If there’s one you know about essay assignments, it’s the fact that you shouldn’t submit assignments without editing them. This can impact your overall grade.
In most cases, students rush to finish their assignments with little or no time to edit them. The question we will tackle in this article is: how to edit college essays fast? Fast, yes, that’s the keyword.
Speed Up Your Essay Editing with These 7 Proven Techniques
You might think your essay is flawless and can do without editing it, but little do you realize that while writing, you might have overlooked certain factors that can make your essay look sloppy.
Why not take some time out to edit your essay and not risk losing grades? Here are editing techniques to get your college essays in shape - No Sweat!
1. Improve your writing
Have you ever tried reviewing essays with poor sentence structure, incorrect tense, and excess use of filler words or passive voice? Your thoughts immediately jumped on how much time you could have saved if the essay was written correctly and readable, right?
The starting point for editing college essays speedily starts with improving your writing. So when writing your college essay, ensure you adhere to all the essay writing rules and guidelines.
We know that the most common things we edit or correct in an essay are sentence structure, grammatical errors, or filler words. Improving your writing will ensure you correct fewer of these and save time. Here are ways to improve your writing and edit less:
- Using shorter sentences. 6-8 words per sentence;
- Curtail the lengths of your paragraphs. Use 2-4 sentences per paragraph;
- Avoid filler words;
- Avoid jargon;
- Make use of transition and signposting words;
- Use examples;
- Replace passive voice with active voice;
- Replace negatives with positive synonyms;
- Ensure your sentences are clear and concise;
- Use a language that your reader understands.
2. Start with essential elements
You were taught that a good essay must have an introduction, body, and conclusion. Your essays should also have a reference list. Would it be okay if you begin by checking these if you want a quick way to edit your essays?
Other than these, there are other assessment rubrics or assignment criteria that your lecturer will look for when evaluating your essay. These include:
- Set word limit;
- Proper use of referencing style;
- Proper use of headline and sub-headline, font size, and font type.
If you want to reduce the time spent editing your essays, you need to list these requirements and cross off each point once you see them fulfilled in your essay.
3. Remove distractions
Editing is tedious, especially if it needs to be done quickly. As a result, you must be fully immersed in your work, which requires lots of brain cell activity.
It is prudent that during this time, you avoid distractions, as they will make you lose focus and slow your editing pace. This is not the time to edit your essay in a park or with friends discussing last night’s basketball game. What you should do instead is:
- Look for a quiet place–a room where you can be alone;
- Turn off social media;
- Use full-screen mode when editing;
- Avoid multitasking;
- Have a clean and organized editing space;
- Turn off notifications on your phone.
Determine what is ideal for you, and you are sure to edit your essay in the shortest time possible.
4. Read your essay backward
You may ask yourself, “Why should I read the essay backward?”. The truth is the standard way of reading text makes it easy to get carried away by your arguments, flow of words, and language details.
As a result, you may need to reread your text many times to spot errors or leave it for a few hours and come back with fresh eyes to edit it. This is not ideal when you are running out of time.
Rather than wait to see your essay with a new set of eyes, consider reading it backward. Reading your essay backward means reversing the order of steps used in reading or editing your essays. The steps are simple:
- Begin with your ending paragraph or the conclusion;
- Read/review the lower body;
- Repeat step two on the medium body and upper body;
- Read the introduction;
- Finalize the thesis statement and the title.
The good thing about reading backward is it breaks away from the norm, helping you easily catch errors and sentence fragments.
This is also the best way to edit your essay when you are tired, not just when you don’t have time. If your essay reads well from both ends, you have nailed it! You can now submit your essay.
5. Read it aloud
Reading essays aloud helps catch typos and spelling errors. How is that? It allows you to be more focused or pay more attention to your words. If a word sounds weird or confusing when read aloud, you will hear it, and you will not want it to sound the same in your examiner’s head.
Reading your essay aloud is. Therefore, the best way to find consistency errors, places that need restructuring, fix flows and pacing issues, identify unnatural tone and dialogue, and spot spelling and grammar mistakes.
Apart from helping you catch awkward and unnecessary mistakes, it will help you find your voice. Here are the tips to consider when you edit your essay by reading it out loud:
- Find a quiet place to read your essay aloud;
- Have plenty of water to keep your throat moist;
- Follow along with your fingers as you read each word or sentence;
- Cover other sentences or sections you are not reading at the moment. For example, you can momentarily turn off the continuous scroll feature.
6. Have an editing checklist
You are often advised to have your own steps for writing an essay. Do you also have the grades for editing it?
An editing checklist refers to a document with a list of everything to check when reviewing an essay. Every student should have their own if they want to polish their essays faster. When editing your essay, check the following:
- Whether you have the correct essay title/topic;
- Whether you have the proper essay structure and format;
- Your style alignment and referencing;
- Proper use of punctuation marks;
- Numbered pages;
- Redundancy and repetition;
- Sentence fragments;
- Images and supporting data points;
- A logical flow of sentences.
So every time you edit an essay, use your checklist for guidance. Merely starting your editing immediately will result in subpar work. Besides, you will spend more time counter-checking and reviewing your work.
7. Use online tools
Writing essays today without an (online) writing tool can be a steep mountain to climb. The same can be said when editing essays. These tools save a lot of time. In 2022, there are a plethora of online tools students can use to edit their essays.
If you need a second pair of eyes, you can use Grammarly. For phrasing, improving precision, or determining reading grade, use the Hemingway app. For organizing PDF documents in different formats, use Scrivener. And for checking consistency and style guide, use PerfectIt.
Online editing assistants not only help to check for spelling, grammar, and sentence structure mistakes but also check for passive and active voice usage and how hard or easy it is to read your essay.
They can also make formatting, printing, and storing your work a breeze. But the biggest advantage is that they can be used anywhere—so you can edit your essay on the go.
Editing, like writing, is a growing process. It is tedious and takes time to master. Unfortunately, due to the busy college schedule and the academic calendar, you rarely have time to edit an essay assignment. This is where fast editing techniques become handy as it ensures you submit your essay on time.
You can always overcome last-minute essay editing challenges by improving your writing, reviewing essential elements the examiner will look for when awarding marks, removing distractions, and taking the help of a friend.
Despite all this, we have one last solution for you if you're falling short of time. Reach out to Writers Per Hour.
Our professional editors have the skills and knowledge in editing, so if you want to take your work to the next level while racing against time or are not confident in your editing skills, consider the help of an editor.
In addition to writing your paper from scratch, we also offer proofreading and editing services to help you submit well-written, error-free papers.
Last edit at Jul 27 2023