How to Revise an Essay Properly?

Few students have a clear idea of how to revise an essay. They know that it is a long and tedious process, so they mostly resort to it when their professors reject their work and ask for improvement. Even then, they are reluctant to make changes, doing only minor corrections, and hoping for the best. Lots of worries and frustrations could be avoided if people understood what revision is and why it is needed. 

Revision is a process of changing and editing the text until all problems and issues in it are corrected. It could be of different kinds and levels of seriousness, but in any case, it is vital because it allows perfecting an essay and making sure that you get a high grade for it. We’re going to offer valuable tips and useful explanations: with their help, you’ll learn taking care of your paper and find problems with it even before it is submitted for official evaluation.

Why Is Essay Revision Needed?

The first question we should get out of the way concerns the importance of revision. Sure, if student made mistakes and professor told them to redo something, then it’s clear why they need revision. But how about doing it prior to sending your work for assessment? This way, students could save their time and stop their anxiety. Every academic paper should be treated as a draft, even if young writers feel like they’ve done their best. A seemingly perfect text still should be polished because they can never know if they’ve lost track of your thesis, mixed up some points, formatted the paper improperly, or forgot to develop some crucial idea. By re-reading and revising it where needed, person reduces the chances of being criticized and ensures that they won’t be sent for corrections. Your grade won’t suffer, which is a benefit of timely revision process.  

Revision Examples Based on a Type

There are four types of revision that writers could embark on. They follow individual rules and demand different amounts of effort. Which one student needs depends on the severity of their mistakes. Here are these types:

Large-Scale Revision

This is the most time-consuming type that every student dreads. It means that your paper has many issues requiring correction. Large-scale revisions are needed when content has major discrepancies: several key points could be underexplored and in need of additional evidence; there might be lots of unsupported claims that count as plagiarism and ruin score and credibility; your conclusion might contradict thesis because you lost your track in the middle of an essay and went in another direction. In this case, essay restructuring is required. If these examples of mistakes are present in a paper, start removing them right away.

Small-Scale Revision

This essay revising type won’t take much of your time. It is required when some smaller aspects of text need improvement. It could include shortening an overly long introduction, removing some meaningless sentences, strengthening an argument by adding a few details or making conclusions more substantial.  

Editing

For understanding what editing entails, it is better to learn how to differentiate between it and the previous two kinds of revision. When the question of how to revise a paper comes up, it concerns content. Editing, in turn, is all about grammar or semantic mistakes. Repeated words, mixed tenses, wrong word choice, missed articles — there are issues that even experienced writers don’t notice as they’re writing. Maybe there are unclear sentences that could be re-written — all this falls into the editing category.

Proofreading

It is similar to editing, just on a smaller scale. Turn on the spell checker, see how the words are spelled, and correct issues. This could help clean up your paper nicely.

Learn Objectivity to Succeed In Revisions

One of the biggest issues students encounter as they need to revise essay lies in admitting that they make mistakes. No one wants to work more than they have to, so after writing an academic text once, it’s natural that people have no desire to return to it again and waste even more time. That’s why being objective is so essential. Be honest when answering this question. Try looking at an essay as if you were a stranger who’s seeing it for the first time. Read instructions again, then try to assess what you wrote as if you’re a professor. Essay revise process is effective only when you acknowledge that there are mistakes, and could do it by distancing yourself from the paper. If deadline allows it, take a break: don’t look at this essay for a few days before finally re-reading it. 

Ways of Analyzing Your Essay

Not all students are capable of being objective. If you cannot stop looking at your essay from a writer’s perspective, try asking yourself 4 questions below. They’ll guide you each time you’re revising an essay.

  1. Did I meet instructions? Check them point by point. Were all questions answered or did you forget something? For example, if you were asked to describe 7 management strategies, ensure that all of them are covered because very often, students forget about one or two. If professor asked you to prove why point A is better than point B, was it actually done? Are there convincing claims or evidence in your essay?
  2. Did I follow my drafts? When revision of an essay begins, check it against your initial essay drafts or outlines. Maybe there were specific ideas that you forgot about after the work started. Sure, it could be a bad one, but what if it’s great and you missed a chance to increase your grade? Don’t be worried about re-writing some parts or adding extra points — if the end-result is good, then it’s worth it.
  3. What strong points does my essay have? When revising essays, re-read the entire text with this question in mind. Identify the strongest moments that would leave you impressed if you weren’t a writer. This could be instances with solid evidence or great practical examples. After you select a couple, figure out what makes them strong and imitate it in your other paragraphs. 
  4. What weak points does my paper have? This is also vital moment in essay revisions. Try being brutally honest with yourself: what doesn’t work? What sounds ineffective? Perhaps there are repetitions or general statements that make text sound generic. Once you know what these possible mistakes could include, it’ll be easier for you to notice them.

Five Tips For Doing Revision

Still wondering how to revise an essay in college? Apart from the advice we provided above, we’ll also list five top tactics that any person will find useful in revisions. As long as you stick to them, your writing journey is going to be smooth.

  • Read an essay out loud. You might hate doing this, but trust us, reading an essay like this could help a lot. It’ll give you a different perspective and mistakes will become much more obvious.
  • Ask a friend or family member to read through it. Second pair of eyes is always helpful. When you revise your essay you struggle with seeing it clearly, but other people won’t be hindered by it. Your friend or a person you trust could help you tremendously by looking through text and catching all weak spots.
  • Check an essay rubric. As the final stage approaches, go through instructions once more. Scan every sentence and compare it against the paper you’ve created. This is one of the most efficient revision techniques for writing because it helps you learn how to meet requirements in a satisfying way.  
  • Print a physical copy of an essay. This could seem strange, but seeing the text in the way you’ve written it versus seeing it printed are two drastically different things. Print a copy and read it with a pencil in your hand, marking the mistakes you see. Correct them in a .docx document, then print it again. Repeat this process until everything looks good.  
  • Use plagiarism checkers. The final strategy explaining how to revise writing entails checking your text for plagiarism. This could show you instances of where you formatted quotes improperly as well as sentences copied from other sources. Paraphrase them and that’s it, your essay is ready for being submitted!  
Elizabeth Baldridge

Elizabeth provides educational materials, conducts research, explores and solves student challenges. Her posts are always helpful, innovative, and contain interesting insights.

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