Precis Writing

Precis Writing: Fundamentals

Dear Aspirant,

Do you fear writing a Précis for the given passage in your Exam? If yes, these materials are for you. Go through these with a little effort. You’ll find yourself fully skilled in this Section.

Please follow the following to write a good Précis:-

  • Don’t start writing the final précis as soon as you come across the passage. Stop being panicky. You have enough time to write a précis; however, do more and more practices on it for time management.
  • Read the passage carefully twice and find out what the passage is all about.
  • The passage given may comprise more than one paragraph. Keep in mind the gist of that paragraph to be written in the final précis. A gist deals with only important things. But before you write the gist of the paragraph, jot down the important points of each paragraph (If only one, then it’s OK) in the text window of your computer. When your final précis is ready, delete the rough draft or any other memory links that you have jotted down on the computer.
  •  Assembling the gist of all the paragraphs, make a rough draft of your précis. The rough draft may exceed words, but don’t worry. Keeping the rough draft before your eyes, start writing the final Précis focusing on only those points which keep more importance.
  •  You’re expected to write a précis in 1/3 words of the original passage or paragraph in your own words. However, the word limit of your final Précis may exceed 8-10 words or fall behind by 8-10 words.
  • Finally, give your précis a suitable title.

You’ll get marks on the basis of the following qualities of your précis:-

1.  Completeness: It means, a good précis must contain all the essential contents of the given passage.

2.  Clarity: Until and unless you’ve grasped the holistic sense of the given passage, you will not be able to write a good précis. Clarity in your expressions comes about if you use your own words. If you are satisfied with what you have written, it means your précis is marks-fetching. Clarity in expression depends on the following things:

  • Good command over vocabulary (One word substitutions, Figures of Speech, Idioms and Phrases)
  • Good command over Sentence Structures (Practice on Synthesis and Analysis of Sentences will suffice)
  • Sound understanding power.

3.   Conciseness: It refers to maintaining brevity. Please, don’t patch up things, which means only to picking up some certain points and discarding the rest. Please, bear in mind that a good précis is an organic whole.

Suppose that the Precis Section of your exam carries 30 Marks, the following Evaluation Chart says something:

SIMode of EvaluationMaximum Marks (30)Marks Obtained
1.For Suitable Title5XX
2.Economy of Words5XX
3.Gist/Essence in your own words20XX

Abridging Sentences:

Dear Aspirant,

The following are the ways with the help of which you can abridge the passage given:

1.       Compression by Vocabulary

2.       Compression by Omission

3.       Compression by Shorter Construction

Let’s discuss each in detail:-

1.       Compression by Vocabulary

(A)   One word for Many Words

(1)    Agenda – Items of business to be considered at a meeting

(2)    Amateur – One who plays a game for pleasure and not professionally

(3)    Amnesty – General pardon of offenders

(4)    Anarchy – The want of any government in any state

(5)    Anonymous – A letter etc. bearing no name of the writer

(6)    Antidote – A medicine to counteract the effect of poison

(7)    Aristocracy – Government by the nobles

(8)    Autocracy – An absolute government by one man

(9)     One who is recovering from illness – Convalescent

(10) One who is all powerful – Omnipotent

(11) One who is present everywhere – Omnipresent

(12) One who knows everything – Omniscient

(13) One who is easily deceived – Gullible

(14) One who does not make mistakes – Infallible

(15) One who can do anything for money – Mercenary

                                                                                     …..many other

(B)   Phrase Substitution

(1)    A cry in the wilderness – Useless cry

(2)    A fish out of water – Restless

(3)    A red letter day – Memorable day

(4)    A snake in the grass – Hidden enemy

(5)    By all means – definitely

(6)    In a slow pace – Slowly

(7)    By hook or by crook – Anyhow

(8)    By leaps and bounds – Rapidly

(9)    Damocles’ sword – Danger

(10)Hard and fast – Fixed/ Certain

(11)Men of letters – A learned man

(12)Out and out – thoroughly

(13)To add fuel to the flame – to inflame

(14)To stand in the way – To obstruct

(15)To throw dust in one’s eyes – To deceive

                                                                   ….many more


Please, increase the stock of Idioms and Phrases and One Word Substitutions as much as possible.

Some work-out problems:

  1. Jawahar Lal Nehru was a man of letters. He was in favour of the idea out and out that the country should have the control over all the productions and their distributions.


  • A man of letters – a learned man
  • Out and out – fully
  • The country should have the control over all the productions and their distributions – Socialist country.


                  Learned Jawahar Lal Nehru fully favoured Socialism to be there in the country.

  1. Afjal Kasab was a man who could do anything for money. He was sent by neighboring country-Pakistan so that he could spread terror among the people of the country.


Afjal Kasab was a mercenary sent by Pakistan to terrorize the country.

  1. Two persons who were good at studying the elections were invited to the news channel. They were expected to analyze the elections which had been held some days before in the state Delhi.


  1. Two psephologists were invited to the news channel to analyze the Delhi elections held some days before.
  2. If we speak about the economy, India is facing today with perhaps its greatest emergency since it got Independence. The global financial cirisis in 2008-09 was a massive demand shock but our workers could still go to work, our firms were coming off years of strong growth, our financial system was largely sound and our government finances were healthy. None of this is true today as we fight the Corona Virus pandemic. Yet there is also no reason to despair. With the right resolve and priorities, and drawing on India’s many sources of strength, it can beat this virus back, and even set the stage for a much hopeful tomorrow.


Unlike the Global financial Crisis in 2008-09 when all activities were going on well, India is facing today its greatest emergency since Independence owing to Corona Virus. However, India hopes to come out of this situation soon.

So, friends, this is all about compressing the given sentences by using the stock of Vocabulary. Hence, increase its stock as much as possible.