Summary Tool for Students

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Summarizing Tool: What Is It for?

Summarizing is restating the main idea of a piece of writing by using your own words. A summary is a shorter version of the original text. It doesn’t include your reflection or analysis. You can’t copy the original text either.

Summarizing is an essential skill for college students. Students of all majors are assigned to write a summary at some point of their studies. Moreover, many students summarize the information while self-studying.

You might need to use a summary tool for:

  1. Revising for an exam or a test

Exam revision demands going through a massive amount of information. So, an excellent method to revise effectively is to summarize your study material.

  1. Reviewing literature

If you’re writing a research paper or any other kind of academic paper, it might be necessary to summarize the literature references you use in your work. Remember about the quotation.

  1. Independent academic assignment

Some majors or subjects assign summarizing as an independent assignment. Your teacher might ask you to summarize an article or a novel chapter.

  1. Reviewing others’ works to use in your research or essay

Depending on your research, it might be necessary to summarize a whole article or a chapter to prove your point.

Difference between Paraphrasing & Summarizing

Another similar technique is paraphrasing. It is essential to tell the difference between paraphrasing and summarizing. Although these two terms are similar, there are some differences.

Paraphrasing implies that you restate the information from the source using your own words. If you paraphrase, you don’t just state the main point but the whole author’s idea. Your final text can be a little shorter than the original one.

While summarizing, you restate the information too. However, you should only cover the main points. So, the summarized material is much shorter than the original one.

Top 10 Summarizing Strategies

You might be wondering how to summarize an article, literature paragraph, or any other text. So, here are the ten best types of summarizing strategies you can use in your academic and professional work. Take a look at the list and choose something that you can benefit from.


You can use the Somebody Wanted But So Then method for summarizing stories.

Somebody – the main character of the story.

Wanted – what the main character planned to do.

But – what stopped them from doing it.

So – the solution that the main character came up with.

Then – the conclusion of the story.

First, Then, Finally

The First, Then, Finally strategy is helpful when you need to summarize the story in chronological order.

First – describe the main event that happened first and the main character.

Then – rewrite the climax of the story in your own words.

Finally – conclude the story.

State, Assign, Action, Complete

The SAAC strategy works well for any kind of writings.

State – mention the name of the piece of writing.

Assign – mention the author’s name.

Action – the author’s action. Write down if the author is explaining or telling something.

Complete – conclude the essay with the details.

Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How

Another summarizing strategy is The 5 Ws and 1 H strategy.

Who – describe the main character of the story.

What – describe what happened to them.

When – describe when it happened.

Where – describe where it happened.

Why – describe the reason the main character did something.

How – describe how they did it.

Dear Student Letter

Dear Student Letter method is helpful for in-class summarizing.

Imagine that you are writing a letter to a fellow student who missed a class. Tell them what the lesson's topic was, and write down the details that the teacher mentioned. You can vary the letter depending on your topic.


The 3-2-1 method is another strategy you can use for summarizing the material in class.

Three stands for the three main points of the material.

Two is for the two things you disagree with.

One is for the one question related to the main point.

Sample Test Questions

Sample Test Questions method is another summarizing strategy you can use in class.

Think of the possible test questions for the class material. Write down general questions (not yes/no ones) and the answers for them. Try making as many as you can.

Squares, Triangles, Circles

The Squares, Triangles, Circles technique is similar to the 3-2-1 method.

Think of four points that you agree with. Then, three issues that are confusing to you. Finally, one question you want to ask about the topic.

Text Transformation

The text Transformation method works for any text. All you need to do is transform the material into a text of another genre.

You can summarize your science lecture into a newspaper article or your literature material into an advertisement. You can use any variations that work for you.

What would X do?

The What Would X Do is a method where you need to look at your material from a different point of view.

Think of a person (a scientist, famous person, or character) and a situation related to your topic. What would this person do in this situation?

You can try out different summarizing strategies to find what works best for you. Remember that you can always use our summarizing tool if you are struggling with your summary. The tool can be used for free, so make sure to check it out.

Summary Tool: FAQ

The first step in summarizing a plot is reading it carefully. You need to understand it well to write a summary. Who is the main character? What are the main events in the story?

Summarizing and paraphrasing have some differences. Summarizing implies restating the text's main points, making the final result shorter than the original writing. Paraphrasing is restating not only the main points but the whole idea of the original text.

You might need summarizing for several reasons.

  • While revising for a test
  • While reviewing literature
  • As an independent assignment
  • While reviewing others’ works for your paper.

You can also use summarizing tool for these purposes.

Summarizing is crucial because it can help you a lot with your studies. It teaches you to identify the main points of the information and use them to understand the material better.