Tags: #essay writing tips, #summa

Steps for Writing a Summary Essay

Summary essay is an overview of certain text. The goal of writing summary essay is to prove that you have comprehended the meaning of the original text properly and can now convey the central idea in easily understandable terms so that your readers can understand everything without reading the original text.

Steps to Write a Summary Essay

Writing a summary essay starts with reading the original text carefully. As you read it, you should strive to feel the mood, tone, and style of the author. Break the text into 3-5 or more sections and highlight key points and ideas of each section and write them in your own words creating a short review. This was the preliminary stage.

Continue to introduction where you should include the title of the original work, the name of the author, background information about the author and the main idea or ideas of the original text.

In the body paragraphs, write down the key points and ideas that you have worked on while reading the text for the second time. Include original quotes from the text. Avoid insignificant information and only describe points which matter.

When you have described the main ideas you work is done. Conclusion may be necessary if your teacher has assigned you to write it. Otherwise, you may consider your essay finished.

Topics for Summary Essay

Summary essay can be written on a number of topics. Please see some of the ideas that you can use below:

  1. Books:
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Catcher in the Rye
  • Of Mice and Men
  • Moby Dick
  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  1. Movies:
  • Captain Fantastic
  • Citizen Kane
  • Song of Two Humans
  • Mad Max: Fury Road

You can also write a summary essay on the article from a magazine or on a popular blog post.

The Main Idea to Consider

The most important thing that you should understand about the summary essay is that it should be a substitute for the original work. In other words, by reading it, people should have a clear understanding of the original text that you’re describing. Don’t give personal opinions – just summarize objectively.

Do and Don’t


  • Cite the words of the author if you’re using them
  • Use a present tense when writing
  • Understand the original text entirely
  • Proofread and revise your paper when you finish writing it


  • Give your own interpretations, just rephrase the information you’ve read in the original text in shorter form and in your own words
  • Add your judgments and evaluations about the text
  • Write about details which are not so important
  • Forget to add smooth transitions from one idea to another

Common Mistakes

  • Including too little or too much information
  • Forgetting to use quotation marks where necessary
  • Concentrating on the things which are insignificant
  • Trying to give explanations, evaluation or interpretations

Now you know how to write a summary essay!