Skip to Main Content

Writing Your Paper - CECS and Mathematics

Tips for Writing a Précis?

  • Keep it short. Turn phrases into words and words into shorter words. A good précis should be much shorter than the original (1/4 to 1/6 is the usual guideline.)
  • Stay focused and on point.
  • Make it a miniature summary of the main point, cut out all the fluff without losing any of the important points.
  • Do not include any thoughts of your own. Only include the points the author made in the article.


Suggested writing method:

  1. Read the article once all the way through.
  2. Read the article again, making note of how the information is divided. ( note whether is each point made in one paragraph, over multiple paragraphs, under headings, or in chapters)
  3. Make a section by section outline.
  4. Re-read each section again. Write one or two sentences to summarize the point made in each section.
  5. Combine the sentences you have written into a coherent text. Be sure to retain the order and spirt of the thoughts presented in the original work.
  6. Name the author. (The article doesn't speak, the author does.) 
  7. Edit to ensure that:
    • your opinion has not colored the piece
    • you have been as concise as possible
    • you have not left out any of the author's points
    • your sentences are all in third person


University of Michigan - Dearborn Logo
  • 4901 Evergreen Road
    Dearborn, MI 48128, USA
  • Phone: 313-593-5000
  • Contact us