Sep 10 2022

How to Write an Executive Summary for an Essay

Adela Belin photo Adela Belin Content strategist and writer
Writing Advice

An executive summary is a short, stand-alone summary of a long essay. It briefly describes the content and purpose of the essay as well as its main conclusions and recommendations.

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An executive summary for an essay often summarizes the main points of the essay in a condensed form that’s easy to digest. A good executive summary is typically no more than 10% of the original document and can be written before or after the main essay is completed.

Original: SourceAs a college student, writing executive summaries will be part of your coursework from time to time. Since it's often a challenge for many students, this article will help you learn the most effective way to write the best executive summary for an essay.

What’s the Purpose of an Executive Summary

The purpose of an executive summary is to give your audience a quick and easy way to understand the main points of your essay without having to read the entire essay.

It’s often written for an audience that is unfamiliar with the topic and is meant to provide a quick overview of the main points.

An executive summary simply gives the reader a condensed version of the essay. When written before the main essay, it can help to give the author the context for the rest of the essay and keep them focused when writing.

How Long Should an Executive Summary be

An executive summary should be no more than 10% of the length of the essay it is summarizing. This means that it should be concise, clear, and objective. The language you use should also be simple and easy to understand, even if your reader is not familiar with the subject matter.

You want to keep it as short as possible without leaving out the critical components.

Therefore, when writing your executive summary, it’s important to keep your target audience in mind— keep in mind who will be reading your executive summary and what their needs are.

Your goal is to give them all the information they need without overwhelming them or bogging them down with too much detail.

What Are the 5 Parts of An Executive Summary

When writing an executive summary for an essay, there are various components you should never leave out.

The five critical parts of an executive essay include:

1. The background information

The first part of your executive summary should provide some background information on the topic of your essay. This will help to orient your reader and provide context for the rest of the summary.

Be sure to include important details like:

  • What the essay is about;
  • Who is involved in the essay;
  • When the incident happens;
  • Where the incidence happens;
  • Why they happen.

2. A statement of purpose

The second part of your executive summary should state the purpose of your essay. You can do this in one or two sentences.

Be sure to make your statement of purpose clear and concise so that your reader knows what to expect from the rest of the summary.

3. An overview of the main points

The third part of your executive summary should give an overview of the main points in your essay.

If you’re writing the summary before the essay, this is where you will list the main arguments or ideas that you will be discussing in your essay. If your summary is coming after the essay is complete, you’ll simply state the points that have been discussed in the essay.

Be sure to include support for each point so that your reader knows what evidence to expect in the main essay.

4. Conclusion

The fourth part of your executive summary should provide a brief conclusion that ties together all of the main points from your essay.

The conclusion should briefly restate your thesis and leave your reader with a sense of closure about the topic.

5. Main recommendations

Finally, recommend the actions that could be taken from reading your essay. This section is optional but can be helpful if you want to propose specific changes or solutions based on the findings of the essay.

What to Do Before Writing an Executive Summary

Before writing your executive summary, start by reading the essay thoroughly to understand the concept. As you read, take note of the main points and arguments made in the essay.

Once you have a good understanding of the essay, then you can begin drafting the executive summary.

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How Do You Write an Executive Summary for An Essay

Writing an executive summary is simple. You only need to have the five major parts in mind and follow a simple procedure. Here’s a step-by-step guide to writing the best executive summary.

1. Write the introduction

When writing an essay, you always start with the introduction. Similarly, you’ll need to start with the introduction when writing your executive summary. Start by writing a short introduction that highlights the title of the essay, the author(s), and the background of the essay.

Include a clear and concise statement that summarizes the purpose of the essay. When writing the introduction, be sure to include your thesis statement or the main argument of the essay.

2. List the main points

After the introduction, list all the main points in the order they appear in the body of the essay. Summarize the main arguments made in the body of the essay. Remember your goal is only to provide a concise overview, so don't go into too much detail here.

3. Support the main points

After listing the main points, add one to two sentences to support each point explained in the essay. Be sure to include any supporting evidence or examples in brief.

4. Add a short conclusion

Once you’ve finished writing the main points, write a short statement that summarizes the essay’s conclusion. In other words, what is the author's overall argument or main point at the end of the essay? This forms the conclusion of your executive summary.

5. Proofread and edit

The final step in writing your executive summary is to proofread to check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.

As you proofread, identify the errors, then edit and revise the summary as needed to ensure that it is clear and concise. Remove fluffy words that don’t add meaning to the essay and re-read to ensure every sentence makes sense.

You can also make your work easier by using editing software like Grammarly to help you identify and fix grammatical errors in your summary.

6 tips for writing an executive summary

As you can see, writing an executive summary is not rocket science. Once you follow the steps outlined above, you’re on the right track.

Here are more tips to keep in mind that will help you write the best executive summary for an essay:

1. Keep it clear and concise: Skip the jargon and use simple language that’s easy to understand.

2. Keep it short: An executive summary should be no more than one page long. When it gets longer than that, it ceases to be a summary.

3. Avoid fluff: Include only the most important information in your summary. The executive summary should only include a brief overview of the main points. It’s not necessary to include every single detail in the summary.

4. Edit carefully: Make sure there are no grammar or spelling errors in the executive summary before submitting it, as these may make you lose points.

5. Check for clarity: Read the summary out loud or in your head to make sure it’s easy to understand and that every statement makes sense. Delete any sentence that sounds weird or doesn’t make any sense.

6. Make it easy to read: Your assay summary should be simple for anyone to read regardless of their academic level. Therefore, be sure to use short sentences and clear language to make your summary easy to read.

Key takeaways

An executive summary is a great way to provide your target audience with a quick overview of your essay without them having to read the entire thing.

As a student, writing an executive summary for an essay can also be very helpful when writing your essays. It gives you context for the rest of the essay and prevents you from hitting writer’s block when you start writing. Always strive to keep your executive essay summary brief, use clear and concise language, and edit carefully after writing.

These tips will help you write the best executive summary for an essay that accurately reflects the contents of the main essay but if you’re still stuck, you can reach out to Writers Per Hour.

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last edit at Sep 20 2022