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How to Prepare for SSC CGL Descriptive Paper: Precis Writing

Last Updated - April 06, 2017

SSC CGL Descriptive Paper will be conducted on January 15, 2017. SSC CGL Tier 3 is a Descriptive Paper in English/Hindi consisting of Essay/ Precis/ Letter/ Application writing. Descriptive English is designed on the premises of originality, lucidity, intelligibility and accessibility.

Precis Writing is an intelligent summary of a long passage. A precis is like a miniature portrait of the passage. You are to describe as accurately and briefly as possible the substance or main ideas contained in a text. A precis is a shortening, in your own words. To write a precis one should have a clear understanding of the passage, only then one is able to include all the essential points. The precis should make sense and be logical in its presentation.

SSC CGL Tier III: Essay WritingSSC CGL Tier III: Letter WritingSSC CGL Tier III: Descriptive Paper

Thus, a precis is NOT-

  • Simply a summary of a passage.
  • Simply an abstract of a passage.
  • An outline of a passage.
  • A collection of disconnected facts and statements.

Features of a Good Precis

A well structure precis should comprise all the important points mentioned in the passage yet should be within the word limit. A good precis is a model replica of the original passage but only crisp and brief. It omits any filler information and is constructed of the message that the passage reflects. An ideal precis should follow the mentioned attributes.

  • Is a miniature version of the original passage.
  • Order of ideas of the original.
  • Is written in reported speech.
  • Is marked by clarity, brevity and precision.
  • Must have a logical order and be well-knit and well-connected.
  • Must not contain any details not found in the original.

Read SSC CGL Tier III Descriptive Paper Preparation


Techniques of Precis Writing

There are 3 kinds of writing practice in producing a clear and successful precis. They are-

Reading: Understand the passage carefully. As you read, find out the subject or the theme of the passage and what is said about the subject. Taking the main ideas of the passages as your point of reference, it should not be too difficult to write out the important points in the original in a corner of your writing work sheet.

Writing: The main motive of writing is to reduce the original to 1/3rd its length. Firstly, Express your thoughts, ideas, opinions and the conclusion in the rough draft. With the reasonable care and concentration, one can easily succeed in producing good precis writing by the second draft.

Revision: When you are done with your final draft. Revise it carefully before writing out the final copy.  Look for any mistakes or slips in grammar or spelling and correct them. Don’t forget to give your précis a title.

Check SSC CGL Tier III Essay Writing


Precis in the Making

When one is writing a precis, one should take care of a few essential points. Make sure that the language of the precis is clear, crisp and concise. One needs to convey the general idea of the argument with absolute clarity. Lastly, make sure that all the important points of the original passage are included in the precis. One should follow the below rules and guidelines while writing a precis.

  1. Read the passage carefully, identify the central idea of the passage.
  2. Look out for the total number of words.
  3. Before you start writing the precis, clearly understand the passage and give it a couple of reads.
  4. Highlight the most important points in the passage, and make notes.
  5. Provide an apt heading to your precis.
  6. For writing precis, note making is an essential task for it.
  7. Also, while writing a precis, you need to follow 3 grammatical rules which are: write it in third person, indirect form and appropriate past tense.
  8. It is advisable to provide designations of officials rather than names and titles.
  9. Firstly, review your rough draft, and ensure that you have made no language related errors.
  10. Make sure you have a glance over the original, before writing your precis & make sure you have not missed anything.

Do’s and Don’ts in a Precis Writing

One should not add their one’s subjective interpretation or comments to the precis and should try to retain the original author’s voice and opinions.

Do’s in a PrecisDon’ts in a Precis
Understand the main idea of the passageDo not express your own opinion, wish, remark or criticism.
Retain the core essence of the work.Do not use abbreviations or contractions.
Compress & clarify a lengthy passage.Do not insert any question in your precis.
State the purpose of the research of writing.Do not be jerky.

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