Keys to Academic Success: Proofreading

Crystal_Clear_action_spellcheckAs the Keys to Academic Success series draws towards a close, I am hoping that you have been able to benefit from its  advice on essay preparation and writing techniques. Writing effective essays is often a demanding task, and while its completion is very fulfilling and gratifying, it is also frequently the case that students feel rather tired by the end of the writing process. Therefore, they tend to skip the final, yet very important, stage: that of proofreading. Although often neglected, the process of proofreading can nonetheless safeguard against mistakes that can be easily avoided if students take some time to confirm that everything is in order.

It is a great idea to proofread your essay before submission, to establish that it is coherent and fluid. This is the time to check your arguments and ensure that they are lucid, insightful and well-supported by evidence and examples. Essay structure should also be clear, with an easily recognizable introduction, a main body and a conclusion, followed by a bibliography list if required. While writing, you may not notice possible weaknesses in an argument and problems with balance straightaway; it is at this final stage of reviewing that these can be more easily spotted.

It is highly recommended that students edit their essay one last time before submitting in order to make sure that it is in excellent condition for their tutor or examiner to enjoy. Issues to particularly look out for include: spelling mistakes, confusing punctuation, disorderly paragraphing, and inconsistent use of fonts and line-spacing. Examiners and tutors usually have to spend many hours marking essays and could find mistakes of this kind rather vexing, as they obstruct the reading process. Hence, it is to your advantage to provide them with a pleasant reading experience!

Taking some time to proofread your essay before submission can really help improve your academic performance. A well-structured and well-written essay is very likely to make a good impression, and your diligence and attention to detail will be rewarded accordingly.


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