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A complete guide of writing a best precis for your assignments

Every high school graduate student dreams to have a wonderful college life with pure fun and entertainment. However, they soon realise that they were living in a delusional world as soon as they get hit by their first assignment. Truth be told, most students find their coursework tedious and exhausting!

While exceptional coursework is important to secure good grades, the process of researching, finding the links, analysing it and putting it down onto paper gets on our nerves. No matter how hard we try to skip them, all of it creep into our schedule one way or another.

The phrase “assignments” elicits various responses from students. While some are dedicated to getting their assignments done on time, others simply think of millions of ways to avoid them. Unfortunately, regardless of all the temptations, students just can’t afford to miss deadlines as it may result in flunking a course and poor academic grades.

Despite all the academic challenges and worries, writing a precis often comes as the toughest nut to crack! Even Hermione Granger would have a hard time accomplishing this assignment. Since you’ve clicked on this article, it shows that your professor has assigned you yet another paper! And this time it sounds something like “write 1000-1500 precis of the first five chapters of “Reading: An internal Activity’, by Robert Scholes.”

You might be wondering what the heck is this. Well, calm your nerves down as we already heard you! In this article, we will guide you on how to write perfect precis, the format and all the necessary steps to follow through. Without further ado, let’s get into it!

What is Precis?

As you can deduce from the name, a French origin word “precis” means ‘precise’ or ‘brief’. It is a concise version of a book, article or any other literature. Basically, a precis is a summary of any publication, including a scholarly article, a book, a dissertation or a research paper. A short and brief description of the relatively lengthy text is what we call a precis.

However, most students often misinterpret the term with paraphrasing. In fact, it’s entirely different from that. Paraphrasing requires you to write every point using different words. Whereas, precis should be focused on all the main and important ideas in the paper, described systematically.

Given the ocean of content, it is extremely difficult to write a well-constructed precis without missing any single important point. With weak writing and analytical skills, the process gets even tougher and you are left with no other option, but to ask your friend to “Do My Essay.”

However, with useful guidelines and correct format, you will be able to write a perfect precis for your essay. As it is not a research report or a critical analysis, you don’t have to carry any research or analysis of the content. All you have to do is to identify main ideas and explain them concisely into your words. See, it’s not that hard!

Characteristics of a good precis:

Precis carries the essence and core ideas of the literature and has a proper format. Wrapping lengthy text into a few paragraphs is not just enough, you will have to understand the text and sum up accordingly. Missing out any of the important text or points defeats the purpose of a precis. Moreover, precis writing does not include any sort of opinions or personal views. Make sure to stick to the theme and make it as simple and precise as possible.

  • It should be brief and clear.
  • It should clear all the ambiguities and uncertainties from the source text.
  • It should be completely written in your words, without copy-pasting from the source.
  • Contains all the main ideas of the paper.
  • Must not carry any opinion and personal point of views.
  • It should be strictly written in formal academic language and must be coherent.
  • The content in precis must match with the original content in the source.
  • It must be written systematically and has a proper flow of words and paragraphs.
  • The length should no longer than one-fourth of the original text.
  • Must carry information about the source, author’s name and date of publication.

Format of writing a precis:

Like every other academic assignment, precis too has a proper structure requirement that has to be fulfilled. Regardless of the length, you are required to meet the following essential elements while writing a precis.

  • An introduction consists of basic information about the source text.
  • Body paragraphs reflect the main ideas of the text
  • The conclusion is to end with a memorable punch for the readers.

Almost all academic papers and essays follow this common structure. However, there are certain characteristics which need to keep in mind for writing a precis.

Precis introduction

The introduction should be no longer than two-three sentences and must contain:

  • Name of the author
  • Title of the text
  • Date of publication
  • The objective of that source text
  • Thesis statement

For example, “Clarke Mark’s article, ‘factors that influence high suicide rate among youngsters (2019)’, estimates all the possible factors, which have a direct correlation to youngsters and drives them into committing suicides.”

Body Paragraphs

Contain summarised versions of the main ideas and points. For example,

In this article “Declining trend of Television content consumption’ (2018), Micheal Rodes concluded that television content consumption has been gradually declining since the past couple of years. Rodes supports his findings with a statistical comparison between tv viewers now and in the past. He also highlights the emerging demand for online content and the increasing usage of online platforms. He emphasised on the drastic shift of media consumption through the advent of the internet.”


The ending paragraph of a precis is basically a restatement of all the main ideas and points already described in the introduction and body paragraphs. You are required to present the summary with different words and refrain from adding any subjective judgements or personal opinions in the conclusion.