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Precis Writing – Rules, Tips & Questions

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Rules of Precis Writing

To avoid making any errors in writing a precis, follow a set of rules as mentioned below:

  1. Read the comprehension carefully
  2. Note down the important points
  3. Make a rough draft of the precis
  4. Make use of simple and precise language, as much as possible
  5. Draft the final precis once all the points have been included 

The topic of precis writing is not included in all exams, but the most common exams where this topic is included in the syllabus are SSC exams, RRB exams, etc. 

Important Features of a Good Precis

There are various components that make a good precis. For candidates who have just started their preparation for the upcoming Government exams, knowing the features of a good precis is extremely vital.

Discussed below are a few of the features which shall help you write a good precis:

  • Length of the Precis: Do not write a lengthy precis. In most cases, the number of words must be almost one-third of the word count of the passage or comprehension.
  • It should be convenient to read: Make sure that the precis you write does not have too complex a vocabulary or is too complicated to understand.
  • Cover all the essential points: While reading the passage, make a note of the important points and ensure that no point is skipped.
  • Must be coherent: The important terms with respect to the passage must be included in the precis as well. 
  • Use an appropriate Title: The precis needs to have a title. So, the candidates must ensure that the title is in sync with the comprehension. 
  • Details in precis must match the details in the passage: No other information apart from the one given in the passage must be included in the precis and all the important information mentioned in the passage must certainly be included.

Dos & Don’ts in Precis Writing

Every year lakhs of candidates appear for the competitive exams conducted in our country. Out of those only a few are able to crack the exam and get appointed. Since most competitive exams have now become computer-based, the descriptive test is still checked offline.

Candidates must know that with thousands of entries that need to be checked, there are certain quick points which the examiner looks for and which may get the maximum marks for your precis writing. 

Based on the same information, given below are a few Dos and Don’ts, which a candidate needs to understand before starting to write a precis.

Dos for Precis Writing

  • Begin with the basic idea of the passage to make the precis convenient to read.
  • Give a clear idea pertaining to what the reader is about to read.
  • While reading the passage, make a note of all the important points and include them in the precis.
  • Follow the main idea of the passage with the facts/points of improvement/ methods,, etc. as mentioned in the comprehension.
  • Include all the important keywords and terms which are used in the passage.
  • Keep a track of the tenses you use. Data related to historical events of the past must be described in the past tense only.
  • There must be a relation between the data you are writing in the precis. It should have some common links.

Don’ts for Precis Writing 

  • The length of the precis must be shorter than the length of the passage.
  • Do not overcomplicate the precis and use easy vocabulary.
  • Do not make assumptions or add information in the precis as per your own imagination.
  • Do not give your own opinion or criticism over the comprehension.
  • Avoid using abbreviations.
  • Do not enter statements in the question format in the precis.
  • Don’t focus on any one point for very long. Keep the information as precise as possible.  

Precis Writing Examples and Questions

A paragraph on any topic may be presented in the question paper and candidates must know that they do not need any extra or general information to write the precis. So, even if the topic of the comprehension is not well known by the candidate, he/she must not panic and must pay attention while reading the passage.

Converting what has been written in the passage into your own words and ensuring the reader understands what the paragraph says, is the only job of an applicant while writing a precis.

Given below is a precis writing example, for your reference.

Comprehension Passage: 

Everybody knows what a “good” man means and how he should be. Our definition of a good man is the one who does not smoke, or drink or avoids the usage of bad language. A good man is ideally expected to converse in front of men as he would in front of women. He is also expected to attend the Church regularly and have correct opinions on all subjects. He has a wholesome horror of wrong-doing and realizes that it is our painful duty to reprimand sin. He is not anticipated to have wrong thinkings and has the authority to protect the young. His duties are not just restricted to the professional front but also needs to spend quality time doing good deeds. He must be patriotic and a keen believer of military training, he should promote industry, must be sober and have virtue among wage earners and their children. He must be a role model for all and it is expected that he leads a way which the younger generation would willingly follow. Above all, of course, his “morals” in the narrow sense must be admirable.

Precis Writing:

Title: Attributes of a Good Man

The characteristics of a good man are known and he is expected to be religiously profound, must not smoke, drink or use bad language. His behaviour must be the same for all genders and he is expected to be a role model for the young ones. He must know his duties and avoid taking up the path of sin. He must be good not only in the professional space but also help people in need. He must be someone who can be admired and is praiseworthy. 

Candidates may note that all the information which was mentioned in the comprehension has been precisely covered in the precis in understandable and easy to read language, along with an appropriate title.

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