How Summarising and Text Summaries Work – Help Writing University Assignments

A picture with the word summary written on it.

I remember how troubling it was to write a summary for my university assignments. Of course, I managed it. But I did struggle with the task in my early years at college and university. Unfortunately, summaries and summarising text are more important than most students realise. And they’re used in several key academic tasks necessary for completing your degree. For example, taking notes, writing essays and assignments, and even studying. Therefore, learning how to write a summary is an extremely important, if not the most important, skill for students.

But you don’t need to worry if summarising texts seems hard. Trust me. I understand what you’re dealing with. After all, writing a text summary isn’t something we think about often. However, there are ways to improve your summaries and make you more efficient at crafting them. And learning tips to write university assignments writing.

So, let’s go into a quick tutorial on how to write a summary of any text. First, I’ll give you a few tips, tricks, and techniques to help. And then, you can go try it yourself. But first, let’s establish a few things:

What are Summaries?

Well, there are several ways we can define a summary. If you go online and Google its meaning, it’s probably going to say an “account” or “brief statement” of “the key points of something.” And while that is accurate, we need to look closer through our academic goggles for an educational perspective. So let’s begin with what a summary is and what it’s not.

Summaries in academic writing are very common. They’re used in essays, introductions, conclusions, and even just on their own to provide readers with the context of a particular text. In short, they’re essentially condensed versions used to convey the key elements while not providing the reader with all the extra content. Thus, helping readers understand the full text without having to read it.

However, summaries are not designed to be shorter versions of the original text. Therefore, students cannot use paraphrasing techniques and/or play-by-play accounts of the plot points present for what they are summarising. Always remember there is a huge difference between writing a summary and doing paraphrasing.

So, now you understand summaries. But let’s go one step further by defining what goes in them, so you can keep track while writing your own:

What do Summaries Include

  • The main theme or topic. For example, broad ideas like racism, political conflict, or war
  • The passage’s purpose or what the author is trying to convey
  • Names of key characters and events or factors that play a major role in the text
  • Any important dates
  • The author or title

What to Avoid

  • Unnecessary details and information not relevant to the themes and topic
  • Descriptive language
  • Opinions or assumptions
  • Exact language or quoted lines from the original text

Great! We’ve covered the basics of summaries and summarising text. But how should you write one? Don’t worry! I mentioned techniques before.

So, let’s take a look at:

How Students Can Write Effective Summaries – Help Writing University Assignments

The general information above is the basic outline or structure of a summary. So, use it as a strategy when writing. However, you can also take more steps to improve the quality of your work.

Here’s what I personally recommend:

1.      Read Shorter or Smaller Chunks While Writing – Quick Step 1

Okay, did you know humans are terrible at processing large quantities of data and information? No? Well, let me tell you why you might want to consider studying and reading in smaller bursts, at least if you’re going to do better.

According to research, reading and studying smaller amounts of data can help you acquire the information you need more effectively. And that’s especially helpful when you’re trying to summarise the texts of your chapters or even dissertations.

So, try reading small sections of your texts, noting down the important bits, and then using those in your assignments summary.

2.      Highlight the Points You Need While Writing

Perhaps you don’t want to try reading in shorter bursts. Or maybe you need immediate assignment help because they’re due in 2 days. Well, then, you’re going to need a highlighter.

Highlighting the text you’re going to add to your summary is a good idea. After all, your chapter or the text at hand may be very long. Thus, making it hard to remember all the key points you need. Using a pen and underlining or highlighting can fix the problem. It will also let you quickly glance back at and extract what you require. It can also helps you in remembering the essence of topic when you open the notes after a long time.

Of course, highlighting isn’t a good solution for studying. It’s actually been scientifically proven. But what you want is to focus on a few key sentences that would work for your summary. So, give it a try. It might be a good way to solve your problem.

3.      Ensure You Understand the Texts Before Summarising – the Most Important Technique

The first two steps were sort of quicker solutions to writing summaries. But now we’re going to be relying on the harder techniques. And the first of those is ensuring you understand the text you’re summarising. After all, how are you going to write down the key elements if you don’t know them yourself?

So, focus on analysing the text. Read it twice if you have to. Then, you can move to work through the next points. And if you don’t understand something, make a note of it and come back to it later.

4.      Identify the Key Points and Check Your Summary

We’ve gone over a couple of points. But the consistent part of each is using key elements or attributes that convey the information. But how do you identify if your key points are accurate? That’s simple, and you can do it when you’re rechecking your summary. First, you must understand what your reader needs to know about the text. These include the topic, themes, key factors or characters, and the purpose of the text.

Then you must ensure to include each of these elements in your summary. When done, it’s best to compare your notes to the original text.

Focus on the following:

  • Is it an accurate representation of the author’s work?
  • Have you missed essential information?
  • Is there any paraphrasing?

You should be good if you can answer these questions well. These questions are the essence of writing a summary.

Go Write Your Summary!

So, that brings you to our summary of what we covered today. There was an introduction to summaries, their importance and roles, and a few tips or strategies you can use to improve if you need help writing university assignments for better grades in class.

This article is designed to give you a clear perspective of each strategy while also making its execution simple and easy to grasp. So, go forward and use your key points well in your next summary. After reading this article you can grow or prosper academically. Writing a good summary is an essential part of an academic excellence and it has to be written many times while doing any degree in any university.


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