Check your essay before you submit!
One of the easiest ways to improve your marks is to allow yourself enough time to show your work to someone else before you submit it and ask them to check your essay. It is important that you get the opinion of someone with “fresh eyes” who hasn’t seen your coursework before. They will be able to spot minor errors or inconsistencies, and point out any areas where your points are not explained well. This is important to check your essay because it is very common for students to overlook small errors when they have been working on an assignment for a long period of time.
Ideally you can find someone who is familiar with your field of study and the academic conventions of your discipline. This might be a fellow student or a teaching assistant, for example. The advantage to this is that they can offer you advice that is specifically related to your topic, and perhaps give you suggestions of other sources or material to incorporate. Alternatively you can ask a colleague, friend or family member for their advice because this will give you insight into the overall clarity and coherence of your writing. If possible, ask more than one person to review your work, to get as many helpful opinions as possible!
10 Ways Your Work Might Be Improved by a Professional Writer
- Eliminating typographical errors and misspellings – it is easy to miss these when you have read your own work several times.
- Improving grammar and syntax – an unfamiliar reader who will check your essay will be more likely to notice any awkwardness in your written expression.
- Removing unnecessary wordiness – ask the reviewer to point out any phrases or sentences that are unnecessary, especially if your word count needs to be reduced.
- Developing a clearer structure – readers can tell you if your writing follows a clear structure or if you seem to leap from point to point.
- Solidifying your argument – ask the person who will check your essay to think about how they might argue against your work – this will tell you how and where you need to strengthen your arguments.
- Addressing any confusing statements – some sentences may make perfect sense to you but be unclear to others.
- Creating a clear and powerful Introduction and Conclusion – this is one of the key areas for earning good marks, so be sure to ask your reader about the strength of your introductory and concluding paragraphs.
- Checking that all tables and figures contain correct data – readers can also pick up on any incorrect entries in tables or data sets, particularly where you have referred to these in your writing.
- Ensuring correct citations and bibliography – readers who are familiar with the citation style for your field can help you ensure correct referencing throughout.
- Formatting correctly and professionally – any inconsistencies in the font or text size can be identified and corrected when you ask someone to check your essay.
Cottrell, S. (2013) The study skills handbook. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Northedge, A. (2005) The good study guide. [S.l.]: Open University Press.
Remember to always check your essay before your submit!