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In 6 Easy Steps, Learn How to Write a Precis

In 6 Easy Steps, Learn How to Write a Precis

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Until they are obliged to complete it, most students have little knowledge of this type of project. Don’t be shocked if this is your first time hearing about this form of assignment; most students are perplexed and have a slew of questions, like “What is a precis?” “Where do I begin?” and “How do I write a precis?” Fortunately, we are here to provide you with the answers. This post will explain what this form of work is and give you a step-by-step instruction on how to write one.

The Purpose of Precis and Its Definition

The word “Précis” comes from the French language and meaning “exact” or “to cut brief,” according to the precis definition. A precis is a condensed version of another piece of writing, such as a dissertation or scholarly essay. A precis’ major goal is to summarize any concepts expressed in the article, explain the key point, and provide readers a notion of how the original piece was organized.

What Kinds of Papers Can a Precis Be Found In?

In a word, a precis is a written item that is not part of any other academic work. A precis is typically written in a scholarly or non-scholarly article, or any other academic work. Its length varies based on the original piece’s length.

Students frequently confuse a precis with a critical analysis, which is a different type of writing. They are, nevertheless, very different. A precis, unlike a critical analysis, should not include your personal judgment on the original work.

A excellent precis should be concise and to the point. What, on the other hand, are the other qualities of this style of writing? Here are some crucial points to remember:

A precis is a condensed version of the original work, not a paraphrase.
The text should be precise and easy to understand.
A precis should be written in your own words, with occasional excerpts from the original piece permitted (though not too many, only the ones that bring real value).
It should not be a reflection of your personal views.
Only the most significant information should be conveyed, with extraneous ideas being omitted.
The most important elements should be discussed as thoroughly as possible.
A precis’s material should be presented in a logical order, with clear linkages between all sections of the text.
It should not include information from other sources.
There should be no extraneous or secondary information in a precis.
Because a precis is always written in the third person, first person pronouns are inappropriate.

A rhetorical precis, in addition to a conventional precis, is another type of this task. This task’s essence is the same. It is, however, usually more shorter and hence more difficult to write. A rhetorical precis likewise needs you to summarize key concepts from the original text, but it focuses more on how the information is delivered. As a result, a rhetorical precis combines a summary and a quick examination of the author’s views.

The most common problem in drafting a rhetorical precis is trying to squeeze everything into four sentences. Here’s an example of what should go into a rhetorical precis:

The title, author’s name, date, and other pertinent information from the original piece’s bibliographical information.
An explanation of how the piece’s author developed and supported his or her major views.
The author’s goal is stated here.
The way it was delivered: The author’s ability to hold the reader’s attention. Who his or her target market is. How he/she presents those concepts to the audience.
This is the most important material to include in a rhetorical summary. You must also utilize short excerpts from the original text to give your readers an idea of the author’s tone and style. Here’s an excellent example of a rhetorical summary to look at:


“The Ugly Truth about Beauty,” by Dave Barry, is an example of a rhetorical precis. Short Essays and Images from Popular Culture, “Mirror on America.” Joan T. Mims and Elizabeth M. Nollen, eds., 2nd ed. Bedford, New York, 2003, pp. 109-12.
Dave “…women generally do not think of their looks in the same way that men do,” writes Barry in his work “The Ugly Truth about Beauty” (1998). (4). Barry elucidates this disparity by contrasting men’s and women’s judgments of their appearances (“average-looking”), by contrasting feminine role models (Barbie, Cindy Crawford) with male role models (He-Man, BuzzOff), and by contrasting men’s and women’s interests (the Super Bowl, lawn maintenance) (manicures). To keep women from quickly accepting society’s standards, he exaggerates and stereotypes these distinctions; in reality, Barry believes that males who desire women to “look like Cindy Crawford” are “idiots” (10). Barry ostensibly addresses men in this essay because he addresses men directly (as in “If you’re a man…”) and offers them advice in a mockingly conspiratorial manner; however, by using humor to poke fun at both men and women’s perceptions of themselves, Barry makes this essay palatable to both genders and hopes to persuade women to stop obsessively “thinkingi (8).


What Is the Purpose of Having Students Write Precis?

This type of academic assignment serves a variety of functions. First and foremost, it allows instructors to assess your ability to summarize, think critically, and detect and emphasize important information. This activity also demonstrates students’ writing skills, as well as their ability to express themselves effectively, intelligibly, and with precision. Finally, creating a precis is a useful tool for learning new information.

How is a precis different from paraphrase, you might wonder, if it’s a quick summary of an original text? A precis, unlike a paraphrase, is not simply a repeat of the original text in your own words. It is not necessary for you to include all of the details offered in the original essay, but rather to summarize the essential points. Another difference between the two is that paraphrase is typically used to allude to specific ideas or assertions from another work, whereas precis is used to guide readers through a piece they haven’t read.
Exact Format

Make sure your work contains these 5 crucial traits while writing a precis, whether it’s a rhetorical or normal one:

1. Succinctness. Unless your lecturer specifies otherwise, a precis should be around a quarter of the original piece’s length. You should eliminate repetition, wordy language, wateriness, and needless information in order to keep it brief and to the point.
2. Reliability. A precis entails offering an objective interpretation of the important information presented in the original text, free of your personal beliefs.
3. Consistency. You must provide your data in a logical order.
4. Conciseness. A summary should be simple to read and comprehend. The primary purpose of this work is to enable the reader to comprehend the original piece and the thoughts given by the author without having to read it. As a result, keep the structure and language simple.
Correctness is number five. A precis must have precise information, statistics, facts, and dates, as well as good syntax, punctuation, and spelling.

