Steps for Summarizing Text Complete With Samples

While writing is important, so is learning how to summarize a piece of text. It is often required in different writing assignments and tests.

A good summary should be concise, understandable, and give enough information to understand the rest of the piece. If you have trouble summarizing text, we’ve got key tips and samples to help you summarize written text samples.

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Four Steps for Summarizing Text

Thoroughly Read the Text.

In order to write a proper summary, it’s essential to read the article at least three times so you can thoroughly understand it. To effectively read a text, follow these three steps:

  • Scan the article to get a sense of its content and overall shape.
  • Read the article and take notes on all the points you have learned.
  • Reread any significant and difficult passages until you’ve understood what you’re reading.

Break the Text Down Into Sections

When reading lengthy texts, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. It’s best to break them down into smaller sections to make them more manageable. This will help you digest sentences, understand the text, or discover particular words or ideas you want to learn more about.

You can also use different headings or subheadings within the text to further divide the sections. If you’re working on a scientific paper that follows a standard empirical structure, it is probably already organized into clearly marked sections.

Identify the Key Points in Each Section.

Now it’s time to find the most critical points in each section. What basic facts will your reader need to understand the article’s overall argument or conclusion?

It is important to remember that paraphrasing every paragraph in an article is not necessary. The goal is to extract the essential points, leaving out anything considered supplemental information.

Write the Summary

By now, you should grasp the essential points the article aims to convey. And you should be able to put them in your own words.

It is essential to paraphrase the author’s ideas properly to avoid plagiarism and show you understood the article. Avoid copying and pasting sentences directly from the original text.

Summarize Written Text Samples

Sample 1

A nurse shark is a nocturnal animal that spends its day in large groups of up to 40 individuals. Nurse sharks prefer specific resting locations and retreat to them every day after they have gone deep into the reef. At night, these sharks are primarily solitary. The nurse sharks spend most of their time foraging through the bottom sediments in search of food. Their diet consists mainly of crustaceans, mollusks, tunicates, and other fish, such as spiny lobsters, crabs, and shrimps.


Nurse sharks are nocturnal animals that spend their day in large groups of up to 40 individuals and prefer specific resting locations. They spend most of their time foraging through the bottom sediments in search of food.

Sample 2

Social media poses many risks to adolescents and teens despite its positive aspects. Teenagers have limited self-regulation capabilities and are more vulnerable to peer pressure and experimentation during their teens’ years of growth and development. This phenomenon is harmful for many reasons: Internet addiction, sleep problems, pornography, sexting, and cyberbullying. Some experts say cyberbullying, and sexting victims are at increased risk of sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. The impact of social media on health during adolescence may be considered in the differential diagnosis.

A multidisciplinary approach could address these issues by including the obstetrician-gynecologist, guardians, and school officials. A school’s and community’s knowledge of resources allows the obstetrician-gynecologist to assist adolescents facing these issues.


Social media is a popular means of engaging teenagers and young adults, but they also pose risks. These risks include Internet addiction, sleep problems, pornography, sexting, and cyberbullying. A multidisciplinary approach may address these issues with the help of obstetricians, gynecologists, guardians, and school officials.

Key Tips for Summarizing Text

When summarizing, you need to gather the key points of a text and distill them into one sentence that conveys your text’s main points. In writing tests like the Pearson Language Tests (PTE), a word limit of 5 to 75 words for summaries is usually imposed.

You should write ideally between 30 and 40 words. Try not to put a pause that sounds like a complete stop in your sentences. Avoid overly long sentences because the PTE scoring algorithms can’t properly handle them.

Here are some other key tips that can help you out:

  • Summarize the whole paragraphs first, then write a single sentence.
  • Concentrate on the last sentences of the paragraph. This will better help you get an idea of the topics.
  • If you’re writing in the third person, don’t use any examples or reasons.
  • Good grammar and vocabulary will help you score much higher, so make sure to proofread your work.

How Long Should a Summary Be?

The summary of a text should always be much shorter than the original text. A summary can be either just a few sentences or several paragraphs. It will depend on how long the original text is and the purpose of the summary.

Final Words

Your summary should be clear, concise, and effective in communicating the key information in your text. Remember to take good notes, write thoughtfully, and check your writing for errors. Try to summarize written text samples and apply these tips to help you practice.

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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