Transforming your essay from good to excellent – proofreading your work

Transform your essay from good to excellent by carefully proofreading your work

Proofreading your essay is a great way to earn additional marks. Regardless of what level you are writing at, checking your work is essential and the best essays are those which have been proofread again and again! Follow these tips from our student advisor to ensure you thoroughly proofread your work and get the maximum marks possible.

The process of proofreading allows you to:

  • Check to see if your essay reads smoothly
  • Correct any spelling or punctuation mistakes
  • Identify any points which need further explanation
  • Recognise where you have trouble in your writing
  • Allows others to take a look at your work, and share their thoughts, opinions, and ideas

polishing your essayTips on how to polish off your essay

  • Take some time to relax after you’ve written your essay. It’s no good starting the proofreading immediately after you’ve finished your work. Relax for an hour or so to clear your head. The best environment to proofread your work is one where there are no distractions. Proofreading and editing your work is just as important as the actual writing!
  • Sometimes it’s a good idea to read your work aloud – either by yourself or let someone else have a look. This way, you are able to listen for anything that sounds incorrect. Asking someone else to read your essay lets them point out any areas that confuse them and statements which could have been worded better. Good essays read smoothly, and simple things such as changing the sentence structure and knowing how to punctuate correctly can allow for a better read.
  • Decide if your essay is organised correctly. Again, this depends on whether the language structure of the paper is smooth. Does the way you’ve organised the essay make sense, or do parts need to be moved? Are there any sentences which seem irrelevant? Is the tone consistence throughout?
  • Check for the basics. These are the little things we all make mistakes on, which include spelling, punctuation, grammar, word choice and sentence structure. These things seem minor, but they really effect the overall impression of your essay! It’s very likely that you’ve used a word processor to write your essay, so remember to take advantage of its tools and use the spell checker! Many skilled writers check their work backwards. By doing this, more attention is focused on the grammar and spelling. Give this a go!
  • encyclopedia1-150x150Fact check! Are the facts and statistics you’ve used correct? Is your research reliable?
  • Manually check your essay – and use different coloured pens to highlight any mistakes that you make. It’s no good trying to remember all the corrections you need to make. Highlight them! Using different coloured pens allows you to see where you’re making frequent mistakes.
  • Make sure your conclusion references your thesis. There should be a consistent structure/argument throughout your essay. Take plenty of time to write a good conclusion. After all, it’ll be the last thing the reader sees and the first thing they remember!
  • Check your work as you go along. As well as proof reading your finished essay, it’s a good idea to check for corrections as you go along. It’s easier to spot mistakes if you’ve only got a small amount of text to look at

And remember to leave yourself enough time! Most errors are made by rushing through an essay and being under pressure to finish it on time. So by leaving yourself a realistic amount of time to get your essay finished, you’re less likely to make as many mistakes!

Finally, run your finished essay through plagiarism checker to ensure you haven’t accidentally missed a reference or citation.  Good luck!

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