What Do We Call a Precis?

A succinct summary of a text, book, speech, or an article is called a precis. This French word means “brief” or “precise.” You may call it a precis, each time you summarize the main points of a literary text.

It differs from paraphrasing, though. You don’t need to mention every issue written about in the text. In the precis, you ought to express the principal idea of the text and to adhere to a certain structure. That’s why writing a precis may seem difficult for students who don’t have a lot of experience in such assignments.

Writing a precis is one of many written assignments that can be given to you at your institution. If you want to get the highest grade for your precis, you have to understand the main peculiarities of this kind of works. In case you know how to write a precis, you will prevent yourself from making frequent mistakes. Don’t make it critical analyses; you don’t need to explore every idea of the text. It’s not your task also to write your ideas on the subject. You ought to mention only key points and features of the initial text. Adhere to the main idea of the source, make your text precise and brief. If you remember these main aspects of writing a precis, you will have no difficulties in writing your assignment.

What Are the Characteristic Features of a Precis?

To write a precis correctly, you have to know its main characteristics:

  • It’s an outline of the given abstract without new paragraphs or ideas;
  • You shouldn’t make it an interpretation or paraphrasing of the source;
  • To insert quotes is ok, but don’t use the exact words and phrases from the original text;
  • Adhere to the source because your task is to write its summary;
  • Make your precise and evaluation of the text;
  • The volume of your precis should be 1/4 of the source’s length of not stated otherwise;
  • Adhere to the standard format for your precis: thesis of the author, the methods used, results, and conclusions.

Such assignments teach students to make a summary, think critically, distinguish the main parts of the text. Learning these skills will assist you in boosting your academic score and new powerful instruments to write any assignments.

Mistakes to Avoid in Writing a Precis

To write your precis correctly, you should be aware of several mistakes you can make if you don’t have expertise in writing such assignments. Don’t make your precis

  • a plan of the source text which you write without understanding;
  • a short abstract with no background details;
  • a list of compelling quotes and phrases without deep analyses;
  • an enumeration of impertinent facts.

To guarantee you avoid the most common mistakes, you should study several precise examples.

What Are the Qualities of a Precis?

Writing a precis shows your teacher the level of your writing skills and the ability to clearly express your thoughts. To get the highest grade for writing your precis, your work should meet the following criteria:

  • Be accurate. Your precis should contain no mistakes of any kind. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation of your text should be correct. There should be no factual mistakes either. If you provide any facts, dates, and numbers in the original text, they should be reliable and correct;
  • Be precise and clear. The reader should easily understand what you are trying to express. To achieve this use plain and straightforward words and phrases, adhere to a standard structure and assigned requirements;
  • Stay objective. You needn’t provide your point of view on the original text. Your task is to adhere to the original facts and data;
  • Stay logical. In your precis, you should build logical links to the original text and its main thoughts. If you don’t do that the reader can lose interest in your precis;
  • Preciseness. Don’t try to add irrelevant information to your precis. It should contain important facts written briefly. Avoid verbosity and repetitions of words.

The Structure of a Precis

When you write an academic assignment, you have to follow certain structure requirements to explicate the text. To write a precis is no exception. Even if your page is not very long, and consist of one page, you have to follow the guidelines. Usually, a precis consists of three standard elements: an introduction, body, and conclusion.

  • In the introduction you present general information about the original text;
  • In the body passages you present principal goals and ideas;
  • In conclusion, your task is to summarize things you wanted to discuss.

The structure of a precis is similar to other assignments you have to write, but it has its peculiarities that you have to be aware of.

Tips to write the introduction

The introduction in a precis is usually one sentence long. It should contain such information as the name of the author, the title of the source, the publication’s date, and the thesis.

Example: In her article ‘The factors of successful study’ (2019), Alison Kemwood enumerates all possible advantages that are significant for further education of a child a family can provide, from finance to moral support.

Tips to write the body

When you write a precis, write in every paragraph, you should give a brief explanation of the author’s thoughts and goals. Be objective when you analyze the author’s point of view on the subject, but don’t give your own opinion. In this part of the precis, you can use several quotes from the source but do it briefly and appropriately.

Example: In the article ‘How to save children’s minds’ (2017), John Birsky speculates on the topic of a child’s development and the role of reading in it. He proves that reading books from an early age constitutes to better development of a child’s psyche, cognitive skills and raises a child’s educational potential. Birsky writes about ‘age-appropriate books’ He supports his point of view by statistical data, making a comparison between the children who read a lot and those who don’t. He also values reading over computer games playing in which children spend a vast amount of time. His goal is to prove that reading can become a way to a better child’s development that will, at the same time, eliminate the juvenile crime rate.

In his article, he uses humor and examples from real-life addressing parents and encouraging them to assist their children to start reading books.

Tips to write the conclusion

When you write a conclusion of your essay, in it, you will have to restate the main opinions and goals of the original text. Summarize the arguments and don’t forget to avoid expressing your opinion.

Tips and advice given in this article are sufficient to assist you in writing an impeccable precis even if you have no or little experience in writing such assignments. You might need to ascertain additional details of the assignment from your teacher. Good luck with writing your flawless precis!