How to summarize a book

When exams approach for entrance exams, competitions or even at school and undergraduate courses, it is necessary to know how to prepare good book summaries. Often, abstracts are confused with critical reviews, and students, in general, always ask themselves what this summary is and how it differs from a review.

A summary is a textual genre of the expository type, it is the one that will synthesize the main ideas of the story narrated in a book, analyzing and simplifying what is described, so that the content will be learned and memorized. Usually, the texts to be summarized are those that have a story involving characters developing facts with that of their description, time and space, that is, the narrative type.

A review belongs to the same textual type, however, it is a type of summary in which the author must present his interpretation of it, so it is necessary to add the point of view about the story, unlike the summary, which should not be added judgments values, that is, constructions such as: “I think”, “in my opinion”, among others, are not allowed.

Book summaries are great allies to demonstrate that the book’s content has been understood and interpreted, and they are often charged as assessments in both mainstream and higher education. In entrance exams and competitions, you can be charged in your tests, in addition to the summary is useful to summarize the main ideas for fixing the content, helping in the study of those books that will fall in the literature tests.

Note the main characteristics of this genre:

1) Read and reread the book you are going to summarize
First of all, it is necessary to read and reread the book, as it is a larger amount of text than small texts of interpretation, it is good to have enough attention and, if necessary, divide the reading by separating certain reading times with duration already stipulated.


2) Organize the ideas
Make notes about the main ideas and design or write down the key words, trying to create a kind of mental map about the facts.

3) Start writing the summary
After reading, rereading and making notes about the book, the ideal is to start writing a text presenting the main ideas, describing the main characters, the space and time of the events, always following the chronological order of the facts. You can start by presenting the ideas of each section, then decrease your text, removing what is beyond the main until you reach the final version.

4) Do not make copies
It is important to write your summary in your own words from a careful and careful reading of the book to be summarized.

5) Pay attention to the structure and writing of the abstract:
Make sure your text is clear and objective; if you are not letting go of spelling and grammatical errors and if you are following the required standards. Many teachers ask for a number of pages or characters to be followed, but, in general, the ideal is not to write much, since the idea of ​​a summary is a summary, so that only the main text should be explained.

Important: Do not confuse the need to write with your own words with the issue of opinions!

Therefore, it is ideal to follow a structure respecting the beginning, middle and end of your text, presenting at the beginning the main idea, the characters, the time and space, then the development of the story showing the problem to be solved and the climax built by author; and finally, the resolution of the problem presented.


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

Leave a Comment