Home Blog General Guides How to Write a Precis

How to Write A Precis: Step-by-Step Guide

How to Write A Precis: Step-by-Step Guide

You're sitting in class daydreaming and suddenly you hear the Professor assigning homework.

He's talking about writing a precis.

"What is a precis?"

If you're on the internet trying to figure out how to get your assignment done then congratulations, you are at the right place.

This guide will teach you how to write a precis step by step, with informative examples and templates.

Precis Definition?

What is a precis? It is derived from the French word précis, which means “a concise summary.” The literal meaning of the term is precise or cut short.

Unlike a summary that condenses and presents the main ideas only, a precis presents every detail and should be one third of the original text. It is a clear and to the point summary of the key ideas of a passage, but it is more detailed than a summary. It isn’t merely a paraphrased text. When asked to write a precis summary, make sure that the key points are being reflected along with its tone and mood, etc.

The key to writing a précis is to keep it concise and simple with a clear and defined structure.

You may be given a summary on a scholarly article, dissertation, or any other published work.

Remember, that you don’t need to add your personal opinion. Your job is to analyze the main points and events in your own words and present them concisely.

Let's move on to the next section to see how to write a precis?

megaphone Paper Due? Why suffer? That’s our job! Click here to learn more.

Precis Characteristics

  • It is a critical summary of a published piece of writing.
  • Not a re-written version of the original piece.
  • Written in your own words and not in the words from the original piece unless you are quoting it.
  • Its length is ¼ of the length of the original piece unless you are told otherwise by the professor.
  • A precis format includes the thesis that the original author supports, methods he used, results and conclusion.

Precis Qualities

A precis is a critical piece of writing, make sure that yours has the following qualities.

  • It should be well-written so the reader can easily understand what you are trying to convey. Use clear and simple language.
  • It must be correct and error-free, add correct facts and figures, check for any grammatical and punctuation mistakes.
  • Stay objective; only provide useful information and not your opinion.
  • It should be coherent with the original text.
  • Keep it concise; avoid adding unnecessary information.

How to Write a Rhetorical Precis?

Before starting the writing process, keep in mind that your precis should be able to make the reader understand the original work without having read it.

As any other academic writing, start by conducting thorough reading and research. Just because it is a small piece of writing doesn't necessarily mean that it is going to be easy or quick.

The writing process can be divided into examining the original work, creating a structure and the writeup itself.

To find out how to write a precis, follow the tips mentioned below.

  • Read the work under analysis carefully and note down the essential points and arguments. Try different reading practices to better understand the work.
  • Focus on what the author is trying to communicate through his work.
  • Point out the evidence and appeals used by the author.
  • Restate the thesis stated by the author in your words according to your interpretation. Remember, to keep it short and to the point.
  • For each section, write a summary that is one-two sentences long. Include the summary of each section, but it shouldn't be too long.
  • The key is to describe the original piece in your own words.
  • Once you are done with the summary, read the original piece again to ensure if it's in accordance with your summary.
  • Go through the summary again to make sure you haven't missed any important point and used a logical structure.
  • Before handing in your document, make sure that it is clear and concise without any grammatical errors.

When it comes to writing a precis, you need to cite the attributes taken directly from the piece under analysis.

Also, keep in mind that teachers only assign a precis to check how well students can communicate their thoughts and want them to develop critical thinking skills.

megaphone Paper Due? Why suffer? That’s our job! Click here to learn more.

Precis Format

Precis outline is similar to an essay; it consists of an introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion.


The introduction consists of information about:

  • The author
  • Title
  • Publishing date within parenthesis
  • A verb to represent the thesis
  • The thesis


The body of the precis has separate paragraphs dedicated to each section of the original piece of work where you present the author's thoughts, ideas and purpose.

Don't forget that you can't give your own opinion or interpretation; instead, your focus should be to analyze the author's take on the main idea or issue.


With your conclusion simply restate the main idea without any personal statements.

To further strengthen your understanding, we have added the basic precis template for you to follow. Just go through it step by step to have a well-written precis.

pdf icon
Precis Template (PDF)

Precis Example

It is important to go through examples before you start writing it yourself as it will give you an idea how to start writing your own precis.

We have gathered informative precis examples for you to seek help from.

pdf icon
Precis Example (PDF)

Well, now that you have reached the end of this article we hope that you have found the answer to your question "how to write a precis?"

If you still think that the best option for you is seeking professional help then worry not.

At 5staressays we have the solution to all of your academic writing problems.

Our expert writers will help you come up with an exceptional precis worthy of impressing your professor of English and literature, in the most affordable rates.

Place your order now.?

megaphone Paper Due? Why suffer? That’s our job! Click here to learn more.

Was this helpful?

How can we improve it?

Subscribe to 5staressay's writing blog. Get email updates

Who are we?

We are U.S.-based, native English professional writers. We hold graduate and professional degrees from major universities (Princeton, Stanford, UCLA,Georgetown, Dartmouth, Penn, Northwestern). This is all that we do. We are accountable to our clients, and are proud to serve their needs on a “return customer”basis.

  • 100% ORIGINAL work.
  • ZERO plagiarism.
  • You OWN the writing.
  • Your privacy is guaranteed.
  • We meet YOUR DEADLINE.

If you’re after an “A”, you want the best. You want us.

Learn More