Précis Writing

What is a Précis?

A précis is an intelligent summary of a long passage. It aims at testing your understanding of the passage. As it is a summary, it is always shorter than the original passage. It expresses only the main theme as concisely as possible. In this article you will learn all about Précis Writing.


  • Read the passage carefully; more than once if needed. Make a note of the important points.
  • Make at least two drafts—a rough one and a fair one.
  • The rough draft has the essence of the original passage.
  • The fair draft is a good summary of the main points from the rough draft.


  • Express your own opinion.
  • Use a question in the précis.
  • Use abbreviations or contractions.

Précis Writing Samples

Sample 1

When we survey our lives and efforts, we soon observe that almost the whole of our actions and desires are bound up with the existence of other human beings. We notice that whole nature resembles that of the social animals. We eat food that others have produced, wear clothes that others have made, live in houses that others have built. The greater part of our knowledge and beliefs has been passed on to us by other people through the medium of a language which others have created.

Without language and mental capacities, we would have been poor indeed comparable to higher animals.
We have therefore to admit that we owe our principal knowledge over the least to the fact of living in human society. The individual if left alone from birth would remain primitive and beast like in his thoughts and feelings to a degree that we can hardly imagine. The individual is what he is and has the significance that he has not much in virtue of the individuality, but rather as a member of a great human community, which directs his material and spiritual existence from the cradle to the grave. (193 words)

Rough Draft

  1. Humans are social animals.
  2. They depend on each other for necessities and social needs.
  3. Humans use language to communicate with each other and further their mental development.
  4. Humans are superior to animals as they live in societies that guide their material and spiritual existence.
  5. Also Read Informal Letter

TITLE: Man and society

PRECIS: Human beings have their actions and desires bound up with society as they are social animals. They depend on each other for food and clothes and share their knowledge and beliefs, and use language created by others to communicate, which helps in their mental development. They are superior to beasts because they live in human society. An individual left alone since birth would grow utterly beast like. The human society guides man’s material and spiritual existence. (76words)

Sample 2

One of our most difficult problems is what we call discipline and it is really very complex. You see, society feels that it must control or discipline the citizen, shape his mind according to certain religious, social, moral and economic patterns.

Now, is discipline necessary at all? Please listen carefully. Don’t immediately say YES or NO. Most of us feel, especially while we are young, that there should be no discipline, that we should be allowed to do whatever we like and we think that is freedom. But merely to say that we should be free and so on has very little meaning without understanding the whole problem of discipline.

The keen athlete is disciplining himself the whole time, isn’t he? His joy in playing games and the very necessity to keep fit makes him go to bed early, refrain from smoking, eat the right food and generally observe the rules of good health. His discipline and punctuality is not an imposition but a natural outcome of his enjoyment of athletics. (171 words)

Rough Draft

  1. Discipline is disliked by many.
  2. Discipline moulds our minds and habits.
  3. Discipline should not be treated as an imposition.
  4. Discipline is an outcome of good habits.
  5. Also read Formal Letter

TITLE: The Importance of Discipline

PRÉCIS: Although many people detest discipline, it is crucial in moulding our lives and habits. It should not be treated as an imposition but rather a natural outcome of good habits. (30 words)

Sample 3

It is observed that in schools offering co-education, there is often a power struggle between boys and girls. Even teachers become a part of this when they compare the two and pass gender-biased judgements. Such a treatment is harmful for the overall wellbeing of the students, as their self-esteem is
damaged on receiving undue criticism from teachers.

According to research, boys are often neglected in co-ed schools. Right from their childhood, they are expected to be tougher, stronger and better than the girls. This is a disadvantage for both the genders. When girls are not challenged enough, it makes them repressed and dependent. On the other hand, boys are challenged to such an extent that their childhood
and innocence is lost. (121 words)

Rough Draft

  1. Co-education schools display a power struggle between boys and girls
  2. Teachers too compare and judge
  3. Negative feedback crushes students’ self-esteem
  4. Boys are neglected in co-ed schools
  5. Boys and girls are stereotyped right from schools

TITLE: The Challenges in a Co-Education System

PRÉCIS: Co-education schools often show a power struggle between boys and girls. Boys are constantly pushed beyond their limits and girls are repressed. Their childhood and innocence is lost in this struggle, as the negativity and stereotyping from the teachers crushes their self-esteem. (42 words)

Sample 4

Miss Sullivan was an exceptionally brilliant teacher to Helen Keller. She dedicated her entire life for the training and education of Helen. She was chosen by Mr Anognos, the director of Perkins Institution, and took up the challenge with conviction. She had to face a lot of difficulties to get the child to respond to her presence.

She was kicked and pinched by Helen, but her resistance did not waver Miss Sullivan’s decision. She persevered to gain her trust and then gradually began to teach her. She used her expertise and patience while developing innovative methods to teach Helen. She loved her student dearly and was always available for her aid. She helped Helen see the world through her eyes. She dedicated herself entirely for her education. Her dedication and constant support motivated Keller in her life. The day she first met Helen was rightly called by her as ‘her soul’s birthday’. (152 words)

Rough Draft

  1. Miss Sullivan was chosen by the director of Perkins Institution to train Helen Keller.
  2. She persevered to gain her trust.
  3. Used her expertise and innovative methods to teach her.
  4. She became Helen’s eyes and dedicated her entire life for the training and education of Helen.

TITLE: Miss Sullivan

PRÉCIS: Miss Sullivan, who was chosen by the director of Perkins Institution to train Helen Keller, used her expertise and innovative methods to teach Helen. Miss Sullivan persevered to gain her trust and thus became her eyes, thereby dedicating her entire life to the training and education of Helen. (48 words)

Sample 5

There are different types products received from forests in India. Forest products are important in the growth and development of industries. Timber is utilised in building activities, industries and in carpentry workshops. Asia’s largest saw mill is in operation in the Andaman Islands. Rubber trees are grown in large numbers on the Western Ghats. A large number of industries are dependent on rubber in the Peninsular
India. Wood pulp is made from the wood of the forests and paper is manufactured from the pulp. The States of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh have several paper mills The city of Nepa in Madhya Pradesh has a newsprint industry. Lac and Wax are used in manufacturing paints.
(118 Words)

Rough Draft

  1. Timber is used in building and carpentry.
  2. Rubber is grown in the Western Ghats.
  3. There are many rubber industries in Peninsular India.
  4. Wood pulp is used in making paper.
  5. Lac and wax are used in making paints.

TITLE: Forest Products

PRÉCIS: Different products are received from forests in India. Timber is used in building and carpentry. The rubber trees from the Western Ghats serve many industries in the Peninsular India. The pulp extracted from wood is used for making paper. Lac and wax are used in making paints. (47 words)

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