Precis Writing for SBI Associate PO - Write The Perfect Summary

Published on Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Precis is pronounced as ‘preh-si’, and it means making a summary in your own words.

Before I share with you the dos and don’ts of precis writing, I would like you all to refer back to the basics of descriptive writing.

Okay, then, basics all brushed up, we proceed.

So what happens in precis writing? You’ll be given a paragraph, and you are needed to make a short summary of the contents of the paragraph in your
own words – please pay attention – as precisely and as briefly as possible.

These my friends are the golden words to be remembered – in precis you have to be precise and brief.

Precision means to be accurate and to be to the point.

Briefly means to write in as few words as possible including all the important points.

Thus your goal is to shorten the paragraph given, re-write it in your words, maintaining the core essence of the paragraph, in a concise and clear manner.

Steps to write a precis:

  1. Read the paragraph properly and identify the main idea of paragraph. Your precis will be written based on this central idea.
  2. Pencil down the points you think are important and should be included in the precis, and write them in short hand in the side margin.
  3. Write your summary, incorporating your points.
  4. Review it and edit if required.
  5. Erase the penciled points

Important points to remember

What you should do :-

1. Give a catchy title to the summary and underline it.
2. Maintain the same tense as in the given paragraph; if paragraph is given in past tense, then your summary should be in past tense too.
3. Number of words in the summary should be approximately 1/5th of the words in the paragraph.

But don’t waste time to count the words one by one! Count the number of words in the first sentence and multiply it with number of sentences, that’ll give you a rough idea.
4. Your summary should be only one paragraph.
5. Try to fit in all the relevant, important and necessary information only.
6. Retain the key words from the original paragraph; but change/substitute other words to write your summary.
7. MOST important rule!! Your précis should always be in third person, even if the paragraph is in first or second person.
8. And remember to check for grammatical and spelling errors.

What you should definitely NOT do!

1. Do not use figure of speeches...i.e., no ‘muhavras’ please!
2. Do not add your personal opinion; remember in precis your job is to shorten the given paragraph, maintaining the author’s views.
3. Do not quote any examples of your own. If the paragraph has an example, and you think it is important and relevant and should be included, only then should you do it.
4. Do not include information which you think are less important or are secondary in nature.
5. Do not use direct speech.
6. Do not add adjectives if not mentioned in the paragraph.

There you go folks! That’s all there is to go on Précis’ dos and don’ts front.

Précis is easy; all you need to remember is to be precise and brief!

Next up will be a feature on Letter Writing. Keep the comments and feedbacks coming in!

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