How to Write a Good Precis and Learn Faster

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Wise professors say that students should write as many cheat notes as possible. But, they certainly aren’t allowed to use them during the exam. So why waste your time on these useless little sheets of paper? The answer might surprise you. Writing the cheat notes, actually, helps you to learn and memorize information.

Every time you write something down, your brain processes the note better than when you simply read the text. Thus, a precis is a great way to get prepared for your exam. We promise that this method will be much more effective than endless cramming. In the article below, we’ll share with you some secrets and tips on how to write a precis and get a straight A for your exam!

How to Write a Precis for Your Professor: 10 Tips

When you compose a precis as your academic assignment, you have to follow some rules. When you write it for your personal use, you can be as free as a bird!

Firstly, we’ll give you some tips on how to write a precis to get a better grade:

1. Stick to the rules of academic writing.

Composing a precis doesn’t require any creative effort from you, but you still have to follow academic rules. No jargon, no contractions, no exclamation marks! And we have some writing tricks about academic papers for you right here.

2. Don’t copy the text.

A precis is a piece of academic writing, so no plagiarism is allowed! Your text should be 100% unique. If you feel like you can’t or shouldn’t paraphrase the author’s words in any way, use quotations (don’t forget about the required formatting style).

3. Don’t use additional sources.

If you want to learn more on a particular topic, that’s amazing. Broadening intellectual horizons is beneficial for your studies. However, you can’t use any other sources when you write a precis. Keep calm and save up your research enthusiasm for research papers!

4. Restate the thesis and each author’s point.

Restate the thesis statement provided by the author. As a rule, you’ll find it in the introductory paragraph. Then, define the main idea of each paragraph and paraphrase them. Your precis is ready.

5. Avoid wordy sentences.

The point of a precis is to be precise. Short phrases and concise wordings are perfect ingredients for your top-level precis.

6. Remain objective.

A precis isn’t the best place for your personal opinion. We’re sure that your thoughts are original and worth attention, but not in this case, okay?

7. Use your logical thinking.

Although your precis doesn’t have to explain or prove anything, it still has to be readable. If your writing is a mix of random statements, you can only dream of a good grade.

8. Create a title for your precis.

Professors always need a title page or, at least, a title. Otherwise, they will be lost in the labyrinth of endless papers and won’t be able to teach you. So, give them a chance to recognize your masterpiece from first sight.

9. Don’t paraphrase – summarize.

A precis isn’t a paraphrased text; it’s more of a summary. Make it short and concise!

10. Check for mistakes.

We restate this tip in every guide, and you still manage to make mistakes! Seriously? Find five minutes to reread your text, and your grade won’t be ruined by misprints and misspellings!

Follow this instruction, and your professor will give you an A for your precis! If you want to write a precis during your exam preparation, we reveal several effective techniques below!

How to Write a Good Precis for Your Personal Use: 5 Secrets

We highly recommend you NOT to use these tricks when you write a precis for your professor. But you’ll need them if you want to process and memorize a wealth of information in a few days or even in one night.

  • Define unnecessary information.

As a rule, you don’t have to memorize examples, lyrical digressions, and statistical data from the educational material. You can read this information once or twice, but you don’t have to include it in your precis. You should instead focus on important facts, names, and dates.

  • Use infographics and tables.

These tools are awesome for memorizing. Firstly, creating infographics requires your artistic skills and, thus, your brain works more efficiently. Secondly, when you try to put all the necessary information in small blocks and schemes, you pick out only the most essential details. If you need advice about these techniques, take a look at our guide on how to make good infographics.

  • Make a list of abbreviations.

Sure, you can write “WWII” instead of “World War II” or “UK” instead of “the United Kingdom.” You won’t forget the meaning of these abbreviations. Anyway, you’ll be able to find them on the internet. If you create your individual abbreviations, there is always a risk that you’ll forget them in a few weeks or months. So make a list at the beginning or at the end of your precis for all your inventions.

  • Don’t omit dates and names.

Dates and names are frequently difficult to memorize, but they are a factual core of your knowledge on a particular topic. Write them down with bright colors; leave sticky notes on your fridge, in the bathroom, on the walls, etc. Train your memory, and your grades will make you proud.

  • Create your personal associations.

That’s the most creative approach to memorization of information. Do you remember children’s songs that help kids to learn the alphabet or names of animals? Why not use songs, colorful pictures, and rhymes to memorize the facts about the Civil War or Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory? Be creative, and find your personal associations!

We’ve revealed all our secrets. You know how to write a precis for your professor and for your personal use. There is one more thing – don’t worry, it’s just a rhetorical precis! Have you ever heard about it? If not, take a look at the instruction below. Your professor can give you this type of assignment at any time!

How to Write a Rhetorical Precis

You need only FOUR sentences to compose a well-structured rhetorical precis. So, let’s see what you should provide in each sentence.

The first sentence: Mention the title of the article (essay), the author’s name, the publishing date, and a paraphrased thesis statement. You can also quote the author’s statement using the words “declares,” “claims,” “suggests,” etc.

The second sentence: Explain how the author proves his point of view (arguments and example). You should stick to chronological order.

The third sentence: Use the statement in order to to define the author’s main purpose.

The fourth sentence: Describe the author’s tone of voice (how he or she connects with the targeted audience).

Now you know how to write a rhetorical precis. As we’ve promised, it’s not that bad. Stick to the instruction, and you’ll be all right!

Writing a precis is beneficial from many points of view. You memorize the information easier, save your time during exam preparation, and compose material that will help you to restore your knowledge in a few months or even years. We hope that our tips will make your college life a bit easier. Good luck!