Summative essays are among the most common ones academic tutors and lecturers use to assess their students' analytical and learning abilities. This type of essay is normally used to examine the students’ comprehension and knowledge of certain concepts or course material. And just like other essays, summative essays have three main sections: the introduction, body, and conclusion.
Summative assessments synthesize students’ understanding and learning of specific academic content and are often administered at the end of an academic year or term. These assessments usually establish the overall comprehension and proficiency of the evaluated topic.
This, however, leaves a lot of students uncertain of where to begin and what to do. But do not fuss! You do not need to panic; this comprehensive guide will break down everything you need about summative essays. That said, keep on scrolling to find out more.
Summative essays require students to assess and synthesize the information learned and knowledge gained over a semester or a particular unit.
A summative essay is often written at the conclusion of a semester or unit, permitting learners to display the knowledge gained over that duration.
To write an excellent summative essay, you should be able to identify the most important points from your coursework and arrange them into a rational argument.
Note that summative essays often assume the form of argumentative essays, whereby you should take a position on the issue being discussed and then support these claims using relevant proof.
Nonetheless, summative essays can also assume other forms like explanatory essays, personal narratives, and compare-and-contrast essays. No matter what form they assume, summative essays offer great opportunities for students to ponder on their learning and display their comprehension of the course material.
Remember that the length and complexity of a summative essay depend on the student’s academic level. The students must have a great understanding of the style and aim of the assessment to come up with an effective summative essay.
There are different types of summative essays. Below are the main types of summative essays.
This is the most common type in social science programs. It primarily collects key ideas, main arguments, and domain-specific hypothetical ideas taught within the unit plan.
Opinion essays require students to state their thinking and then support it with logic and facts.
The evaluative kind of summative writing usually requires you to take a specific idea or element discussed during the unit and evaluate or assess it using a particular criterion. For such essays, you should take a stance on the chosen theme and back it with unit materials and textual evidence.
This kind of writing requires establishing and developing a claim made in the introduction of the essay, and reputable resources should support this claim in the essay’s main body. Conversely, the opposing claim illustrates the opposing point of view with relevant supporting proof.
Theorizing is a type of writing that answers questions like “what if? “Here, a theory is presented on a certain theme that depicts or contrasts with reality.
Compare and contrast summative essays comprise qualities and attributes the student could compare and contrast using text and research evidence. They do not require the student to prioritize one choice over another, and it, however, does require you to display an understanding of both and then make a comparison.
A summative essay takes shape and structure of the typical academic essay with an introduction, body paragraphs, and concluding paragraphs.
The introduction is among the most critical parts of the paper, given that it offers a brief overview of its topic and main argument. It should immediately grab the reader's attention and give them a general feel of the remainder of the paper. And if you struggle to develop a good introduction for your essay, try using an anecdote or hook to engage the reader from the word go. The thesis statement, where necessary, is also included here.
For this section, it is vital to concentrate on key points and provide proof to support your thesis. Every paragraph should focus on an individual point. In addition, each paragraph should conclude in a sentence that links it back to the thesis.
By concentrating on different key arguments and providing relevant proof to support your thesis, you can effectively convey your position to the reader. Also, concluding all your body paragraphs with a sentence that links back to your thesis will remind your reader of your essay’s overall argument.
Related Reading: Parts of a body paragraph.
The conclusion of a summative essay briefly summarizes the main points and clarifies how they support the overall argument. Additionally, the conclusion should offer the reader a sense of closure by answering any pending queries or concerns that might have surfaced in the essay.
A brief and precise summary of your essay’s main points ensures your reader completely comprehends your standpoint. In addition, tackling lingering concerns or questions gives your essay a sense of conclusiveness. All in all, the aim of your essay conclusion should be to provide your readers with a proper understanding of your argument.
Here is a simple step-by-step guide on how to write an excellent summative essay.
Though this appears to be the most straightforward process, many people often disregard it. Many writers look at different topics and then pick one because it seems to be the simplest or has found enough content.
Having some level of understanding for your lecturer’s or tutor’s opinion is vital here. What do they expect and want from you? This is an important step in producing relevant content for your summative essay. If you are somewhat confused about the topic, you can discuss it with your professor or colleagues.
Now that you clearly understand your summative essay’s topic, you can go through your lecture notes or any available academic sources. Skim over the most important points. You can even refresh your brain with your course syllabus or study material.
