Tips and Tricks for Writing a Good Scoring Precis

Writing a good scoring precis is the ultimate goal of any student and it is not so difficult. It only requires your attention and a few tips and tricks. In CSS examination, the questions of precis writing are always very tricky. That’s why In this post I am going to share with you some tips and tricks for writing a good scoring Precis.

Let’s find out.

Tips and Tricks for Writing a Good Precis

Follow these tips and tricks for writing a good precis for your examination:

Go through the Passage

Go through the passage to make an overall sense of the passage. Skim through the passage to find out what the passage is about.

Second Reading is Important

Your second reading should be more thoroughgoing. Look for the main argument and the supporting details.

Don’t worry about Difficult Words

Difficult and unfamiliar words will attract your attention but you should not worry too much about such words or expressions. You are supposed to make an overall sense of the passage, and that can be done even if some parts of the passage make little sense to you. While trying to decipher the meaning of an unfamiliar word, look at what comes before and after that word. The surrounding words can give helpful contextual clues about the meaning and function of the word in the text.

Important Note: It is advisable not to use a dictionary or thesaurus while practicing precis writing. This will develop in you the ability to work out contextual meanings. Moreover, it will be good training for the examination where you will not have the access to a dictionary.

“Learn to distinguish between important and less important details.

Read Paragraph Forward and Backward

A paragraph can be understood by reading a text forward and backward, as one sentence may help you in understanding the other. Remember, no sentence makes its complete meanings in isolation. When a sentence is not making any sense to you there is no need to wrestle with it; leave it alone and come back to it later after reading the rest of the passage.

While writing a precis we do not borrow idioms, figures of speech, and phrases from the passage.

Don’t Use unnecessary Expressions

There is no need to start every precise with expressions like: “According to the writer” or “In the author’s view”. This is understood and there is no need to waste valuable space by mentioning what is obvious. However, this expression may be used in the case of autobiographical passages, written in the first person; or where the name of the writer is mentioned, and that too only once at the beginning of the precis.

Use Short and Simple Sentences

Try to write short, simple, and uninvolved sentences. Long and complex sentences can become difficult for you to handle, and confusing to the examiner. The language of precis should be simple and correct. Never try to impress the examiner with your vocabulary.

Don’t Use unnecessary Synonyms

Avoid using synonyms; different synonyms are used in different contexts and do not necessarily convey the same sense as the original word. Each word is used in a specific situation and cannot be substituted by a synonym in a mechanical way.

Use link words like ‘thus’, ‘however’, ‘moreover’, ‘hence’, ‘but’ or ‘in addition to’ very cautiously, only where they are really required. Inserting these words between the sentences randomly may make your precis look meaningless and even absurd.

Don’t Repeat Ideas

Repetition of ideas is a cardinal sin in a precis. Also, avoid repetition of words or expressions but keywords will have to be repeated. For example, if the passage is about education, the word education will have to be used again and again. Replacing it with words like ‘pedagogy’, ‘instruction’, ‘teaching’, ‘knowledge’, or ‘schooling’ will look absurd.

Divide Long Paragraphs

In case you find it difficult to make an overall sense of the paragraph, divide the paragraph into four parts and note down the main idea expressed in each part. Then, link these ideas with the main theme of the precis. However, this is a defensive strategy, to be used only when there is no other option.

Many a candidate take the instruction — (write the precis in your own words) – too religiously and think that the words of the passage are a forbidden fruit. The keywords that are essential to the theme of the passage must not be changed.

In their eagerness to substitute the words in the original text, candidates end up using totally inappropriate words.

Avoid Using Lofty Language

Avoid using ornamental and lofty language in the precis. Do not try to outsmart or overstep the author; in content or style. There is no need to further embellish the expression of the author.

Stick to what the author says and never add your own views in a precis.

Examiner’s Expectations for Checking Precis

An examiner needs the following points to give a good score for precis writing:

  1. Clarity: A precis should be lucid and easily understandable. There should be no ambiguity in the expression.
  2. Correctness: Ensure that the facts and figures are correct. The structure of sentences and spelling of words must be correct because the structure and spelling mistakes will spoil your precis.
  3. Objectivity: Objectivity means the ability to present the facts, uncolored by our personal feelings, opinions, and biases.
  4. Coherence: A good precis should be coherent. Coherence means the logical and clear interconnection of ideas in a written piece of work. The ideas presented in a precis must have a logical connection and they should be interrelated. Coherence does not come automatically by placing link words. Use these words only where they fit in.
  5. Completeness: Completeness means that the writer should include all the important facts in a precis. No important idea should be omitted.
  6. Conciseness: Write only what is necessary and avoid reproducing unnecessary details.

To achieve conciseness, take note of the following suggestions:

  1. Omit unnecessary details.
  2. Eliminate long, winding expressions.
  3. Include only relevant material.
  4. Avoid unnecessary repetition.

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