Mastering The Art Of Precis Writing

Writing a precis can be a daunting task for many, as it requires a combination of essential skills such as critical thinking, summarizing, and concise writing. However, mastering the art of precis writing can not only improve one’s overall writing abilities but also help in better understanding and analyzing complex texts. In this article, we will delve into the definition of precis writing, its purpose, and provide useful tips and steps to write an effective precis. Additionally, we will compare it to summarizing and highlight the importance of developing this skill. So, let us begin our journey towards mastering the art of precis writing.

Precis Writing: Definition, Tips, and Importance

Precis writing is a form of summarizing an original text in a concise and clear manner while retaining its essential ideas and key points. It requires a writer to understand the main arguments and concepts of the source material and present them in a condensed form. Precis writing is commonly used in academic, professional, and business contexts, where precise and accurate communication is critical.

How to Write a Precis

To write an effective precis, follow these steps:

  • Read the original text carefully: Before you can summarize a text, you must have a thorough understanding of it. Read the source material multiple times to grasp its main ideas, arguments, and supporting evidence.
  • Identify the thesis statement: The thesis statement is the main idea or argument of the text. It serves as the foundation of the entire piece and should be included in your precis.
  • Outline the key points: Make a list of the key points and arguments presented in the text. This will help you to organize your thoughts and make the writing process more efficient.
  • Summarize each point: Use your own words to summarize each key point. Be concise and only include the most crucial information.
  • Use transitional words: Use transition words such as "in addition," "furthermore," or "however" to connect your summarized points and create a smooth flow of ideas.
  • Check for accuracy: Ensure that your precis accurately reflects the author’s main ideas and arguments. Avoid adding your own opinions or interpretations.
  • Edit your precis: Review your precis to eliminate any unnecessary words, phrases, or sentences. Aim for a clear, concise, and easily understandable summary.

Precis Writing Tips

  • Be objective: A precis is not the place for personal opinions or interpretations. Stick to summarizing the author’s ideas and arguments without adding your own thoughts.
  • Stay within the word limit: Precis writing typically has a word limit, so be mindful of this when summarizing the source text. Focus on including the most critical information and avoiding any unnecessary details.
  • Use your own words: Avoid copying sentences or phrases directly from the original text. Use your own words to summarize the main ideas and arguments.
  • Delete irrelevant information: In a precis, you only need to include the most crucial points and arguments. Delete any additional or less important information to keep your summary concise.
  • Review for errors: Check your precis for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and typos. A well-written precis should be free of any language errors.

Purpose of Precis Writing

The primary purpose of precis writing is to condense a longer piece of text into a shorter version without losing its essence or key ideas. It requires the writer to have strong analytical skills, as well as the ability to identify and summarize the most important information. Precis writing is commonly used in academic writing to summarize research papers, reports, or articles, making the reading and understanding of complex material more manageable. It is also widely used in business contexts to summarize important documents, such as proposals or presentations.

Precis Writing Guide

To write a strong precis, consider the following essential skills:

  • Reading comprehension: You must have a good understanding of the source material to accurately summarize it.
  • Analytical skills: Precis writing requires you to analyze and identify the main ideas and arguments of the original text.
  • Writing skills: A well-written precis should be clear, concise, and free of grammatical errors.
  • Vocabulary: Use appropriate vocabulary and terminology to convey the author’s ideas effectively.
  • Time management: Precis writing is usually time-sensitive, so you must be able to summarize a text within a given timeframe.

Steps for Writing a Precis

The following are the essential steps for writing an effective precis:

  1. Read: Carefully read the source material multiple times to ensure a complete understanding of its main ideas and arguments.
  2. Outline: Create an outline of the key points and arguments presented in the text.
  3. Summarize each point: Use your own words to summarize each key point, while staying within the word limit.
  4. Use transitions: Use transition words to connect your summarized points and create a smooth flow of ideas.
  5. Edit and proofread: Review your precis to eliminate any unnecessary words or errors, ensuring it is clear and concise.

A good precis has the following qualities:

  • Concise: A good precis is short and to the point, without omitting any crucial information.
  • Objective: The writer should remain objective and avoid including personal opinions or interpretations.
  • Accurate: A good precis accurately reflects the main ideas and arguments of the source material.
  • Clear and well-organized: The summary should flow logically and be easily understandable.

Difference between Precis and Summary

While precis and summary are similar in that they both aim to condense a longer piece of text, there are key differences between the two:

Length: Precis is typically shorter than a summary. Length: Summary can be longer than a precis.
Details: Precis includes significant details that support the main ideas. Details: Summary only includes the most critical information.
Objective: Precis should be written objectively, without adding personal opinions or interpretations. Objective: Summary can include the writer’s personal opinions and interpretations.

Importance of Precis Writing

Precis writing is an essential skill for students, professionals, and businesses alike. It allows for the accurate and concise communication of complex information. In academic settings, precis writing helps students understand and summarize research papers and other material effectively. Professionals can use it to present clear and concise reports or proposals to their colleagues or clients. In today’s fast-paced world, where time is of the essence, precis writing helps businesses communicate important information quickly and efficiently.

In conclusion, precis writing is a crucial skill that requires good reading comprehension, analytical abilities, and writing skills. By following the steps outlined in this guide and practicing regularly, anyone can become proficient in writing an effective precis. Whether you are a student, professional, or business owner, mastering this skill can greatly enhance your ability to communicate complex ideas and information accurately and efficiently.

What is a Precis Writing?

A precis is a summary of a longer text, written in a concise and objective manner. It aims to convey the main ideas and arguments of the source material while maintaining its essential information. Precis writing is commonly used in academic, professional, and business contexts, and it requires the writer to have strong analytical and writing skills. To learn more about the practical applications of precis writing, check out these useful tips from digital nomads.

In summary, precis writing is the ability to condense a larger piece of text into a brief and concise summary while retaining its main points and key ideas. It requires essential skills such as comprehension, analysis, and effective writing. To write a good precis, one must follow certain steps and keep in mind important tips such as avoiding personal opinions and including only relevant information. A well-written precis should have clarity, coherence, and precision. While some may confuse precis with summary, it is important to understand that they serve different purposes. Precis writing is an important skill that has various applications in academics and professional fields, making it an essential skill to master. So, practice and apply these tips and guidelines to improve your precis writing and become a more effective communicator.


  • adamlewis

    Adam Lewis is a 34-year-old school teacher and blogger who focuses on education. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Central Florida and a Master of Arts degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of South Florida. Lewis has been teaching since 2004 and has taught in both public and private schools. He is currently a teacher at a private Christian school in Florida.