How to make a good summary to study

Would you like to know how to make a good summary that is useful for you when studying and reviewing? I know, many students would prefer searching for an essay writer by typing "write my essays" on google, but, without a doubt, summaries are a fundamental tool when studying and every student should know how to write them. So in this article, we are going to coz delve into the art of making a good summary.

Keep in mind that when you make a summary you are not only synthesizing the information you have to study but to do it you will have to investigate the information in the text or notes you want to summarize, understand the concepts you are studying and detect the main ideas that you must retain. Therefore, summarizing can be an excellent excuse to actively read and study.

In addition, the summaries that you have made will be your best allies when you start to review what you have previously studied for an exam.

Summaries are a great study technique that will make you a better student. Do you want to know what steps you must follow to make a summary? Then keep reading this article.

What is a summary

Let's start by defining what a summary is: A summary is a text that we create from another, longer text. The main objective of a summary is to synthesize the most relevant and important information from the original text, that is, when you make a summary of a text or some notes, what you are looking for is to obtain a shorter or abbreviated text without losing the essential information.

In the field that concerns us, that of study techniques, the summary is a fundamental tool when studying, since it will force you to approach the agenda in-depth, making a comprehensive and active reading, to understand and extract the main ideas of it.

A good summary must meet a series of minimum characteristics, such as:

  • It should not be too long, as its objective is to simplify the general information as much as possible. It is recommended that the abstract be less than 25% of the original text.
  • A summary should not be confused with the diagrams, much less a telegram. When summarizing, complete sentences should be used.
  • The summary must be understandable by itself, without having to resort to the original text.

What is a summary?

Everyone praises the benefits of summaries when studying, but what use has a summary? What are the advantages of summarizing? Is the time spent in summarizing time well spent?

Without a doubt, summarizing requires a certain amount of time and effort, which you would save if you did not. But this is not entirely true since this previous work will help you save a lot of time and effort when reviewing for the exam.

In addition, to make a good summary you will have to carry out a comprehensive reading that allows you to understand everything you are reading, detect those concepts and ideas that are really important and order all this information in your head. Therefore, making a summary will allow you to better understand and internalize the information and concepts you are studying.

Something that we have detected throughout these years is that there are many students who make a great effort when it comes to studying and in their heads, they have everything very clear. The problem comes when they have to express their knowledge in writing in an exam. However, if you try to write a summary in your own words, it will be easier for you to express yourself when answering the exam questions.

As you can see, only the process of preparing an abstract is already an excellent form of study. If we also take into account that it will make things much easier for us when we review, we could say that it is an indispensable tool when studying and preparing for an exam.

How to make a good summary

It is clear that a summary is a great tool that will be very useful when studying, but you will ask yourself, how can I make a good summary? Are there any techniques or guidelines to follow that will help make the summary you are writing really useful? Of course, in fact, there is even a regulation (UNE50-103-90) on how a summary should be.

There are different techniques to summarize a text, and these usually depend on the type of summary that we need. Think there are several types of abstracts (abstracts of theses, executive summaries, summaries of books, texts). But today we are going to focus on its usefulness in the field of study, so we are going to teach you what guidelines you should follow to make a summary well to study.

Steps to follow to summarize

To make a good summary it is necessary that you follow a series of steps to ensure, as far as possible, that the summary you make is a magnificent study tool that allows you to improve your results.

  1. The first thing you should do is read the text actively. This implies that, when you read, you should try to understand the information and concepts that are exposed in the text. Try to identify from the first moment what are the main ideas, keywords, or basic data to highlight their relevance.
  2. After the first reading is over, it's time to ask yourself some questions. This phase is essential to complete data that you think is incomplete or confusing. Ask yourself what the topic is about, what facts, data or information do you think are most relevant, what relationship exists between the information and remarkable concepts, what examples can you think of that illustrate what you are studying. Try to apply these questions to any type of text. As you ask them, relevant questions will emerge that you may have overlooked or failed to identify in any other way.
  3. When you have identified the most relevant content, start underlining. You can use multiple colors and assign a color to each type of data, depending on the importance of the information. For example, each title in yellow, keywords in green, dates in pink, relevant texts in blue ... This type of visual underline will be of great help to identify the highlights of the main text and start developing the summary.
  4. If the text or notes you are summarizing are extensive, it is advisable to make a small outline that will serve as a roadmap to start writing the summary.
  5. When the time comes to write, try to synthesize the information as much as possible. Carefully read each point, each underlined word. When you have reviewed everything, start writing the summary in your own words. If you think you don't quite understand something, highlight it and look for parallel information to help you understand it. Add as many annotations as necessary to get the most relevant information on the topic in the summary. But remember that you must develop your synthesis capacity since a good summary cannot exceed 25-30% of the main text.
  6. Finally, review the summary. It is important that you make sure that important information is not missing and that the wording is correct. If you find errors, unintelligible parts or you notice that something has not been well explained, now is the time to complete or modify the information.

