Best Tips on Text Summarization

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Summarizing Text

When it comes to summarizing text, you need to be able to state the main point of a story. You’re reading an entire story, then just taking the important things and writing about that. If you’ve ever looked at the back of a book, you’ll see a summary of the book. There is a whole book that maybe 100 or 200 pages, but the author summarizes it on the back of the book so you get an idea of what it’s about. That’s what you’re trying to do through a summary.


There are four main points that you should remember when writing a summary.


  1. Focus on the main idea of the story.

  2. Focus on the key points. In other words, you’re not worried about little details. You’re worried about the important things that contribute to the overall storyline.

  3. Focus on the conclusion of the story, because in most stories there’s some kind of problem. The whole plot is based around some kind of problem throughout the story, and eventually that problem is resolved. That happens in the conclusion of the story. Look at the conclusion of the story and talk about that in your summary. You’re going to be talking about the main idea of the story, the key points, the problem, maybe a little bit about the main character, and then talk about the end of the story and how that character ended up dealing with his or her problem.

  4. Focus on important information the author wants the reader to know. Throughout the story, you may notice certain points that the author really wants the reader to understand.

Look for that important information and conclude that in the summary as well. A summary is typically one paragraph in length. It does not need to be long because you’re not focusing on details; you’re just focusing on the overall story. Remember, again you’re looking for important information. We’re not interested in details. Try not to even think about the details, just look for the main idea of the story.


Now, in some cases, you might be writing a summary for a long story with multiple settings and scenes. This summary maybe a few paragraphs in length, and these paragraphs give the main points of each major part of the story. The summary of a long story always includes a conclusion to wrap up the story as an entirety.


Again, a summary is usually give me one paragraph, but it’s a really long story that has lots of different settings, lots of different scenes lots of different problems throughout the plot, you made may need to write a paragraph for each main point or major part of the story. Then for that summary, you’re going to write a few paragraphs and then you’re going to write a conclusion that’s going to summarize the whole story. Only make a summary longer than one paragraph if you feel like you cannot include all the important information in one paragraph. A summary states the main point of a story.



Provided by: Mometrix Test Preparation

Last updated: 04/19/2018
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