  1. Precis [Author’s Name”[Name ]’s of Work/Article]” in a nutshell
  2. 12 point font size
  3. Double spacing
  4. All sides must have a 1 inch margin.
  5. Pledge and Name: Put them at the end of your summary.
  6. Stick to the author’s tone of voice in the original piece.
  7. Quotations directly from the source: Provide quotes in quotation marks, and following the quote, put a page number in parentheses.
  8. Stick to the order in which the original article was written.


In 6 Easy Steps, Learn How to Write a Precis

So, how do you go about writing it in a step-by-step manner? Here’s a thorough guide to help you write a successful precis:

Step 1: Choose the article, work, or narrative you’ll write a synopsis on Unless you’ve been assigned to write a precis on a specific piece, you’ll have to choose it yourself. Choose an article or work that is publicly available in its entirety in this circumstance so that you can read the entire thing.

Step 2: Go back and read the original article.
Take your time reading the entire essay thoroughly and without rushing to ensure that you fully comprehend it.

Step 3: Go over it again and take notes.
Return to the original piece once you’ve read it and grasped the main point. Now it’s time to interpret the author’s main points—take notes.

Step 4: Create a rough outline
Make a list of all the significant details and arguments you discovered based on your notes. This will allow you to check if you have covered all of the crucial points. Then, for your precis, create a clear and well-structured outline. Use the outline template provided in the stages section of this article to create an outline.

Step 5: Compose a synopsis
Follow your professor’s recommendations and the outline you’ve created when writing a precis. Keep your precis to a manageable size by using basic language and organization.

Step 6: Editing and proofreading
Make sure your text contains all of the necessary information. Also, make sure there aren’t any extraneous information in it. Finally, proofread your document for any faults, such as punctuation, grammar, style, and other issues. Polish it till it appears to be in good condition.

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Introduction to the Narrative

You should be able to write a precis with easily if you follow the procedures outlined above.

Here’s a quick sample template to give you a better idea of how the end product should look:

The author’s name, [a few words describing the author (optional)], the title of the article and genre, the date of publication in parentheses (if you need to include more publishing information, put it in parentheses); a rhetorically accurate verb like “claims,” “suggests,” “argues,” “asserts,” or other; THAT – followed by the author’s thesis statement.

In his article The Forbes Investigation: Inside The Secret Bank Behind The Fintech Boom (Dec 17, 2019), Antoine Gara, a Forbes expert in the fields of Banking and Insurance, suggests that a tiny FDIC-insured bank – Cross River – can provide a much more accurate glimpse into the future of banking than Manhattan’s and Silicon Valley’s financial districts.

An overview of how the author develops and defends his views throughout the text, usually in chronological order.
A statement of the author’s aim, frequently followed by “in order to” and a brief description of what he or she hoped to accomplish/what message his or her work conveyed.
A brief description of the author’s tone of voice, style, target audience, and other factors.

In-Text Citations with Precise References

In the opening sentence of your text, you must include the author’s name, the title of the original work, and the publication date.

For instance, Dave Barry asserts in his work “The Ugly Truth about Beauty” (1998) that…

You do not need to repeat the author’s name in parentheses after any in-text citations because it is already provided. Instead, if you’re going to quote something from the original text, provide the page number in parenthesis following the quote.

For example, to keep women from readily accepting society’s expectations, he exaggerates and stereotypes these distinctions; in reality, Barry believes that males who desire women to “look like Cindy Crawford” are “idiots” (10).


You will just need to cite the original source according to the chosen format and type of source on the works referenced page. If the source is an article, as in our case, the citation will be as follows:

“The Ugly Truth about Beauty,” by Dave Barry, for example. Short Essays and Images from Popular Culture, “Mirror on America.” Joan T. Mims and Elizabeth M. Nollen, eds., 2nd ed. Bedford, New York, 2003, pp. 109-12.

Things to Keep in Mind

It can be difficult to write a synopsis. They necessitate focus and precision, as well as strong writing skills and the ability to grasp the original piece’s fundamental themes. However, we hope that with the help of our comprehensive tutorial, you will be able to complete such a task with ease.

To summarize everything that has gone before, here are some crucial points to remember when writing a precis:

  • A precis is a condensed version of an article or other work that is not a paraphrase or a critical analysis.
  • It should be short (about a quarter of the original source’s volume).
  • It should only concentrate on the key points, arguments, facts, and specifics.
  • Basic information regarding the original source, such as the title, author, and date, should be included in a synopsis.
  • A student’s own thoughts are not included in a precis.
  • It must be simple to read, straightforward, and well-organized.
  • There should be no additional material or details from other sources.
  • The third person is used to write a precis.

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