Writing a summary essay is a commonly assigned task in high school and university. One of the most important aspects of writing a summary essay is being certain to include all of the necessary information. This may seem like a daunting task, especially when the item being summarized is long or complex, but it doesn’t need to be difficult. With careful planning and organization, anyone can write a summary essay without forgetting anything. Here are some simple steps to follow:
On the first read through, don’t make any notes or highlight. One needs to have a feel for the overall piece before beginning.
Now that you’ve got a clear idea of what the piece is about and can identify important information, highlight that information as you read through the piece a second time.
This step will make the creation of your outline much easier. In five sentences, create a brief summary of the piece. Of course, your essay will be far more in depth, but by doing this exercise you’ll be able to identify what the main themes and sections of your essay should be.
Now, create your outline. It should have an introduction, a minimum of three body paragraphs (more may be necessary), and a conclusion. Look at the brief summary you just wrote and identify three to five main themes. Each of these themes will be the main idea of one of your body paragraphs. Go through your highlights and notes, and indicate in the outline where each of these pieces of information should be located.
You don’t have to worry about forgetting anything—because it’s all already there! You can simply go line by line through your outline and ensure that everything necessary has been included properly.
Now that you’ve completed the essay, it’s time to make sure it’s polished and professional by checking over it for mistakes. Ensure that there are no misspellings or grammatical errors; if possible, it’s a good idea to have a friend or fellow student read over it as well.
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