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Guidelines for marking a précis and educational handout



Marking guidelines


An excellent précis: a complete and   full summary of the central theme, a well-written and coherent piece, not   formulaic. It is thoughtful, engaging, concise and clear, and carefully   tailored for the audience. Shows excellent understanding of the topic, an   ability to extract the core argument/issues, and communicates these with   flair.

Excellent Distinction


A model précis paper. An exceptional   structure and coherent style of writing, which is underpinned by an   overarching theme. Gives a complete summary of the main ideas which is   reliable, concise and clear. The writing style is entirely appropriate for   the target audience, and has flair. Could be published as it is (for example,   as a scientific abstract, or short article in popular science magazine –   depending on assignment).

Good Distinction


A full, well-organised and coherent   précis. Highly concise, clear and readable, and demonstrates a comprehensive   understanding of the topic. The writing style is appropriate for the target   audience, and shows flair.

Solid Distinction


A well-organised, clear and full   précis. Concise, reliable and readable.  Demonstrates clear knowledge of   the salient themes, and is aimed at the target audience effectively, showing flair   in the writing style.

Low Distinction


Well-organised and clear précis,   perhaps missing some relevant (but not critical) material. Shows some flair   in presentation of content and style of writing. The writing style is largely   appropriate for the target audience, but there may be minor stylistic issues.


Comprehensive, well-organised and   accurate précis which avoids irrelevancies and repetition.  Evidence   both of having understood the issues and of being able to present them   effectively. The content is communicated in a way that is largely appropriate   to the audience.

Good Merit


Well organised account of main issues,   lacking the conciseness, clarity, reliability and/or readability (given the   target audience) that would qualify for a distinction. A clear understanding   of the main themes, which is presented in a way that is largely appropriate   to the audience.

Solid Merit


Well organised account of the main   issues, lacking extra flair.  Relatively concise, clear and readable.   Evidence that the target audience has been taken into account.

Low Merit


Relatively full account of the main   theme.  Some minor errors or omissions. Some evidence that it has been   aimed at the target audience though the writing style may be inappropriate in   places.


An adequate answer that is mostly   accurate and shows evidence of understanding the subject matter but there may   be some errors or omissions, and/or weaknesses in presentation, including   poorer organisation and/or a writing style that is not consistently   well-suited to the target audience.  

Good Pass


Reasonable précis but introduces   irrelevant material or fails to convey a few key ideas in an appropriate way.   There are likely to be some issues with brevity, clarity, coherence, organization,   and/or readability. 

Solid Pass


An adequate précis but with   errors/irrelevancies, and weaknesses in brevity, clarity, coherence,   organization, or readability e.g., disjointed sentences.

Low Pass


A précis that reaches MSc standard,   but with notable errors/irrelevancies, and clear deficiencies in terms of   brevity, clarity, coherence, organization, reliability and/or readability.

Marginal Fail

Sparse information, including errors,   omissions, and/or writing that is inappropriate for the target audience.   Readability is compromised by poor presentation.


Incomplete knowledge of topic. Sparse   information, major errors or omissions, poorly organised, inappropriate   style. 


. Confused knowledge of topic.  A   number of errors or omissions, very poorly organised, inappropriate   style. 


Very confused knowledge of topic. Many   errors or omissions, very poorly organised, inappropriate style. 

Clear Fail

A very deficient précis.  Minimal   psychological content. Poorly written and lacking relevance, accuracy or   structure.


Provides some evidence of   (disorganised) knowledge. Inaccurate with numerous errors and omissions; very   poorly organised; shows little grasp of the issues.


One or two relevant ideas.


No real idea.

Zero Marks


No answer, no psychological content.

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