How to summarize a college essay

Summarizing an essay is more than just telling someone what happened. You want to provide accurate details that will help the audience understand the main idea as well as the overall focus on the subject matter. You need to show you understand the concept behind it clearly and efficiently based on personal skills and knowledge. You also need to reduce the risk of being objective while recognizing specific points mentioned.

Detail the Main Idea or Main Point of the Essay

Take time to read over content carefully and think about what the main idea or purpose is. Some may skim over content to find areas they can understand easier than others. The idea is to take time to get to know the content. How you do this will affect how you write your essay. In some cases how you describe or mention something can show if you really read the content and took something from it of use, versus just retelling the same story or rehashing content.

Avoid Just Telling a Story: Define Point of View and Points of Significance

This will really define your unique understand of the content. Think about significant points mentioned throughout the text and why they are important. You can choose which points to highlight but you should show your distinct understanding of the viewpoint presented. If you are just repeating content without adding anything different or personal your content may come off as a story. Sometimes it helps to think about the content for a bit and brainstorm before you start writing your summary. Think about the style, tone, and logical meaning related to the content.

What Did You Learn or Take from It?

Take time to read your content multiple times. Do you get more clarity each time you read it? You may find certain sections or paragraphs stand out at you due to certain pieces of information. You may end up taking important points from each paragraph to help you create your summary. As you conclude your content you may mention what you learned or took from the content. Consider adding a quotation from the person who wrote the content (author). This helps readers understand the point of view of the author and how they thought about the topic or subject matter. Try to avoid copying text word for word and consider paraphrasing.

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