In simple words, a precis can be best explained as a concise summary of a speech, books, article or any other text that needs to be evaluated. Derived from a French word, the term precis means ‘cut brief’, precise or brief and makes a short work of a publication. No matter which type of text it is, if you are given to write a precis, it means that you need to come up with its synopsis that provides key details regarding the text and its issues.

What precis is all about?

If you have been assigned a precis writing task by the teacher, it is essential that you take some time out of your busy schedule and make efforts to know what writing a precis is all about. You need to understand that it is not paraphrasing as you are not required to mention all the issues that have been discussed in the text. The precis should explain the main ideas and these ideas must be written in a certain structure. 

The main reason precis writing becomes difficult for students is that they lack experience and are not familiar with most key writing instruments and tools that make this task tough for them. When working on the precis, it becomes important for you to follow the guidelines that have been provided with the assignment and also avoid the mistakes that can cost you good grades. You must cover only the key features and the points of the source text. However, they key is to keep it brief, precise and stick to the main points so that it can be done most efficiently. 

Characteristics of a precis 

When you are given to write a precis, you should work out what it is all about and must make effort to know its basic characteristic. They are:

The text should be clear as well as precise

It should not contain sentences that have been lifted as it from the original text; the students must use their own words for writing the precis

It must be concise and convey information or primary information rather than secondary information that does not deliver the meaning of the text

The key points should be listed in the entirety, covering the material in the most comprehensive manner 

It should be a summary of the text and not paraphrasing; these are two different things and the precis must be written keeping this in mind

The precis must be written in a logical order and make sense to the readers with well-connected ideas that have been derived from the main text

It should not contain irrelevant details that only take up space but fail to provide any meaningful information to the readers 

It should have a proper title

It should be free of all irreverent or extra details or flowery words that only end up wasting number of words

It must only use the information that is given in the text; no information from any other source should be included in the precis

It should be about one-fourth of the original text’s length if nothing has been specified regarding tis length 

When teachers assign precis writing task to students, they must go through the guidelines so that they can work accordingly and look forward to an ‘A’ grade in class for their efforts. 

How to start the precis writing process

Before starting to write the precis, it is essential that you take a good look at the steps for writing one so that you understand how it should be done the right way. It might not be as easy as you take it to be as there are certain important points to keep in mind for a good precis that earns you good grades.

Here are some key tips that will help to get started with the precis writing process:

Go through the main text carefully and mark or highlight the key points or main ideas

Try to think about what the author is trying to say and read between the lines too

Look closely at the evidences that have been discussed in the text

Read the text carefully and try to write its main points in your words, in a precise and brief manner only sticking to the key areas

Make sure to summarize the text and use limited words so as to provide the accurate information without using too many words or exceeding the word count

Stick to a logical structure as you don’t want the precis to be an incoherent jumble of words

It is essential to understand and follow the above mentioned tips for writing a precis that gets you highest marks in class.