How do I make a summary?

If you have to learn a text or have questions about it, it is useful to make a summary of it.

What is a summary?

A summary answers the question: what does it actually say?! You tell what is in the text as briefly as possible: you list the main points from the text and leave the side issues for what they are.

The usefulness of a summary

A summary helps you to understand difficult texts and to remember information for a longer period of time. This is useful if you have to prepare for a rehearsal, for example for history or geography. Making a good summary is also a good basis for a book report, speech or presentation.

How do you make a summary?

Read the entire text carefully so that you fully understand what it says and what it is about. Without even thinking about your summary!

  1. Write down what you think is the most important message the text wants to tell you. In other words: formulate the question to which the text answers! (Note: for larger texts – for example a book – choose to summarize per chapter!).
  2. Now get started with a highlighter in a color that stands out to you and highlight/underline the words and/or sentences that are important to the main message. Are you not allowed to underline in your (rental) book?
    Then write down the important words and sentences or use a very light pencil that can be erased again.
  3. Be careful not to mark/write down too much: it really only concerns the most important information. You do not have to include examples that are cited in the text or recommendations in the summary.
  4. Are you sure you’ve filtered out all the useful and important information from the text? Then you can start, you make a running story from the parts of text that you have marked or written down.
  5. Make use of the structure of the material. You can often copy them into the summary. If you formulate the summary in your own words, you force yourself to really understand what you have read.
  6. Make sure it becomes a logical story that you understand later. So don’t just copy the text.
  7. The summary is now on paper. Read it carefully and look at it critically. Does the story make sense? Will you also understand next week what it says and does it contain everything that is important, in relation to the main message/question of the story?
  8. Rewrite the summary based on the points for improvement you have identified. No points for improvement? Then your summary is complete. You now have a good story that can bring the whole material back to you, for example for your rehearsal or for a presentation on the subject.

Did you know

The most important information or main idea of ​​a paragraph is usually contained in a key sentence?! The core sentence is often the first, second or last sentence of the paragraph! Summarize the key phrase!

The writer at the beginning of the paragraph often indicates the structure with signal words. For example: ‘I will explain two aspects’. Sentences like this can help you find the most important information in that paragraph.