How to Write a Precis

The night before your exam is the most difficult thing to survive, especially when you have loads of syllabus awaiting your presence to humor it. It feels extra neglected at the time. This takes a toll on that pea sized patience when the syllabus consists of a swarm of books and cramming every page is just not an option. Henceforth the only thing that comes into the mind of a student would be: CUT THE CHASE TO THE CRUX OF IT ALL.

Precis – definition

It means ‘definite’ , ‘exact’, ‘concise’ or ‘precise’, it means a clear, brief, well documented abstract , the summary or the gist of a written or spoken matter.

The objective of precis writing is basically to bring out the main idea, theme or the meaning of an original document or speech in a coherent, clear and precise manner while preserving the spirit of the original.

Essentials of a Precis

  • Completeness
  • Compactness
  • Brevity
  • Clarity
  • Coherence
  • Logical and natural sequence

Requirements of a good Precis


It is a must. A word or a phrase that can become the title or the heading of the text, document or the speech that gives the idea of the main text writing.


Precis should always be written in a third person. Dialogues and speech should always be reported in the third person manner.


Use of past tense is important except for the special quotes that the writer may have used in the content.

Form of speech

Indirect form of speech is used in the precis


No particular length is required for the standard precis. It originally depends on the length of the text itself.

How to Write a Precis

Hints for writing a good Precis

 Precis writing is basically an art itself. The following are some of the hints that may contribute to a good coherent gist of any text.

  • Understand the given passage well.
  • Mark or underline those ideas or sentences that are more important than the relevant text itself.
  • Give only the views of the author.
  • Use indirect form of speech, third person and past tense.
  • Opening of the precis is very important so it should be relevant and healthy.
  • Mark the central idea of each paragraph.
  • Your precis should be precise, coherent and concise.
  • Give a suitable title to your precis.

Don’ts in a Precis Writing

  • Do not express your opinions, wish remarks or criticism.
  • Do not pose any questions in your precis.
  • Do not use contractions or abbreviations.

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Precis Writing

Samples for understanding Precis writing: Step by step guide


We must accept the facts as they are. True, we are a bilingual nation that is also highly underdeveloped. Our poverty is the root cause of our anxiety about finding work or not finding work. But once we had the courage to take matters into our own hands and work hard, poverty would disappear, and those languages—rather than serving as the curse they do now—would serve as magnificent modes of expression for the wide range of cultural patterns, ways of life, and modes of thought that we have amassed. Let’s hope that day comes quickly. The educational process can be facilitated by using a regional language as the instruction medium. The child learns more easily and enthusiastically as a result. However, if it is forced upon a minority group that is accustomed to using a different related language, it may ruin the whole nature of schooling. Although it is meant to be helpful, it would exacerbate sociopolitical problems. (180 words)

STEP 1: Read the whole paragraph, mark out the important points and write them down.

The important points for precis writing in this paragraph are:

  • Ours is a multilingual and poor country.
  • Once we wipe out poverty , languages can be of great asset to us.
  • The regional languages can help children to learn with ease and interest.
  • If the language is forced upon the unwilling population, it checks rather than helps the process of education.

STEP 2: Read the paragraph again and make sure that you know the meaning of the complex words.

Such as multilingual means having to speak different languages, magnificent means something wonderful or huge etc.

STEP 3: Choose the title.

Most of the time, the title is found either in the first sentence or the last sentence of the paragraph. You have to choose that one word or the phrase that represents the whole paragraph in itself. Following titles may be associated with this paragraph.

