A rhetorical précis seek to summarize the text of a work succinctly and with clarity. Précises are often academic in nature, used to provide clarity to a deeply intellectual, if sometimes inaccessible, written work. In most cases, the précis should maintain the core points of the original paper to the extent that reading the précis would be almost as useful as reading the original.
Identify the thesis of the work in the first paragraph.
Highlight, underline or write down key points throughout the remainder of the article. Summarize these points in your own words.
Make a list of important terms found within the work. Prepare to give brief descriptions.
Summarize the body of the work.
Start the first sentence with the name of the work and of the author, not necessarily in that order. Use this sentence to segue into your identified thesis. For example, "In Thomas Jefferson's 'Declaration of Independence,' it is argued that..."
Write the rest of the document using your notes, mirroring any sections found in the original work such as "introduction" or "methodology."
Edit the work for any misspelling or improper grammar. The completed work should be shorter than the original.
Add an appropriately formatted citation of the original work to the end of the précis.