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It might seem that college life is full of entertainment and fun with a few tasks from time to time. Nevertheless, the reality is that every student has to complete a number of various assignments for the shortest time.

There are two categories of students: some of them spend their lifetime book worming while the other ones want to enjoy their young years. Missing deadlines is the most unwelcome thing that might happen to every student. They might receive the lowest grades if they fail to meet the deadlines.

When it comes to composing an academic paper, precis is one of the most complicated types of tasks. As long as a tiny minority of students knows how to write it, we added the most relevant data on how to do it in this article for your convenience. Here you will find all the basics of writing a solid precis.

Read on to pick up the most useful tips when writing a precis!

What is a definition of precis?

In general, a precis is a brief summary of an article, book, speech or any other text. The word "precis" comes from French and means "precise". No matter whether it is a dissertation, article or any other text, still, it is a short publication synopsis. You can call something "a precis" when it is a sum of the main ideas of the literary work.

Note that a precis is different from paraphrasing since you should not mention all the problems of the text. Following a certain structure and explaining the main idea of the text is a must when writing a precis. Therefore, composing a precis might be complicated to students that are not familiar with the most necessary writing instruments and lack experience.

You will avoid the most typical mistakes and format the precis properly if you know it. For this assignment, you should not examine all the content and ideas of the text because it is not a critical analysis. There is, also, no need to write your personal ideas about the matter.

You should cover only key points and features of the source text. Make it stick to the most important point, precise, and brief. This is the most appropriate way to keep in mind and define precis to have no worries about the task!

What are the characteristics of a good precis?

Make sure you understand all the precis basic characteristics when you were given a task to write it.

They are:

  • It is a discussed abstract critical outline that is free from new paragraphs and details.
  • There is no need to make it a paraphrasing or interpretation of the source text.
  • Never utilize the words from the original and insert the quotes from the text.
  • Stick to your source text since it is a summary of your original piece.
  • Don't evaluate the text in your precis.
  • Make sure it takes ¼ of the original text size.
  • Follow the accepted precis format rules: the author's thesis utilized methods, outcomes, and conclusions.

The main point of writing a precis is to teach the students to distinguish the main parts, critically think, and summarize. If you master all these types of assignments, you will get new effective tools for writing any type of task and your academic score will be improved too.

Precis is not a:
  • Ordinary plan of an original text that lacks its understanding.
  • Short abstract with no background details.
  • List of the most engaging quotes and phrases with no analysis.
  • Enumeration of the facts that are irrelevant.
Precis qualities

When writing a precis, you may show your professor how easy you are able to present your ideas to the reader and how well your writing skills are. Ensure your writing matches the following criteria to achieve this target:

  • Accuracy. Your text must not contain any punctuation, spelling, and grammar mistakes and be correct. Additionally, all the given figures, facts, and dates must be reliable and correct.
  • Clearness. Ensure your target reader understands the things you try to say. It might be achieved with common phrases and words, general requirements and accepted structure.
  • Keep being objective. Stick to initial data and facts instead of giving your personal point of view about the certain source text.
  • Remain logical. Build the logical connections with the original text and ideas mentioned there. If you do not do it, your reader might lose interest in the piece of writing.
  • Conciseness. Do not add unimportant data to your task. Remain brief when you include the main facts. Avoid wordy language, repetitions, and wordiness.

How to generate a precis? Step-by-step guide.

Short and easy are not the same things. when you have to write a summary, it does not mean you will do it fast. therefore, start the process of writing a precis with critical thinking and thorough research:

  1. Read the source text attentively. Understand what is it all about. define the things the author wanted to highlight. Create bullet points list to have them always in front of you.
  2. Emphasize its main points, arguments, and features. It will be easy for you to focus on work and follow the appropriate precis format.
  3. Create a list of utilized pieces of evidence. Thanks to them, you will understand the author's motives and main ideas. You will not create an astonishing precis if you do not walk in the shoes of the author.
  4. Research any data you think is unfamiliar. It includes statements, data, definitions, terms, etc. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the things you want to write about. Research the subject if you have any doubts.
  5. Identify CTA (call to action). This might be the main reason why the author created the text. In most cases, the motives are placed at the end of the text or the paragraph, motivating the reader to read on, act in a certain way or support the author. There is a CTA in each solid precis.
  6. Evaluate the way the author presented the key points of the work. Your readers will get a better understanding of the meaning of the text.
  7. Generate a thesis statement. It must consist of 1 or 2 sentences, indicating general ideas. Note that your thesis is the most important part of your piece of writing so make sure it is solid. Write this part only when your precis is ready and do not be in a hurry.
  8. Write a precise summary of every section of the article. It must explain key features and ideas, giving the readers of understanding of the main sense of the work.
  9. Provide the explanation of the text, utilize your own words. Keep your style unique and do not be too general. It is necessary to provide a side look at common ideas and facts and present your personality.
  10. Rereading the original text, compare it to the summary. The precis should contain all key points and features of the source and interlink.
  11. As soon as you are ready with these parts, compose the final precis sample. Begin with the paraphrasing of the thesis. Reread it in order to check if you rendered the logical connections, pieces of evidence, and key points.

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What are the elements of a precis structure?

There must be certain structural elements of every piece of writing. Precis is not an exception to this rule. You will need to follow several guidelines to write it correctly.

Basically, there are 3 main elements of every structure of precis:

  • Intro (basic data about the source text);
  • Main body (rendering main goals and ideas);
  • Conclusion (summary of the discussed points).

Hence, you might conclude that the structure of precis is similar to any other academic work structure. Nevertheless, there are certain peculiarities to take into consideration.

Precis introduction

The intro must be 1 sentence long, containing such data as:

  • Source's title;
  • Name of the author;
  • Publication date;
  • Power verbs, explaining the author's thesis;
  • The thesis statements.

It is recommended to place a hook in the beginning part of the thesis and only then put a thesis restatement. however, some of the professional writers think the hook should not be present in this part of the precis. So, ask your professor to specify the requirements, telling whether you need a hook in this part or not.

Main body

Every section of the source text must be explained in your precis. Provide the data on pieces of evidence, purpose, and author's ideas. Remain objective. Do not give your own thoughts when you analyze the author's point of view. You can utilize quotes. However, it is a must to remain appropriate and brief.


In concluding part of your precis, you must restate the main ideas and goals of the source text. Summarize all the given arguments. Avoid judgments and subjective opinions.

Revising your precis

  1. Underline or highlight the sections that need to be revised or the parts that do not make sense. Ensure you followed the structure that was mentioned above. Search for spelling problems, grammar mistakes or typos. Note that you will need to proofread the work still.
  2. Compare the original text to your precis. make sure you kept in mind every single detail of the author. As long as precis is short, every word features a certain meaning. So re-read the precis and re-read the original text. Ask your friend to read the precis and the source text.
  3. To improve your work, make revisions when it is needed. Utilize any feedback you might receive from your friends and your notes. Your final piece of writing must be very concise. For example, reduce the number of extra words or redundant text that is not important. As soon as you do modifications, compare the precis to the source text one more time.
  4. Proofread the precis. Check spelling and grammar mistakes, and typos. Correct them. as long as you might overlook some of the errors, ask your friend to proofread the precis for you.

A final word about your precis writing

We guess we have answered all your questions regarding writing a precis. Now you are aware of how to do it correctly. However, not everyone will think this way.

Some of the students would prefer to ask someone to help him or her with writing a precis instead of doing it themselves. We do understand it completely and offer you our helping hand!

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