Essays are a great thing. They force you to talk in detail about a topic and figure something out about it. They make you research and read and broaden your mind. But sometimes they can be frustrating too. For example, what makes a good summary? What are the key areas you have to address? Is there a way to get it wrong? Well stop you’re worrying. Follow our tips and you’ll never question a summary again:
A good summary should round up everything you’ve said so far. It should gather all of the information you collected in your essay and lay it out again for your readers to look at. A summary is a way to remind your readers of what has happened so that the information sticks in their mind. A great way to think about it is to write bullet points of some key ideas in your text. Don’t use the bullet points in your essay though, flesh them out and turn it into a cohesive paragraph. But your bullet point mentality will remind you to round up.
The best summaries repeat what has already been said. Maybe repeat choice sentences or ideas from within the text and put them in your summary. It’s ok to repeat because you’re trying to explain in one short burst all that has been said in the body of text.
The worst thing you can do in a summary is come up with a new point. Your main body of text is where all your new stuff goes, that’s where you answer and ask the questions. Your summary should merely outline what has happened. Now is not the place for a final original thought. If you do find yourself doing this, strike it out or find somewhere else to put it. A summary is not original, it is repetitive. It simply says: these are the things I said.
Your summary comes at the end of a long essay. Your reader is probably tired, probably sick of work, probably hungry. Don’t frustrate him or her by dragging out a long and convoluted summary. Keep it to one, maybe two paragraphs. A few short sentences on the main ideas presented in the text. Remind the reader of your topic and your conclusion on it. But don’t make them want to tear your essay up in frustration. Keep is short. Keep it simple.
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