Writing an excellent essay for college can be an overwhelming task — it needs to be flawless, interesting, engaging, should include credible examples and be devoid of grammatical errors.
Original: SourceSounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it?
Well, it is and the only way to make your efforts count is by revising your essay before submitting it.
Revising, proofreading and editing can be a big task if you don’t know the process of how to go about it. You need to ensure that you understand how to revise an essay in college and follow the proper process for a smooth-sailing revision.
In this article, you’ll learn how to do a thorough revision of your essay to score well.
How to Revise an Essay in College: 8 Best Practices
Regardless of how good a writer you are, you should always revise your essay before considering it to be completed.
So, don't miss out on this pivotal step, and make the important changes that are required. Let’s take a look at eight essential tips to keep in mind while revising an essay for college.
1. Take a break from the essay
After finishing your first essay draft, make sure to keep the paper aside and take time away from it before you start to revise, edit and proofread the essay.
This is important because when you take a break, you will be able to spot errors that you may have missed if you were to immediately start revising your paper after completion.
It is good practice to go for a walk, listen to music, watch a movie, take a nap or do something that would distract your mind after completing your essay. Give your mind a break and then come back to read the essay from a fresh perspective.
2. Read the essay out loud
Writing an essay leaves you tired. Instead of proofreading it in your mind, why not read it out loud?
This would most probably result in you missing out on errors, mistakes that change the meaning of a phrase, arguments that are illogical or out of place, wordy paragraphs, or any sentence structures that need a bit more clarity and refining.
You can also ask a friend, your peers or even a family member to read your essay out loud, so that you can hear it clearly and spot obvious mistakes.
3. Proofread in parts
The entire process of proofreading and editing the text can be very overwhelming, even more, when you have to proofread long documents. To avoid any confusion or panic, it is advisable to select one paragraph after another and proofread it section-wise.
It is best to take your time and not edit your essay last-minute or in a hurry, as this could cause a lot of silly mistakes.
Always keep in mind to edit your essay before you proofread it because when you proofread, you would be required to make any necessary edits or changes to your draft.
Proofreading before editing can be counterproductive and would only further waste your time.
4. Ensure your essay has a logical flow
Once your ideas and points have been added, think about the order of your essay, and how you would want to present it.
To write a quality essay, you need to ensure to have an interesting introduction paragraph with a catchy thesis statement, thorough, free-flowing body paragraphs with examples, statistics, and facts to support your argument for the paper, and a clear conclusion paragraph that summarizes the entire purpose of the essay.
Check for the addition of transition words for smoother and a more logical flow of concepts and ideas. The length of the assignment should be concise and clear, as well as make sure to not use slang or overly complicated words. Instead, use simple terms for easy understanding.
5. Ask for feedback
Ask your family members or peers to read your essay and give you honest feedback on it. Consider asking questions like:
- What do they understand from the essay?
- Were the arguments clearly stated?
- Did they like the essay, or not? Why?
- What portion of the essay did they find most compelling?
- Was there a phrase or sentence that stood out to them?
- If they could make any changes, what changes would they make?
- What do they think the essay says about you?
- Has the essay impacted or influenced them in any way? If yes, then how?
- Was there anything missing from the content of the essay?
This feedback is valuable and necessary for you to enhance the quality and readability of your essay. Your peers can offer you guidance, advice, and suggestions that you can choose to take if you think they will help your paper.
Try not to be defensive about your essay and make sure you only make a few people read your essay. Bringing multiple people in to read your paper will confuse you, and you might miss out on a few important recommendations.
Here’s a video by Kieren Westwood on making the most of the feedback you receive on your writing.
6. Fix grammar and spellings
The most common mistakes made while writing any kind of essay are grammatical errors and silly spelling mistakes. Your essay may have all the information and might be absolutely perfect, but your grades can slip drastically if your professors find multiple grammar and spelling errors throughout your essay’s content.
Having these mistakes shows that you may not have worked too hard to revise or use a spell checker on your essay. Always take note of the feedback given to you by your peers about these kinds of mistakes.
You can also run your document through the online grammar checker, as it is a free tool available to check, identify and provide helpful feedback regarding grammar, sentence structure, spelling mistakes, and even the clarity or the engagement of your entire essay.
7. Review your sources
Take a note of utilizing credible and authentic primary and secondary sources for your essay. Avoid using information sources like Wikipedia, and browse through research papers, online sources, academic essays, newspaper reports as your reference sources.
It is also very important to properly cite your sources in your essay, and mention them in the bibliography because if you neglect or miss out on citing your sources, your essay would be considered to be plagiarised.
After completing your essay, review your sources to see if all of them are included and also match the information present in your essay. Check to see if the source has been credited in the essay’s content.
8. Check for plagiarism
Plagiarism is a serious offense in all academic institutions. If your content is not cited with credible sources, it would be considered to be unoriginal and copied.
Every institution requires originality and unique ideas from their students, and if caught plagiarising, your essay can be dismissed completely, resulting in a failing grade for that assignment.
You can also be banned from giving further assignments or tests if you’ve been caught with plagiarised work multiple times.
There are also multiple plagiarism-checking websites online, and you could use them for a quick screening of your paper, to check for any uncited sources. Some of them include:
This will save you from literary theft that colleges deem as unbearable, and will deliver a well-scanned, original and quality essay with absolutely zero ideas or phrases that are plagiarised. Some of these websites and tools are free to use but most of them require you to subscribe or download the premium version.
Every student knows how important those “last-minute checks” are just as you’re about to turn your assignment in.
It is truly one of the worst feelings to realise a mistake in your assignment after you have already submitted it, so to not go through that again -- revise, revise and revise again! That little more effort and time may take your project to a whole new level, a level you’ve been aspiring for but just missing out.
So take that time out, put that extra effort and use those last essential minutes of your deadline in a way you won’t regret. Revise and make your essay as good as it can get using these important tips on revising an essay in college.
One of the best parts about working with Writers Per Hour is that our writers do multiple revisions before they submit the essay to meet your requirements and deadline. So, you can be sure to receive high-quality papers that are original and free of errors.