Summary writing is one of the most dreaded components of Paper 2. But it doesn’t always have to be that way! Use this 3-Step Strategy to guide you along.


Step 1: Identify the points

Before you start, mark out the paragraphs that you need to summarise (e.g. draw a line above and below these paragraphs).

  • Identify at least eight key points to summarise. Use dotted lines if you are unsure of your points and edits as you re-read and count the number of points you have chosen.
  • Every paragraph should contain at least one point.
  • Number your points
  • Underline only the key words, instead of underlining the whole sentence.


Step 2: Paraphrase the points

Understand each main point before rephrasing it. Be clear and concise!

  • Think of synonyms.
  • Eliminate phrasal verbs where possible (e.g. instead of “carry on”, use “continue”).
  • Eliminate “empty words”: redundant words without which the sentence is still grammatical (e.g. I think that the lecture was boring).
  • Change the sentence structure if necessary.


Step 3: Organise the points

Reorder the points in a logical way (e.g. compare-contrast / cause-effect / problem-solution).

  • Use connectors and transition words to signal the relationship between ideas. For example:
    • Compare-contrast: unlike, while, similarly, likewise
    • Cause-effect: since, as, thus, consequently
    • Additional related point: moreover, furthermore, additionally
  • Link related ideas together to further reduce the word count.