Complete one academic summary of seven to ten sentences. Please note this length is strict--no more or less!
1. Read the text through once.
2. Read through the text again, this time highlighting key ideas and making notes in the margin.
3. Break literature into equal sections. For this summary, you will condense a longer work into a paragraph-length summary of seven (minimum) to nine sentences (maximum). For example, Descartes’ “Discourse Four” is exactly seven paragraphs long. Thus, a seven-sentence summary would work well, if one condenses each paragraph into one sentence. Machiavelli’s “The Qualities of a Prince” is exactly 28 paragraphs long. Divided by four, 28 equals seven. In that case every four paragraphs would yield one sentence. You can also use eight or nine as your divisor, depending on the page or paragraph length of the four possible choices: Plato, Machiavelli, and Thomas Jefferson. Only summarize the actual text (not the questions beforehand or afterward or the introductory/contextual information beforehand).
4. Take out key phrases for each section and transcribe to paper, maintaining your sections. They will probably not make sense yet in terms of complete sentences. Avoid unnecessary detail. Aim for major points only.
5. Convert each group of words into your own words—original diction!
6. Write each group of words as a complete sentence, inserting verbs, transitions and conjunctions to make complete thoughts that are clear.
7. Combine all sentences to make a single paragraph of seven to nine sentences.
8. Proofread for clarity, grammar and punctuation errors, and a clear sense of beginning, middle, and end (which reflects faithfully the progression of the author’s original work).
Guidelines: Academic summaries:
1. do not comment on what is being read (that’s for part two!); instead condense, translate into fresh language, and relate. They are intended to show to your reader that (you) the summary’s writer is a faithful filter of the original text, presenting a brief, straightforward and clear synopsis to save the reader time.
2. possess NO DIRECT QUOTATIONS (except names of people and places, which do not require quotation marks).
3. maintain the original sense of beginning, middle, and end of each text on which the summary is based. Do not change the order of the original work.