And if you are lucky enough to have attended a workshop, seminar, or training course on the chosen topic, you’ll have ample knowledge to put down.
While going through relevant material, you can divide the literature into small paragraphs, giving you a quick overview of the literature. Most importantly, when skimming through the material, have the essay topic at the back of your head to note any valuable and relevant information.
Take note of any critical points that you feel may support your essay. Make sure you re-read all paragraphs and highlight all vital points. Mark those areas that you will want to refer to in your essay and those points you do not wish to include.
A thesis statement is simply a brief statement that recaps your essay’s main argument. Your thesis statement should be brief and precise. It should also be specific enough that it is easily supportable by evidence from your research.
Your essay’s introduction should quickly introduce the reader to your essay’s main points. Also, remember to keep the intro short, not more than seven sentences. The thesis statement should be the final remark of your introduction.
The best sentence starters for summative essays include present tense verbs that adopt an active voice. For instance, “the aim of this essay is to” or “this paper will argue that.” You develop an engaging and livelier writing style by opening your sentences using an active voice and in the present tense.
Moreover, good sentence openers for summative essays can also incorporate strong statements or rhetorical questions. For example, you can start your summative essay with a question like “What’s the real value of friendship?” or a sentence like “It is the little things in life that matter.” Opening your essay with such attention-capturing sentences ensures that the reader is hooked from the start.
Each body paragraph should highlight one main point that should be stated clearly in the first sentence. Use the rest of the paragraph to support the main point with proof from your previous research. Ensure all sources are referenced using the appropriate format (APA, MLA, Harvard).
End each body paragraph with a statement summarizing the main point and supporting your arguments.
Your conclusion should briefly summarize the main points of your essay and have a strong conclusion sentence that leaves the reader with something to think about after reading your paper. Once again, this should not be too long; five to six sentences are enough.
Below is what a five-paragraph summative essay outline looks like, together with the critical elements that it features:
Paragraph one: Introduction
Paragraph two: Body paragraph one
Paragraph three: Body paragraph two
Paragraph four: Body paragraph three
Paragraph five: Conclusion
Below is an example of an explanatory summative essay outline that discusses how modern technological improvements have transformed human behavior and facilitated progress.
Paragraph one: Introduction
Paragraph two: Situation before technological improvements
Paragraph three: Development and spread of technology
Paragraph four: Impact of technology on reformation
Paragraph five: Conclusion
A compare and contrast summative essay comparing the economic system of Canada and that of the USA.
Both Canada and the USA are capitalist countries with a capitalist economic system. While these two North American countries use the same economic system, there are several differences in their approach to capitalism. Canada’s capitalist economic system is highly regulated compared to the American one. There is more state intervention in Canada to ensure the citizenry has access to crucial services like education and healthcare. In contrast, the USA’s capitalist economic system is more laissez-faire, and the government plays a relatively smaller role in the market.
Both capitalist economic systems have their advantages and disadvantages. Canada's highly regulated economic system ensures that most citizens get high-quality and affordable education and healthcare services from the public. However, the system also tends to lead to greater government bureaucracy. On the other hand, the laissez-faire approach employed by the USA ensures more innovation and private sector investments. Nevertheless, it also leads to increased inequality as it puts more money in the pockets of the rich.
While both economic systems have advantages and disadvantages, Canada's highly-regulated approach to capitalism is better than the American system. This is because it ensures the public enjoys high-quality and affordable essential services.
Summative essays are short. While they are short, an introduction is still necessary. And the introduction better contains everything you would expect in a typical introduction for it to be considered complete. A typical essay introduction starts with an attention-grabbing statement, followed by background information, and then a thesis statement. Ensure your summative essay introduction has all these things if you want it to be considered complete.
A summative essay ends with a conclusion. The perfect way to write a conclusion for a summative essay is to start with a restatement of the thesis and then provide a summary of the main points. If the essay is too short (less than 250 words), nobody will expect you to dwell on restating the thesis or summarizing the main points. A short concluding sentence will suffice. Nevertheless, you must restate the thesis and the main points for a proper conclusion. You also need to finish a powerful concluding statement that captures what you hope the impact of your research will be.
Follow the tips below to become an expert summative essay writer.
Summative essays are fun to write, and you have everything you need to know to write a brilliant summative essay. The ball is in your court. If you have an assignment, it is now time to put what you have learned into practice.
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