Precis writing is an important part of syllabus in lot of English exams. It is an important exam component in various UPSC exam, RBI Grade B, Nabard recruitment and many other competitive exams in India. Here in this article, we will see important tips and tricks to write a best précis for a given passage.
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How to write a good précis
As a candidates appearing in different exams, we are expected to read a short passage (500-600 words) and write a brief summary of that article. This summary or abstract of the text is called précis. A precis is the gist of a passage expressed in as few words as possible. A precis should give all essential points so that anyone reading it will be able to understand the idea expressed in the original passage. Here in this article, we will see how to read the article in best way, and what are the important points to be covered in writing a good précis.
Reading the passage in précis writing
Precis writing is basically an extension of a reading comprehension exercise where we are expected to read through the passage and answer questions based on the passage. The only difference here is that in précis, we are expected to write an abstract of the passage, and highlight the idea that the author is trying to convey in a simplistic manner.
When we are reading any passage, we need to 2 revisions, first reading is basically a fast one, for a 500 words passage, this reading will take 30-45 sec. This is to note down important paragraphs, or important stats which author is giving. This will help us in understand underlying theme of the article.
Our second iteration in reading the passage is basically slower one, in this we will highlights important points (by pen or by taking notes), and create a detailed mind map of the sequence of events taking place in passage. This part will usually take 3-4 mins for a 500 words précis. Main objective of this part is start filling in the headlines, and structuring the passage.
You might need to do a third iteration, if you are still not clear with the passage. This part is mostly similar to second part. It is very important that your schema is ready, and you have understood every sentence loud and clear. There should not be any issue with any new words or confusing sentences.
Following points are required in this reading stage
- Try to read and annotate the article. Annotating means marking your text to identify important information and make notes to yourself. It’s important to annotate when writing a précis because it shows you how you interact with a text, and how you’ve come to understand it over time. Additionally, it’ll help you decide what’s important enough to include in your précis.
- You should be clear why this article was written, what was in author mind. What are the main purposes of writing this article by author. For example, an article in which author is highlighting latest climate convention and referring to response from various global leader, author is basically trying to highlight issue of global warming and climate change. He is also trying to highlight what are the major happening in world on this issues, and what are different governments are doing.
- Check if author is trying to produce any evidences (like recent incidents, statistics etc) to validate his point. This is basically reinforcing author point on the incident. For example, decrease in ice cover, increase in sea level, frequent flooding and forest fires are some of the examples in which author is justifying his article.
- Now, write a one word summary of the author viewpoints for given topics. This will be easily be title of your précis.
- Write important sections and subsections for the article. Each sections and subsections should have been justified and given equal weightage by author.
- Reread the article, and compare it with your scheme which you have designed. Fix it if something is broken.
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Once we are done, we are now ready to write a précis.
Things to be followed in writing précis
A précis is ideally one-third of the original passage. For a 500 words passage, do not exceed more than 160-170 words in writing précis.
You are expected to introduce audience to what author wants to say in the given passage. What is main objective of this passage and to whom it is targeted.
Each body paragraph should explain a separate section of the text and should provide the evidence (though in greatly condensed form) that the writer has used to support that section. If used, quotations should be brief, should be correctly introduced or incorporated, and should be correctly attributed.
The conclusion should restate the main idea of the text and reiterate the main support. Remember to avoid any personal statements about the text.
In this article, you have seen tips and tricks to write a good précis. Precis writing is important part of many competitive exams. If you have any questions or doubt, you can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.