Ten Steps for Successful Editing
Every student should realize that it is basically impossible to get an A grade after composing a draft. Students will have to take several steps to make their piece of writing perfect.
Think about it. You have obviously spent days of hard work researching, reading, and writing the paper itself. For sure, you do not have much time and strength left to be spent on polishing the paper. However, if you are planning to attend a cocktail party, you will definitely take care of all elements – shoes, hairstyle, clothing, etc. The same rule must be applied to academic writing. The truth is obvious. You will have to look at your paper one more time before submission. Do not submit a draft, even if you think that it is well-written.
If you are a high school student or an undergraduate pursuing an online degree or traditional campus program, you will have to write, revise and rewrite papers. Achieving good grades is closely interrelated with editing and revising. Here are several steps that will help you successfully manage editing process.
Create an outline.
Even if you were not asked to write an outline, it is obligatory to create it, even if you have already produced an essay. No matter what topic you explored (easy or complex), you will not get a good grade if you did not manage to cover professor’s instructions and went off the track. It may be challenging to identify flaws of writing without creating an outline. Take a break and put your paper aside. Then create an outline and check if you really talk about necessary notions or not. For instance, you have to write about environmental protection, but after creating an outline, you notice that some paragraphs are actually off topic because they outline social inequality and other issues.
Do not think that you will have to write a formal outline that most of professors ask to submit before working on the project. You should write a small plan, sketch of your paper either with words, phrases, or sentences that will help you identify if you managed to cover instructions or not.
Check your thesis statement.
Does your thesis statement correlate with the task file? Even if you have submitted you thesis for approval, do not think that it cannot be changed. Sometimes students slightly deviate from the topic and explore the topic from a different angle. There is no need to panic, if you see that your thesis needs improvement. Unless your professor did not allow to change the thesis, you can alter it during the writing stage or when editing takes place. It is good that you eventually noticed a mismatch between a thesis statement and the rest of the text. Therefore, make sure that your thesis fits within the context of the explored topic.
Have a closer look at topic sentences.
Every main body paragraph should begin with a topic sentence that directly relates to the thesis statement. Review your topic sentences and check if they are logically connected with the key idea placed in the end of introductory paragraph.
For example, if you have a topic of “Student life,” you will definitely not appreciate reading a thesis statement “student life is full of different activities.” The reader is bound to pose questions in his/her mind and require clarification. For this reason, your thesis statement should sound in a way “A typical life of a college student is closely associated with studying, attending multiple courses/extracurricular activities, and socializing with their classmates.”
The same rule refers to topic sentences. Every topic sentence must be a logical continuation of one point of your thesis statement. For example, your first topic sentence should speak about “studying,” the second one “attending multiple courses/extracurricular activities,” and the last one “socializing with their classmates.” Your topic sentences should include a deeper explanation of each point presented in a thesis statement.
Check your conclusion.
Do not introduce any new information in conclusion. It is the last paragraph of your essay that must summarize the key details from the main body. Moreover, always be formal and clear in your writing. Even if you are a high school student, you should not write in a way “This is what I discussed.” You should summarize the same ideas explored before, but with fresh words.
For instance, if you have to summarize an essay about academic writing, you can end your paper in this way “A successful writer will always have to take several steps: create an outline, work on drafts and revisions, rewrite unnecessary parts, and edit the paper till perfection.”
Do not present any new citations in your concluding paragraph. Moreover, always leave a sense of completion and closure, so that the reader will not doubt in the credibility and validity of research.
Properly cite all sources.
Almost every academic assignment should include a list of references used during writing. If you paraphrase information or present a direct quote, you must include a citation in the end of sentence and reflect the source in a reference list. Always carefully follow rules of the assigned citation style while referencing (MLA, APA, Harvard, Turabian, etc.). Do not be reluctant to open some samples and check how formatting should look like. Remember that non-cited sentences can lead to a plagiarism record in your student profile. Therefore, always check if every borrowed idea gives a credit to the original source, where you retrieved information from.
Correct grammar mistakes.
It is obligatory to edit your paper for possible grammar mistakes. Students usually overlook this step, but even a few grammar mistakes can lead to a grade reduction. These are the list of most common grammar mistakes:
- Contractions (do not use them in academic writing)
- Possessive case (if it is a matter of possession, always use an apostrophe
- Noun-verb agreement
- Run-on sentences
- Number agreement.
Correct all formatting mistakes.
There are different citation styles and in most cases, professor assign specific formatting requirements. If you have to write a paper in APA or MLA style, a good online resource for consulting is Purdue’s Online Writing Lab at https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/
Re-read your paper one more time.
Take a small break and get back to your paper in a while. It will help you get distracted and perceive information afresh. It is preferable to read your paper out loud. If you want to make a pause in some sentences, it means that you missed some commas. If you stop reading and start contemplating, it implies that some ideas are unclear and should be revised.
Rely on online writing services.
Some educational establishments offer assistance of an English tutor that helps students improve their writing skills. If not, you can seek assistance from online writing services that offer editing and proofreading support to students of all educational levels.
Do not submit your draft as the final paper.
Even if you consider yourself to be an experienced writer, do not be too optimist about final results. Even if you managed to create a good first draft, it does not mean that your professor will think the same way. Human beings tend to make mistakes. Therefore, you should create a habit of revising your papers and editing them before submission, which will help you forget about B and C and help you get A grades in every subject.
Good luck with every home assignment!