning of what you are reading and, if necessary, read it again and again.

Emphasize the most important parts of the text

As you read it is important that you understand what information is needed to understand the text. To help you can use the so-called five-W rule, which is usually used in the drafting of a newspaper article but that again can be useful. What you will have to do then, reading the text, answer these questions: who, what, when, where, why, and underline the corresponding answers in the text.

Divide the text into sequences

Once you have read the text, subdivide it into sequences, that is, into those minimal narrative units, in themselves concluded and autonomous in terms of content, which constitute the whole piece. In the margin of the text tries to give a title to each sequence that summarizes the content.


Once you have completed the preliminary operations, you will be ready to write your summary. Armed with paper, pen and a little patience and, above all, do not be discouraged: as it is a summary, the text you will have to write should not be so long. The right amplitude is less than 1/3 of that of the starting piece, so the work you will do will not take too much time, nor will it cost you too much effort.

Start writing your summary by referring to what you have underlined in the text and annotated in the margin after having divided into sequences. You can even think of doing a lineup, which will be the backbone of your summary. In this case, it will be simpler than usual: the key concepts of your lineup will consist, in broad terms, of those titles that you previously gave in the division in sequences.

At this point you can turn your lineup into a real summary, developing the various steps (not too broadly, remember that it is always a summary) and trying to give the text it’s consequential. This means that you will have to pay attention to create a discourse that follows a logical thread, linking the different parts of the speech to each other through the use of temporal markers (at the beginning, before, then, after, then at last) and connective(prepositions, conjunctions and adverbs) to articulate the speech correctly.

To be able to write a summary correctly, we recommend that you follow these simple rules …

  • Eliminate adjectives, examples, incisions and all that is not strictly necessary to understand the text
  • Turn direct speech into indirect form
  • Speak in third person
  • Create short sentences, not too complicated
  • Use simple language, no hard to understand terms
  • Always use the same verbal time for the whole summary
  • Do not enter your opinion and your judgment about the text

Once you have completed the summary, all you have to do is re-read it: your task will be to check that there are no spelling errors and that the discourse flows smoothly, with a logical sense and that do not miss any passage.

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