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How to Write the Perfect Summary

At Skim AI, we’re experts at getting to the point. We know the summarization process is tough so we’ve put together a guide to help you generate the perfect summary no matter your purpose for doing so.

Before you start, determine why you need to create a good summary.  No matter the situation, there are four main reasons why content needs to be summarized:

  • To support an argument
  • To argue against an author’s ideas
  • To gain a deep understanding of the content
  • To condense vast amounts of information

Once you understand why you are summarizing an article, the rest begins to fall into place. So let’s jump into it.


1. Skim your article to get a grasp on the main point or argument the author is making.

 

You should also be making mental notes of what to look out for in a deeper read.


2. Re-read your article and take note of key facts and opinions stated by the author.

 

Take some time to do a “deep read” of the article. This is a thorough read through where you will be paying close attention to the information and pick out some of the main ideas for your summary. Taking notes and highlighting information during this step will be helpful later on.


3. Create an outline with the main points and key supporting factors from your notes.

 

The outline is where you organize the order and flow of the notes you have taken for your summary. You can use this to get an idea of how it will read before you start on your rough draft.


4. Build out the outline to form a rough draft. 

 

Take the organized ideas from your outline and begin writing them out, adding a bit more detail to turn your outline into a cohesive summary for the article. You can pay a bit less attention to grammar, wording, and any fine details in this step and just focus on getting the ideas written out.


5. Edit and revise your summary for the final draft.

 

Finally, take at least one deep read through your summary. This time, you will be looking for smaller details such as the flow, grammar, punctuation, spelling, wording, and any other fine details that will polish up your summary.


That really is all there is to it. 


Following these steps will help you produce a cleaner, more cohesive summary that can potentially make all the difference in leaving an impression on your audience. Aside from the structure of your summary, the content you include can also make a large impact on your audience.


For more useful tips on what you may want to include in your summary, check out our post on What to Include in a Summary.

Automatically generate summaries on news articles, research papers, PDFs and more with Skim AI’s summarization tool.