Precis Writing: Precis writing is an integral part of various MBA exams & Bank, Government Exams like UPSC, SSC, NABARD, SEBI, SIDBI, SBI PO, etc. It tests your ability to read, understand and present text in a clear, crisp, and concise manner.
The following article explains precis writing in detail and also provides steps to help you write your own precis:
What is Precis writing?
‘Precis’ (pronounced ‘Preisi’) is an old French word meaning ‘Cut short’. Precis is a concise summary or a miniature version of a passage, which includes all the essential points, mood, and tone of the author, and the main idea or gist of the passage. In short, Precis is a condensed version of a bigger passage.
Why is Precis Writing Helpful?
Writing a precis trains the writer to read passages carefully with concentration. It also helps you develop the skill to distinguish essential and non-essential parts of passages and forces you to pay close attention to what you’re reading.
Precis writing also improves one’s overall writing skills, like the construction of sentences in a logical order, and helps in expressing thoughts concisely, effectively, and clearly, by choosing words carefully.
Steps to Write a Precis
Step 1: Read the given passage carefully. Underline or highlight the important points and keywords or make a note of them (whichever is convenient). If you’re making a note of the important points, note them down in the same order as given in the original passage.
Step 2: After reading, make a note of the central theme/main idea/gist and the tone of the author of the passage.
Step 3: Re-read the article and compare it with your notes or check if you have missed underlining any crucial point.
Step 4: Provide your precis with an appropriate title (you can also do this after you finish writing your precis).
Step 5: Draft a precis based on the notes you have taken down or points you have underlined. Keep the following points in mind while writing your precis:
- A Precis isn’t simply the abstract of the passage, nor is it a mere selection of important sentences of the passage. A Precis needs to convey the main idea of the original passage, including all the important points, the author’s facts, opinions, ideas, and thoughts, with absolute clarity, in the precis writer’s own words.
- The main idea of the passage needs to be conveyed as accurately and as briefly as possible in the precis. Do not add long sentences or garrulous thoughts in your precis.
- The precis should be written in the precis writer’s own words (no copy-pasting) and should include all the essential points and the gist of the original passage, so that, the reader will be able to understand the idea behind the original passage without having to go through it.
- The language used to write precis should be clear, crisp & concise.
- Include a statement that explains why the research was conducted (in case it’s research) or why the piece of writing was written (in case of an article)
- Discard the non-essential parts of the original passage and do not include them in your precis.
- Precis is always written in the third person and in a reported speech. Any history-related fact in a precis is to be written in the past tense.
- A precis needs to be objective. It doesn’t offer evaluations or critical analysis. Hence, refrain from including your opinions, subjective interpretations, personal reactions, wishes, remarks, or criticisms in your precis.
- Do not include abbreviations or contractions in your precis.
- A Precis should make logical sense and follow the chronology of events in the same way as the original passage.
- Officials mentioned in the precis need to be provided with designations instead of names or titles. In case the designation is missing, you can use their personal name.
- There are no rigid rules to how lengthy your precis can be, but as a general rule, your precis should be not more than one-third of the total number of words in the original passage.
- The precis needs to make logical sense and have the exact same logical structure, chronology, proportions, order, ideas, facts, and thoughts as that of the original passage.
- The precis needs to read smoothly. Precis is a connected whole. The precis reader needs to be able to sift from one point to another in a smooth manner.
Step 6: Review your precis. It’s important to review your precis to confirm that you have included all the essential points, supporting evidence, and the gist from the original passage and to ensure coherence, and correctness with respect to grammar and spelling, and clarity. Post-review, count the number of words of the precis and put them down in a bracket at the end.
A Good Precis Format | Precis Writing Samples with Answers
- Is Clear, Concise, Coherent, and Precise
- Is written in the precis writer’s own words
- Contains all the essential points, the author’s tone, facts, opinions, thoughts, and the main idea of the original passage
- Is well-knit and makes logical sense and follows a logical order
- Won’t contain details not found in the original passage
- Is well-structured has no language errors and makes a meaningful passage
Precis Samples with Answers
Here’s a sample Precis for your reference:
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.
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:
- What is the basic theme of the passage?
- Which are the most important points in the passage?
- Which are the points that I can eliminate?
A good practice would be to make a rough note of these points.
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.
Precis Writing Answer
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.
Precis Writing Example 2
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.
We hope the above tips help you write better precis. We wish you all the very best!
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