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

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. 

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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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