How to Write a Precis? – Right Approach & Some Tips for Precis Writing

A precis (pronounced pressee) is a summary. Hence, Precis writing aims at summarizing content given in the paragraph. A précis should be written in simple and lucid language. The goal of writing a précis is to present all the important points in the passage in a few words so that it makes an easy read.

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The Length of a Precis:

1. A precis must always be much shorter than the original passage. An ideal precis would not contain more than one-third of the number of words in the original text.

2. Generally, the number of words is given at the end of the paragraph. All you need to do is divide the number by three.

3. Be sure to count all the words in the paragraph. Some guides do not include the articles and prepositions in the count, while most do.

4. It is time-consuming to count the words in the time given for all segments in the descriptive paper in the exams, so an approximation would be okay until the summary is less than one-third of the original text.

Quick tip: You can count the words in one line and then multiply the count with the number of lines in the paragraph to get a fairly accurate number of words.

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Approach for Precis Writing:

To write a good precis, read the passage given in question carefully. It is advisable to read the passage multiple times and thoroughly understand the paragraph. After you finished reading the passage, think of a suitable title for your precis. While you write a precis, follow a logical sequence of events as given in the original passage. Avoid phrases like “In my opinion”, “In my view” etc. 

The precis should be written in past tense and indirect speech. Use easily understandable language. 

Ask yourself questions like:

  1. What is the basic theme of the passage?
  2. Which are the most important points in the passage?
  3. Which are the points that I can eliminate?

A good practice would be to make a rough note of these points. Always write the précis in a rough draft. Revise your draft multiple times before you make a fair copy on a fresh page.

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Points to keep in mind while Precis Writing:

  1. Try to express in your words what is said on each of the main points. You may rearrange the ideas in your own way, but your final copy does not seem to be a series of sentences patched together. It should read as a complete paragraph.
  2. A précis should not contain any extra information. Avoid rhetorical questions and do not give your own opinion.
  3. Also, directly quoting phrases from the original text should be avoided.
  4. Convert the direct speech into indirect while writing a précis.
  5. It is necessary to avoid exclamations, interrogations etc. Simplify the figures of speech.

Precis Writing Example

  1. Read the passage carefully and write a summary of the same in your own words.
    No paraphrasing/rephrasing is allowed.

Nigeria spends an average of US $22 billion each year on food imports. Its major food imports include wheat, sugar and fish. Another big import, rice, accounts for about US$1.65 billion. Most of the country’s rice is imported from Thailand and India. This has led analysts to predict it will be the world’s second-largest importer of rice after China in 2019.

There are a few reasons that Nigeria’s demand for rice is so high. Among them is rapid urbanisation; people who arrive in cities and seek out cheap, nutritious, filling food invariably turn to rice. More traditional coarse grains like sorghum and millet have become less popular over the years. This, according to research, is because rice is “a more convenient and easy staple to prepare compared to other traditional cereals across income levels in the urban areas”.

Now Nigeria’s government is trying to stem the tide of imported rice. Towards the end of 2018, it announced its intention to halt rice imports entirely. In doing so, it hopes to save a great deal of money. But is this plan realistic? Unfortunately, it’s not. Nigeria’s agricultural sector simply isn’t equipped to produce the amount of rice to meet demand. It is battling natural and climatic factors, a lack of funding and training for farmers, and a dearth of government support. To turn this around, the government needs to invest heavily in rice farmers.


Nigeria and its Import of Rice

There are reasons for the high demand for rice in Nigeria, which makes it to import $1.65 billion worth of rice out of a total $22 billion food imports each year and is predicted to become world’s second-largest importer of rice after China in 2019. Rapid urbanization, cheapness and nutritional value are some of the reasons for its high demand. The choice of rice is because of its convenience and easiness to prepare. 

The Government is putting a blanket ban on rice imports as announced towards the end of 2018 in order to save money. But the plan is unrealistic by design since Nigeria’s agricultural sector is not prepared to meet its rice demand. On top of that, Nigeria is battling other factors too of natural and climatic nature, dearth of funding and farmers’ training. To solve these problems, the Government should invest in rice farmers aggressively. 

2. Read the passage carefully and write a summary of the same in your own words.
No paraphrasing/rephrasing is allowed.

Recently, the National Health Authority (NHA) and the All India Transporters Welfare Association (AITWA) have announced a partnership through a memorandum of understanding (MoU). This partnership aims to provide healthcare services to around 10 million truck drivers under the Ayushman Bharat (AB)-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY). The NHA and the AITWA will work together in order to identify truck drivers and employees of transport companies who are eligible for the scheme. The Common Service Centres (CSCs), which comes under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, will work toward facilitating the verification of drivers using the NHA’s Beneficiary Identification System. This collaboration will help thousands of eligible families access in-patient care for serious illnesses at a nationwide network of 19,002 government and private hospitals empanelled under the PM-JAY. After the verification, the eligible drivers can get their AB PM-JAY e-cards at the nearest AITWA Highway Hero Centres. In the first phase, a pilot project will be conducted at key locations under the AITWA and the AB PM-JAY. This will be expanded to other towns across the country. Eligible drivers and employees of different transport companies will be able to avail themselves of the benefits after getting the PM-JAY cards. NHA officials will work closely with the teams of the AITWA and the CSCs to conduct the drive to identify beneficiaries.
Title: Healthcare Services for Truck Drivers under Ayushman Bharat

To identify and provide healthcare services to 10 million truck drivers employees of transport companies under the AB PM-JAY, the NHA and AITWA announced a partnership through a MoU. In-patient care will be accessible to thousands of eligible families at around 19,002 government and private hospitals. The first phase aims to conduct a pilot project at key locations. The eligible drivers can obtain their AB PM-JAY e-cards at the nearest AITWA Highway Hero Centres and avail the benefits after their verification using NHA’s Beneficiary Identification System is done by the CSCs.

3. Sample Precis with hints


So, from this passage, the following main points can be inferred:

  1. Money is indeed one of the common attractions for almost everyone in life. Everyone regardless of their profession has some affinity towards money.
  2. However, those who are intelligent and sensible do not make money the main object or aspiration of their lives.

How can you identify the main points from the passage? By looking at which ideas have been repeated for the maximum number of times.

Following then, the Precis should include the following main points including:

  1. Money is a common attraction
  2. However intelligent and sensible professionals do not prioritize it over their work
  3. A soldier’s objective is to win battles, not to get paid for winning them
  4. A clergyman’s objective is to preach and baptize, not to get paid for preaching and baptizing
  5. A doctors’ objective is to cure patients, not to get paid for curing them

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So, this was all from us in this blog of “How to Write a Precis? – Right Approach for Precis Writing”. These tips would come in handy when you prepare for the descriptive papers of SSC CGL and RBI Grade B Exams because one question is definitely asked from the topic of Precis Writing. 

All the Best!

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