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How to Write a Precis

It has always been stereotyped that college life is fun. It is, in fact, far from the truth, and the false bubble of happiness burst from the huge workload that the students face. Some students are more dedicated to learning and would focus on their career from an early age. Some might want a bit of free time for their hobbies or extra-curricular activities. You should always enjoy your life. Putting that aside, it is imperative to know how to Write a Precis so that you do not miss the deadline because that can hinder the process of getting a degree. It is known that precis writing is a tough task, and one should know how to write a precis as it plays an integral role in academic papers.

Not everyone out there is aware of the process of writing a precis. If you are one of them, this Article is a thorough guide that will explain the meaning of the term and the right way to write it, including some tips that you should know before writing your first precis.

The meaning of the term
After you finally finish an academic paper, the question of how to write a precis might have popped into your mind. “What is that?” some might think. A precis loosely translated means summary. It is a French word and means ‘precise’ or ‘cut brief’, you might say. Take a dissertation or an article from a scholar; you will find several synopses and concise summaries of the same. This is exactly what the term means. So how to write a precis?

When you start to learn how to write a precis, it is important to know that if you simply paraphrase a text, then it is not considered a precis. The precis should contain all the components of the article, and the reader should understand what the article talks about, yet be concise and simple. In a sentence, summing up the ideas of a certain literary work is called a precis. Unlike a critical analysis, a precis should not contain your own opinion; rather, it should be a collection of essential points from the article and be precise. You should always stick to the theme of the article when you are writing a precis. Here is an example of how to write a precis. You would get the basic idea of what it really is and also get the hang of the format.

“Matt Kamodang, in his article, “Who Knows What Happened That Summer”, says that despite several false claims, Tibetans are studying more as compared to the claims made. It is very important that we assess the preference of analysis, especially for certain types of “high culture” reading. Kamodang has supported the claims basis facts and figures by comparing past and present reading habits. He also challenged assumptions on reading’s intrinsic value. He aims to disperse certain myths or traditions about interpretation to question the value of reading. His sarcastic tone points towards him having a youthful audience in mind, suggesting he is opposing conventional ideas.”

It is just a sample of what a precis is. How it starts, flows through with the information, and finally ends. After you have given it a read, let’s start with some tips and show you how to write a precis.

Starting with the process
There are certain steps that you will need to follow when learning how to write a precis. These are very important and will help you complete the process effectively. First, scrutinize the source carefully and take some notes now and then for points you think are important. Next, outline a structure for your precis, it should have a crisp starting and ending, and all the important points you noted down should be included within the piece. Then figure out its length; it should not be very long, make it short, crisp, and to the point. And remember, always stick to the theme of the source and do not state your personal opinion. Here are some tips for you to check out on how to write a precis:

  • Carefully read the source article and mark the main points of the piece.
  • Try to understand what the author is trying to say through the text and reflect on it.
  • If the author has used evidence in the article, take a closer look.
  • You will have to use your own words when restating the thesis, make it short and precise.
  • You would need to mention each of the sections and at least write a line or two about all of them. It can be hard maintaining the length. State only the most important ones.
  • Read what you have written. If it doesn’t feel right, check if the contents of the summary are in sync with the contents of the article. You have to maintain the order too.
  • Use a structure that is logical and includes all the key points. Confirm the same in your write-up.
  • Check the clarity and tone of the text you have written. Do a final grammar check, and you are good to go?

When citing a precis, the original author of the source article and the source article’s title must be mentioned, along with the name of the author of the precis.

Note – Before starting, make sure you always check a precis.

Here is a look at how you can start writing it.

Marx argues that… [Insert quote], in his thesis “The Idea of Capitalism” (1897),

You can take inspiration from the below-mentioned sample for the ending.

“Marx’s tone takes into the assumption that the proletariats are being suppressed by the bourgeoisie, referring to an audience who are strong advocates of socialism.”

A good Precis Contains
Now that you know how to write a precis and is familiar with the format and the outline of its contents, let us see a precis, which is considered to be good, should contain.

  • The text should be precise and definitely should have clarity.
  • The summary will not contain sentences from the original text, and the author should use their own words.
  • It should cover the whole material of the text as comprehensively as possible, stating the key points in their entirety, yet be as concise as possible.
  • It should not be a paraphrased text rather a summary of the same.
  • The order of contents should be logical, and the text needs to be well connected throughout.
  • A title must be there.
  • The text should not contain any irrelevant details.
  • Information about the subject matter of the article taken from sources other than the article should not be mentioned.

Writing a Rhetorical Precis
Now that we saw how to write a precis let us now discuss how to write a rhetorical precis. You need to understand that writing a rhetorical precis requires a highly structured way of writing where the author needs to sum up the idea of the article in a brief manner. The author must fit the main ideas within four sentences and no more. It needs a lot of structure and a great deal of precision.

There are many debated formats of writing a rhetorical precis; you are free to try out any of them. Several are available online, but if you want good results, you should stick to one. Instead of feeling lost when your professor asks you to write a rhetorical precis, learn what it is here.

  • You have to fit the author’s name, the article title and the date everything in a single sentence. You would need to use a verb like refute, assert or argue and many more.
  • You need to explain how the author of the precis of the piece supports and develops his claim in a sentence.
  • You should state the purpose of the author, followed by the phrase ‘in order.
  • You should explain what the author is trying to say to the audience. Who do you think is the target audience? How the author tries to gain the attention of his audience? You need to ask yourself these questions.

Once you put all of these points together, the summary of the text will start to look impressive, and you will feel that the piece you have written is worthy of good grades. It should grasp the attention of the reader, but the whole idea should be summarized in no more than four sentences. Even though it is already hard to maintain the length, you should not stray off-topic, and you must end the precis in four sentences. Check some examples of rhetorical precis’ before you start to write one.

Good luck
This was a starting guide on how to write a precis. It is always easy to talk about something than doing it. You will face challenges; the thing to do is push through and find the perfect choice of words that summarize the source concisely. Rather than stating personal opinions, which is not such a hard task, writing a precis can be much more complicated, so you will need to keep a patient mind. Make sure that you read the article thoroughly and collect all the ideas before you frame a precis. It is surely going to be a good one.

The Modern Scholar Community has laws and rules that are very strict and often difficult to comply with. Higher education in the 21st century can be quite challenging, and no current student can deny that statement. There are many challenges in a student’s life, social activities, part-time jobs, exams, combining courses, and the top of all family life; all these things can sometimes be hard to manage at once. This is the reason we say there is nothing wrong with reaching out for help. As we have shown you how to write a precis, we can also assist you through a number of academic services that might help you through your courses. Rather than overwhelming yourself with unnecessary tasks, get help and complete your tasks on time.

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How to Write a Precis


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