Parts that must have a summary

It is very important that a summary has a certain structure, and this will help you a lot when it is time to use it to study. A summary should be structured as follows:

  1. Header: Must be at the beginning of the summary. This section must contain enough data to know what the topic will be about at a glance. Here you have to write down the subject, the name of the topic, the date, bibliographic references, etc. In this way, when you have to use it, you can clearly identify what the study session will be about.
  2. Body: The body of the summary is the longest part. We could say that it is the summary itself. It must reflect the really important information.
  3. It is necessary that this part of the summary contains a synthesis of all the relevant information, although some of this information is obtained from alternative sources, provided that it is verified and that it helps you. Think that, once the summary is finished, this will be your only study document, that is why it is so important that it is very well done.
  4. Conclusion: In this last section you must describe, in no more than four or five lines, a synopsis of all the information included in the summary. We could say that this part is the summary of the summary.

Tips for making a good summary

So far we have seen what a summary is, what it can be used for and how you should do it, but we want you to become an expert when it comes to making summaries and for yours to be the most envied and desired of your class. So we are going to give you a few tips on how you should make a good summary. You will see how if you follow these simple tips, in a very short time you will be making summaries so good that they will make you a student of 10.

  1. Don't roll-up. Save the words and remember that a good summary cannot exceed 25-35% of the length of the main topic.
  2. Make your summary concise but consistent. Do not leave that by synthesizing the text in excess you cannot understand the content when you have to study. Remember that a summary is not an outline, telegraphic descriptions are not valid here.
  3. Write clearly and avoid acronyms, acronyms, or abbreviations. In case you have no choice but to put them, write them completely when you use them for the first time and put in parentheses "onwards ..."). Although when you finish writing it, don't believe it, as soon as a few days go by you will have no idea what those strange acronyms meant.
  4. Always use verbs in an active voice, as they help to make a much more understandable and accurate text.
  5. Pay close attention to your spelling. Use punctuation marks correctly, as well as verb tenses and pronouns. Be sure to write the content in short sentences and avoid words that are especially difficult for you.
  6. Finish your summary by making a brief synopsis of its content. Write down rare words with their meanings, acronyms, dates, or any keyword that you think deserves special consideration to better understand the topic.

Websites for online summaries

Are you in love with new technologies and are you not attracted to this by making a summary as it has been done for the last millennia? You don't have time and you urgently need to summarize a topic to do a quick review? Well in this case we have the perfect solution for you: you can use the web pages to make summaries online and automatically.

But we want to start by clarifying something. Although these websites can be a tool that will help you out at any given time, they are far from the correct way to make a good summary. As we have previously commented, a summary should be made to synthesize, clarify, and complete the information on a larger topic so that it will facilitate your understanding or study. If you use these platforms you are going to skip all the previous (and necessary) steps of preparing a summary, which will not make your assimilation much easier.

On the other hand, these tools usually have a problem since they do not usually discriminate relevant information from what is not really relevant. But if what you want is just to take a long text and make it smaller in order to have an overview of the topic you are dealing with, these websites to make summaries will be of great help to you.

SMMRY: This website is quite easy to use. It allows you to upload your own files in .pdf or .txt format or enter the URL of the text you want to summarize. You establish how many sentences you want it to have approximately and ready, in a minute you will have prepared the summary.

  • The Good: You set the length of the summary and it allows you to highlight words by color. Is free.
  • The bad: The interface is very unattractive and the resulting summary does not have the information synthesized correctly.


RESOOMER: This website seems quite complete for us. You enter the URL or the text you want to summarize and in a few seconds, you have the summary ready. You can also install it as an extension on your pc.

  • The Good: Attractive and simple interface. It provides you with different options for your result since you can choose between automatic, manual summary (in which you select the extension it should have), main ideas, and keywords. A simple tool with a good result.
  • The bad: Although it is more complete than SMMRY, the result of the summary is not as good as one made manually because it does not discriminate information well.


LINGUAKIT: A very complete platform that is developed by the USC and that goes beyond summarizing a text. It allows you to do things as different as translate a text, make grammatical and spelling corrections, or correctly conjugate verbs. It is a tool designed and created by and for teachers, and it shows.

  • The good: It is very complete and allows you to analyze the text in many ways. Also, the translator is quite acceptable and available in four languages. You do not have to download the app to use it, just register on the web. You can choose the final length of the summary, select keywords, and even analyze the sentiment expressed. Quite complete, no doubt.
  • The bad: It only allows you to do 5 consultations a day for free. If you need more, which is very common during exams, you have to subscribe to a payment plan.

Now you have all the information you will need to make a perfect summary to study. Just one more thing, when you write your summary remember that you must always meet certain premises: it must be clear, concise, direct, and consistent.

We hope that these tips help you improve your study techniques and obtain better results in the next exams. Now, the next thing you have to do is apply what you have learned and summarize the next topic you are going to study.

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