Summary Writing Topics: Tips and Tricks from Pros

Topics and ideas
Posted on April 9, 2022

Summary Writing Topics

It is impossible to meet a person who has never summarized anything. School children often write summaries about their favorite books. Teachers often ask to retell a scientific article to test the learner’s knowledge. Many students prefer to introduce a summary orally. It is less official. A mentor cannot mark grammar mistakes, formatting inconsistencies, and other errors that occur in writing papers. Nevertheless, students often have to introduce it in written form.

So as not to be afraid, one should read this guide to get summary ideas and learn how to write such assignments successfully avoiding getting custom essays from professional services.

Summary Ideas: What Students Usually Write About

How to choose a good topic for a summary? As a rule, students do not bother their heads with a search for ideas. Teachers give a ready topic because it is always a piece of text. For example, an educator gives an essay and tells learners to write a summary about it. What are the most popular summary writing topics? Topics can be different. It may be the Internet problems, war and peace, innovations, discoveries, writing techniques, environmental problems, etc.

What can a student summarize? The most common sources are:

  • an article in a scientific journal;
  • an essay sample;
  • a book;
  • the news;
  • an interview,
  • a movie, etc.

Is it enough to retell the text using one’s own words? No. A person should know the rules about how to create it to meet college requirements. Besides, there are two types of summaries:

  1. in-text (a person writes an essay and includes a summary of some resource in it)
  2. independent (the only task of a student is to introduce a summary of some text)

As a rule, the most difficult task for beginners is to avoid plagiarism. For example, it is hard to write a summary of a scientific article because of terms and notions that are hard to replace with one’s words.

Pro tip

“If a person writes a summary for the first time, he or she will need to scan the text via plagiarism checkers. If the paper is not unique, one should keep in mind two rules – paraphrase everything, except for the key notions, and mark a difficult part with in-text citations.”

What is the Difference Between Literature Review and a Summary?

Students sometimes confuse two academic assignments – reviews and summaries of literature. It is better not to start writing it without the required awareness.

Summary Review
A student should introduce a response to the read sources. His job is to read a text and highlight its most significant information and, of course, the core message and supporting ideas. One should be clear, accurate, and objective. Instead of citations, students can use keywords to manifest an understanding of lexical units and literature as a whole. This paper does not need a demonstration of a connection between a text and a reality. When students perform literature reviews, they provide an analytical paper. They explain the choice of every book, article, website, or periodical to introduce a general idea.
Their task is to demonstrate their value through deep analysis and with the help of citations, taken from the sources. So, learners give their critical viewpoints concerning the target material. Moreover, they can connect the ideas with their influence on personalities or the world.

There are two distinguishing details between these two academic assignments. The first one is that a review includes critique, while a summary does not. The second one is that a summary is brief while a review is longer.

To understand the main difference between a review and a summary, one should analyze good examples of each assignment. Below, one can find two vivid samples to compare.

How to Write a Summary in Five Steps

It has been said about summary topics and the main goal of this academic homework. Now, it is time to learn the steps of a perfect summary creation.

Step 1. Read the source

A person scans the text and then reads it carefully, paying attention to every detail. Afterward, a person skims the text again to make sure that nothing is missed.

Jacob Lee Top-10 Writer at

“When my clients need to write a book summary, I always advise them to start with an abstract. The author of the book has already done this task there. A person learns about the main idea of the book and the things they will read. Headings and subheadings also give additional information.”

Step 2. Structure the source if necessary

Not all sources have a structure. It is easier to write about most novels that have chapters. Otherwise, it is necessary to tick passages that discuss different ideas. As a rule, these are new paragraphs.

Step 3. One idea for one structural part

How does each section discuss the main argument of the source? Answer this question in your writing. There is no need to mention details unless they are essential.

Step 4. Start writing

The best method is to write a strong topic sentence about each structural part (paragraph, chapter, section, etc.). Due to that, a student will not be wordy. He will manifest perfect writing skills and the ability to be precise. Paraphrasing shows how a student applies synonyms and comprehends the information.

Step 5. Compare the source and your writing

First off, a student’s paper is much shorter than the source. Second, words must not be too similar. Third, all the essential information should be included in a summary. If everything is okay with these three tips, a student will finish with editing and proofreading.

Note! Read these sources to learn more about the task.


To write a summary means to demonstrate two important skills. Perfect papers show that a student understands what he reads about in a source. Then, it mirrors how a student uses the language to retell without plagiarism.

About authors
James Snyder A Top-10 writer at
James is one of the most prominent authors on our team with more than 7 years of experience. He specializes in writing essays and coursework. James loves to work from home with a cup of hot chocolate and his cat Archibald.
Kate Roth A Top-10 writer at
Kate likes to read long stories and write essays. She’s experienced in both academic writing and marketing activities, so she can tell everything about a writer’s job in a few simple words. You can use our website to request the help of our experts anytime.
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