By Erica Wilson

While you may have done it in High School, summary writing changes slightly when moving into Tafe and University level studies. But don't stress, I am here to share some of the tips I have learnt in my first semester at Melbourne Polytechnic to help you write an awesome summary.             

Summaries can be written on just about anything, written pieces or not. For the tips I am giving you will be based around summarizing an article. But don't stress, these 5 simple tips can be changed to fit whatever you are writing your summary on.

Tip 1 is to make sure you read the article carefully. The person marking your summary will know almost instantly if you haven't read the article. It is also helpful that while you are reading the article, to underline any important things you read such as the main point, repeated phrases and topic sentences. This will help when you come to write your piece.

Tip 2 is to avoid taking large chunks of the original article and putting it in to your work. While it is okay to use some of the same words, you don't want to use the authors words as this is considered plagiarism and you can loose significant marks for doing this. The person marking your work wants to see how you interpret the original article and see it in your own words.

Tip 3 is making sure you read your summary over multiple times to make sure your writing is clear and succinct. If your summary is written well and the marker can understand it, your marks will increase. 

Tip 4 is to ask someone else to read your summary after you have finished it. Don't show them the original article, just let them read yours and see if they have a understanding of what you are writing about. If not, you might have to go back and rewrite certain parts.

Tip 5 is to make sure you have structured your summary properly. At University they have a certain way you need to present and how to set out your word count.  First you need the full reference for the article at the top of the page. Your lecturer usually gives you the full reference when starting the assignment, but if not you will have a class on how to reference before the assignment is due. You also need to structure your essay with and Introduction, Body Paragraphs and a Conclusion.  Your Introduction should be 10% of your word count as should be consise. Body Paragraphs should take up around 80% of the word count and should be set that one idea in your summary takes up one paragraph. Another thing to note is that your paragraphs should follow the layout and concentration on main points as the original text does. Finally your conclusion should be small and use up the remaning words you have left. You dont need a conclusion but it does help tie up any loose ends in your summary.

And there you go, in just 5 simple steps you are a summary writing genius!