Barbara P
Barbara P

How to Write a Precis - Step by Step Guide

6 min read

Published on: Dec 3, 2019

Last updated on: Dec 21, 2022

How to Write a Precis

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A precis is a summary of the written work, and it explains the main argument without doing critical analysis. Also, it does not require you to write your personal opinion.

Writing a precis is a complex or challenging task for some students because not every student has to know how to use the skill of conciseness in their writing.

Therefore, continue reading this blog and know how to write a précis writing like professional writers.

What is a Precis?

A precis is a piece of writing in which the writer summarizes another text, key ideas, and arguments. It is usually written about a book, an article, or a novel. Therefore, in precis, an in-depth critical analysis should not be required. However, the writer objectively explains the situation that is narrated in the book or the literary piece.

The main purpose of the precis is to keep the essence of the original report in a manner that is both clear and concise.

Moreover, the precis is written according to the author’s point of view. It explains the core of the text. The writer’s personal opinion is not included in the precis; only essential parts or points are covered.

A good rhetorical précis should be:

  • Short and accurate
  • Stick to the theme
  • Clear and defined

However, in precis, you should follow the proper format and include the main examples where relevant.

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Importance of Precis Writing

Precis writing is one of the most efficient methods that provide the crux of a lengthy written work. Nowadays, people are so busy and have enough time to read journals, newspapers, books, etc. Therefore, they only require the main points, and in this situation, the precis is the best solution.

Here are some benefits of precis writing:

  • It helps the reader to understand the core of the text quickly.
  • All the points can be described and discussed equally.
  • It helps in your educational and professional career.
  • It improves writing skills and reading practices.
  • It only contains important information.
  • It easily summarizes the bulk of text into a few words or sentences.

Precis Format

The precis is common academic writing, and it is different from a precis essay. Its format is not difficult, and you should follow it to create a well-written precis. Here is a format for your ease.


      • Indicate the author’s name, article/book title, date of publishing.
      • Outline the author’s main purpose.
      • Include the thesis statement.

Main Body

      • Explain the main points.
      • Write a statement that reflects the author’s main purpose.


    • Present finishing remark.
    • Restate the main claim.

How to Write a Precis Step by Step?

Writing a great precis seems like a challenging task if you don’t know how to write it. However, it’s simple and easy if you follow the proper steps.

Therefore, for your help, we have gathered some steps to follow while writing a perfect precis.

1. Read The Text

First, you have to understand what the author has written. Make sure you have a clear understanding of their argument.

However, read the text several times if you don’t understand it. If you notice any unfamiliar word, search it and understand it before writing in the precis.

2. Annotate the Text

In this step, identify the important information and make notes. This step is necessary because it shows you how well you understand the text. Also, it will help you decide what’s important information is included in the precis.

Therefore, you can use different colored highlighters and highlight the supporting arguments and major details. Also, write notes in the margins and explain the main arguments in your own words.

3. Restate the Text Thesis

The thesis is the part in which the author’s argument contains and is essential for the precis. You can easily get the thesis statement at the beginning of the text.

However, if you read a longer text, you may need to do a close reading to find the thesis statement. Also, you should know what the author is trying to prove or show.

4. Summarize Each Section of the Text

Divide the text into different sections such as headings, subheadings, or chapters. It will help you understand the text, and you can easily write the precis without forgetting the main points.

When you write the precis of a novel, summarize each chapter. In contrast, if you write a precis for a journal that is already divided into sections, you summarize each paragraph. Make sure that you include only the key points and strong evidence in the precis.

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5. Determine the Author’s Purpose of Writing

You must explain the author’s purpose in your precis writing. Sometimes, the authors don’t state it, so you should determine it yourself. You should have to keep some questions in mind when determining the purpose of writing.

  • What was the author trying to accomplish?
  • What do they want the reader to think after reading the text?
  • What was the message that the author wanted to deliver to the reader?

Therefore, these questions will help you to figure out the purpose of your precis.

6. Develop the Precis Outline

The outline will help you in writing the precis effectively. It's like a roadmap and keeps your information organized, therefore try to create an effective one from scratch or with some minor adjustments for style as needed.

7. Start the Writing Phase

In the first sentence of the precis, introduce the author, genre, date, and topic. This information is necessary for the readers to understand the precis.

Explain how the author supports their argument in the second sentence. Then, explain the main purpose of the text that the author is trying to achieve. Lastly, describe the intended audience and restate the main idea.

However, before starting to write the precis, you should consult your teacher and understand their guidelines.

8. Revising and Proofreading your Precis

When you finish writing the precis, start the revising and proofreading step. In this stage, you need to improve the typos, spelling, and grammar mistakes. Compare your precis with the original text and eliminate the redundant text.

You can also ask someone to proofread your work, and then you remove all the mistakes. However, make sure that your precis is free from all mistakes and errors.

Have a look at the following template to get a better idea of writing a precis.

Professional Tips for Writing the Precis

Here are some tips that you should follow to write a great precis.

  • Understand your teacher’s requirements.
  • Write it in the present tense.
  • Not include any irrelevant and secondary details.
  • Do not use any abbreviations and contractions.
  • It must have a title.
  • It follows the logical order of the original article.
  • Write as much as you can, but in a precise way.
  • You cannot write your personal opinion.
  • The precis should be well-connected with the original text.
  • Don’t omit important details, and avoid writing lengthy sentences.
  • Write a precis in your own words.
  • Do not take information from outside the article.
  • The precis is completed in one paragraph.
  • Understand your target audience.
  • The precis should explain the structure of the original work.
  • Follow the proper format of rhetorical precis.

Therefore, now you have to know how to write a great precis in easy and simple steps. However, if you need expert writing help, consult We are the best online essay writing service that helps you with all your academic assignments.  

So, what are you waiting for? Simply hire our online essay writer and get professional writing help.

Frequently Asked Question

How long is a precis?

The length of the precis should vary. However, it can be 100-200 words long.

Is precis writing in the third person?

You can easily write a precis in the third person and past tense. However, a precis should always write in your own words and without borrowing from the original passage.

Barbara P


Barbara P (Literature, Marketing)

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

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