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Revising an Essay: Checklist for Students

Essay writing is a common activity most students engage in through their college years. However, simply writing essays is not enough to ensure that you receive good grades. Its revision before the submission can save you time correcting the assignment according to the professor's comments. The checklist below is pretty simple, and it requires only a bit of attention, spare time, and readiness to improve your essay written from scratch.

Check Essay Structure And Arguments

Once you have finished your essay, it is rational to start revising it from the beginning, and a top-grade essay typically begins with the outline. It is helpful to create it before the writing process, so you can check with it later and make your text more smooth and consequent. Here is a checklist for parts that should be present almost in every essay:

  • Introduction. The introduction should provide an overview of the research topic, and it has to motivate its importance and relevance. Besides, the introduction is perfect for inserting a hook or an appealing sentence that encourages the reader to continue following your thought. Nevertheless, try not to give the introduction too much space - it should not be longer than 10% of the whole paper.
  • Thesis statement. The final part of the introduction is the topic sentence that claims the idea you are trying to prove in your essay. The topic sentence should be concise yet detailed. Besides, it's better to avoid oversimplified topic sentences such as "Smoking is bad for your health." Simultaneously, a topic sentence like "Smoking is bad because it increases the risk of lung cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and ischemic stroke" can be more useful to demonstrate your topic knowledge.
  • Body paragraphs. Body paragraphs make the longest part of the essay, but they should be approximately equal in length. It is good to leave one argument for one paragraph instead of mixing them. Using this trick, you make your thoughts easier to follow and understand, while messy body paragraphs can make the essay less persuasive.
  • Topic sentences. It's a bit like a thesis statement, but you should place it at the start of each body paragraph. It shows the main idea of the paragraph, and you can support it with information from sources or professional research articles.
  • Conclusion. The conclusion starts with the thesis restatement, and later it should follow up thoughts and arguments you used throughout your essay. Besides, you can give a perspective for further research in this part of the essay, but don't make it too long.

If you are sure that your essay contains all parts mentioned above, and none of them are repetitive or too generic, that means that your paper has a decent structure, and the reader can follow the thought. So, it's time to move to the next section of the checklist.

Check Relevance And Credibility Of Sources

Even if you have formulated persuasive arguments, you need to use facts to ensure that the reader receives a solid basis to trust you. College papers usually require credible and reliable sources. It is crucial to choose the best ones before starting the paper and review their content carefully to cite and reference them properly.

The first type of reliable source is academic journals. You can access them using your university library and academic search engines, such as Google Scholar or Web of Science, and choose the journal that specializes in your essay topic. For example, a research paper discusses the results of the specific experimental or theoretical work, while literature reviews by expert scientists provide a broader overview of the research area.

Secondly, governmental websites or a website of reputable educational institutions can be a reliable source of information, especially when you need to cite statistics. Look for websites with ".gov" or ".edu" addresses for the USA or websites with your country domains if you need to write an essay about a non-English country. However, Internet encyclopedias, such as Wikipedia, blogs, or other public websites, are inappropriate to use as an information source. Even if you have read them to get basic information about the topic, it's better to go to the original source and study it thoroughly.

Still, if you struggle with structuring your paper and choosing appropriate sources, you can address essay writers for hire from specialized and professional companies e.g. AdvancedWriters. This essay service provides students with an opportunity to buy reliable personalized assistance for academic writing. Their services include writing custom sample papers on various topics with additional explanations from writers available on request. A customer can order a cheap sample essay from the company to analyze it and better understand the mechanics of academic papers and improve your essay quality.

Pay Attention To Grammar, Style, And Formatting

This is the most meticulous part of the essay revision, and it is usually the most tedious and time-consuming. However, it is still necessary, as the absence of grammar mistakes or correct formatting shows that the writer has paid enough attention to your professor's instructions and created an essay that is easy to read and understand.

  • Grammar. There is no need for lengthy explanations for this requirement. The grammatically correct text is easier to read, so you can use free online grammar checkers if you are not sure that you have written everything correctly. Besides, don't forget to check the meaning of rare words or professional terms you have decided to insert in your paper.
  • Style. Academic papers should be formal, and you should not use contractions, phrasal verbs, or slang in them. The paper should be written in the third person, so no "I," "we," or "you" should appear in the text. However, reflection papers are an exception to this rule, as they focus on re-thinking and expressing your experience.
  • References. University or college usually supplies their students with citation guides, or, if they use one of standard referencing styles, such as APA, MLA, or Harvard, numerous guides on them are available online. Formatting your references should be the final step of polishing your essay. They are necessary to provide the reader with a quick and convenient way to check the information you cite throughout the paper.

Once you have finished revising your essay, it is useful to let it rest for an hour or two and re-read it to spot additional issues that require correction, if any. Of course, you can skip this part if this essay is urgent, but if you have plenty of time, a new view of the text can help you avoid missing some small yet silly mistakes.

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