A Précis Writing Guide for High School and College Students

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A Précis Writing Guide for High School and College Students
Post By tapaflcouk On 16, Feb

Précis writing refers to a type of descriptive writing or a part of the government or competitive exams section under the broader head of the English language section. In this way, it is important to learn all fundamental elements of this type of writing for all students getting ready to appear in such exams.

Even if you are not preparing for competitive exams or searching for précis writing tips to nail any high school or college assignment, you still have to know common things about this descriptive writing style.

This article will help you grab all the essential information regarding this unique but important writing style. By reading this article till the end, you will get the gist of précis writing in only three minutes, so you will not need to be indulged in long discussions with any third-party source. Let's start our discussion straightforwardly:

What Is Précis Writing?

It refers to a unique type of summarising task that uses the structure as well as the language of the source, such as a book, article, novel, or even a small passage. To put it in another way, précis is the complete writing task that asks students to describe all the essential aspects of a piece of literature or speech in as few words as possible. However, while doing so, the writer must ensure never to miss or change the gist of the original work. Thus, it is considered a miniature portrait of the passage or a book.

Also Read This: Academic Phrases – Importance and Uses in Academic Assignments

Précis is not hard to complete; once you know a few simple rules for writing it, you will start taking this task as one of the easiest. As a basic principle, you do not need to subjectively handle this task. Instead, you must conserve the author's original tone and point of view. In terms of writing, clarity is the main concern about précis writing.  While the rules for being clear in writing remain the same as we are used to following in the other writing tasks; that is,

  • Short sentences:
  • Appropriate words selection:
  • Highly-relevant or less complex vocabulary:
  • Good presentation of facts:
  • Creating logical connections between all pieces of information:

Following all these rules, no matter whether you are writing in competitive exams or working on school or college assignments, you can easily submit a perfect draft.

What Are Some Characteristics Of Précis Writing?

After knowing what précis is, it is also important to understand what a perfect précis must look like. A perfect précis most likely to have the following features:

Short Length:

As précis is a short writing task resembling summary writing, being short and concise is its basic requirement. Remember, you are already given a detailed passage, so you do not need to elaborate further. Only read it and write what you understand about the passage.

Relevant And Compelling Title:

Suggesting a title to the given passage is another important point in précis writing that carries extra marks. While writing précis, it is important to give a few minutes to think of compelling titles after discourse analysis of the given passage. Remember, the best title must have high relevancy and an easy-to-read structure.

Logical Follow Or Fluency:

Undoubtedly, you have to retain the original author's tone, but this time the tone will be yours. Sometimes your tone does match the style of the author's purpose of writing, leaving flaws in your writing. Rather, a good précis is one where each sentence is logically connected to the preceding one and simultaneously justifies the main purpose of writing.

Also Read This: What Is Figurative Writing? Types and Importance in Academic Writing

Specific To The Point Of View Of The Original Author:

A well-written précis never get distracted at any point. It always gets confined to describing the main point of view of the author. So, by remembering this point, you will complete his task with great ease.

Easy To Read:

A writer is probably asked for précis writing to make a hard-to-read piece of literature easy to understand.  In pursuit of this purpose of writing, please keep your tone simple and concise to be on the safe side. Otherwise, complexity rather than making your work impressive may make it difficult to handle.

What Are Some Tips To Write A Perfect Précis?

By following basic writing guidelines, one can easily complete all academic writing task requirements; however, to take it to the next level, you have to put in some extra effort. Simply put, your creativity and interpersonal skill will allow you to stand tall. Additionally, by following some simple tips, one further improves the quality of writing. Thereby, the following are some précis writing tips that you must follow to improve your performance:

  • Keep the length of the précis as short as 1/3 parts of the original passage.
  • Simply restate the point mentioned in the given passage.
  • Do not use abbreviations of the terms used in the original passage.
  • Do not structure your precise based on assumption; rather, feel free to use the pieces of original passages enclosed in quotation marks.
  • Do not drag any piece of information too longer.
  • Use good transitional words while switching between ideas.

All these tips will visibly improve the quality of your précis, but you still need to practice it a few times before appearing in the final exams. If you still need guidance on any point, you must ask for academic writing help from The Academic Papers UK, as here, experts will resolve all your worries in a blink.

Final Thoughts:

We can say that précis writing is a simple writing task. The comprehensive nature of this task makes it easier, but by getting aware of the purpose of writing and ways to improve its quality, you can secure good marks even on the first attempt.


  1. A Handbook of Précis-Writing By E. Derry Evans · 2013
  2. Precis writing for beginners by Guy Noel Pocock · 2022
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