  •       Education and Regional Language
  •       Multilingual state – a Blessing 

STEP 4: Choosing the opening line and writing the gist in the author’s point of view 

Our country, though poor yet has many languages. If with effort and dedication we are able to wipe out poverty, these languages will become a great asset. A regional language can help a child in picking up things easily. It is only when a language is forced upon the people it checks the very process of education.  (58 words)

Precis step-by-step


According to Mussolini’s definition of fascism, “War alone draws up to its utmost tension all human force and also places a stamp of nobility upon the people who have the bravery to meet it.” Once more, a philosophy that promotes peace is opposed to fascism. The fascist is the one who considers contemporary war, or the bombardment of open towns with fire, poison, and explosives, to be inherently good. He is the one who disbelieves in the prophets’ teachings and thinks the best civilization is the one that is obsessed with the idea of killing and perpetually hostile to other national communities. He is the one who despises unattached people and extols the virtues of the person who, in submission to a superior who just so happens to have amassed political power, cultivates all the passions (pride, danger, envy, hatred) that the founders of philosophy and the founders of religions have universally condemned as the least deserving of human beings. The goal of all fascist planning is to increase the nation’s capacity as a war machine. All of industry, trade, and finance are regulated for this reason. (About 200 words)

STEP 1: Read the whole paragraph and mark the central idea around which it revolves. Count those important points that should be added when writing precis.

Following are the important points in this paragraph.

  • Fascism believes that war only brings out the very best in people.
  • Any doctrine that talks of bombarding is appreciated and any talk of peace is condemned.
  • Any fascist appreciates those passions which the philosophers and the religious leaders have spoken against.
  • Fascist planning has very limited aim to gear the country for war.

STEP 2: Read the paragraph and rule out the complex words for better understanding of the main text.

Such as:

  • Fascism: political party opposed to socialism
  • Doctrine : principle
  • Hostility : enmity
  • Slaughter : mass killing
  • Envy: jealous
  • Unanimously: with one voice

STEP 3: Choose the title for the given paragraph.

The most suitable title for this paragraph may be:

  • The theory of fascism. 

Fascist and the theory of fascism believes in the principles of war only. They believe that wars only can bring out the best in people. They outrightly condemn the preachings of philosophers and leaders. On the contrary, they encourage people to cultivate passions like envy and pride. Fascists run the government for the purpose of war. Industry, commerce and finance are controlled in this aim. (68 words)


There was significantly less specialization in the workforce a century ago than there is now. One furniture maker could complete a table from top to bottom, and he may have used only hand tools in his tiny workshop to create all the furniture required to fill a full house. Although the furniture he built was excellent and stunning, it would take him a lot of time to complete. By today’s standards, one man produced a meager amount, and the furniture was very expensive. A good deal could only be afforded by the somewhat rich. So a man working in a furniture industry today might spend his time watching over a single machine that only performs one procedure when creating table legs. The numerous steps involved in creating the table will include a large number of men, and because to the division of labor, a large number of tables will be finished, comparatively, in less time. However, a good worker should be aware of all the steps involved in creating a table, even if he only does one of them. Even this is not viable for producing more complex items, such as automobiles or extensive electrical apparatus. Even more than probable, not all of the processes are completed at the same factory.

STEP 1: Read out the entire paragraph and mark all the important points that may assist in writing a good precis.

Following are the main informative points to be considered:

  • About a century back, there was much less specialization and only an individual was responsible for a lot of work.
  • In modern times, an individual is only responsible for a part of an entire job.
  • By specialization more work can be done at a lesser cost.
  • In modern life, a person has to depend upon everybody else’s work. Personal work is not significant.
  • This has its own drawbacks like evasion of responsibility. It is difficult to hold a person responsible when he is doing only a minor fraction of the entire job.

STEP 2: Add on vocabulary of the complex words and their meanings.

  • Complicated: intricate
  •  Conveyor: one who conveys or calls
  • Elaborate: detailed


STEP 3: Choose the relevant titles for the following paragraph.

  • Specialization in the modern age
  • Specialization and the work-men 

STEP 4: Choosing the title sentence and incorporating the main ideas into writing precis as narrated by the author.

About a century ago, there was much less specialization and almost every individual was responsible for the entire work. But in this case of specialization, an individual plays a very minor role, in the entire process of manufacture of goods. At times, the factories themselves do only a part of work. Obviously in our age, everyone has become dependent on everybody else’s work. The contribution of an individual is too trivial to draw any attention. This has brought in the feeling that one man’s contribution does not matter much. It has also brought in the tendency of evasion of responsibility, as it becomes difficult either to appreciate an individual if the product is good or to condemn him if it is otherwise. (125 words)

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