Check Your Essay Like a Professor

How to Check Your Essay Like a Professor [Revision Checklist]

By: root / Oct 12

While everyone may be proficient at spoken English, the ability to master the art of writing has proven to be elusive for many. So, when students are expected to write essays for their college courses many find themselves at a loss as to how to make sure they turn in quality writing.

Most students realize that it’s important to research the topic, be concerned with proper punctuation, spelling, and grammar. However, after these points have been honed, many of them wonder if there are other details that are overlooked. Below you will find basic checklist that every student should apply to any essay writing assignment. If you follow these simple guidelines, you’ll be sure that every important part of essay writing has been taken into consideration, checked and improved. Eventually, you will leave less chances for your professor to give you a bad grade.

Make Sure Essay Is Well Organized and Structured

Even though grammar and spelling are important aspects to a well thought out essay, they should not be considered as the only essential elements to be checked. These points are merely the fine-tuning that comes at the end of the writing process. However, if your thoughts are not clearly outlined with an introduction, body, and conclusion, your professor will still have trouble revising and grading it, even if your grammar is perfect. So, first of all you should check the following essay structure points:

  1. Clear introduction, body, and conclusion
  2. Thesis sentence
  3. Move from general to specific
  4. Transitions between paragraphs and related ideas
  5. One idea per paragraph

It is important that the information is arranged in a logical order with each successive part stemming from the one before. When you can present your message in a logical way, it will be much easier for your readers to understand your points, accept them, and finally to remember them.

Check the 3 Main Essay Parts

The content of each essay consists of 3 main parts – introduction, body and conclusion. Each of these parts should be checked separately.

Introduction

  1. Introduction provides essential details for the topic
  2. It starts with a defendable thesis statement
  3. It provides the reader with any basic knowledge they may need to get understand the topic
  4. Introduction reveals who you’re talking about, the location, what’s actually happening and why

Remember that introduction is an important part of your essay as it helps to create the first impression and set the proper mood for further reading.

Body

  1. The essay goes from any general points to specific ideas
  2. Each idea is explained clearly
  3. There are smooth transitions from one thought/paragraph to the next.
  4. Your writing includes enough detail to make your points stand out.

Conclusions

  1. Summary of everything you’ve already stated
  2. Statements are related to the theme of your essay
  3. Depending on the type of essay, conclusion should include some call to action, summarize your personal opinion, give short guidelines or tips, provide suggestions for further research on the topic.

Remember, that conclusion is no less important than introduction. While introduction creates the first impression, conclusion helps the instructor/professor to decide on the essay grade. The conclusion of your essay should be able to wrap everything up in a tidy little package. Avoid adding any new information to your essay at this point.

Mind the Language

Give careful consideration to each word you choose to make sure that it fits the topic and will do the job it was intended to do. This will improve the clarity of your message and make your delivery more specific.

  1. No overcomplicated sentence constructions
  2. No slang and informal language
  3. Language is convincing, clear, and concise
  4. No too many cliches
  5. Fresh language and advanced vocabulary

Some essays require using specific terminology and language that may be unique to only a small group of people. If you are not sure that the vocabulary will be clear try to replace it with synonyms, use clear explanations, include examples and illustrations to make your point clear.

With that being said, check yourself now, answering the question: which passage do you think will work better?

“At that time, many people got sick” or “After the first World War, 21,000,000 people died as a result of the Spanish Influenza.”

Check if You Followed the Guidelines

Guidelines are provided for you to follow them. So, with no further delay, check the following points:

  1. Appropriate essay length
  2. Appropriate formatting: font, margins, spacing
  3. title capitalization (if required)
  4. correct page numbers

Revise Your Citations and Sources

When you are sure that essay content, structure and formatting are safe and sound, it’s time to move to the citations which is an important part as well. Be sure professors check your references attentively, and there is no mercy for those who neglect proper quotation. So check the following points:

  1. Every quote is cited
  2. Every source used is included in references
  3. Sources are reliable and authoritative
  4. No Wikipedia in references (just a reminder)
  5. References are organized properly (alphabetical order, if not required different)

Proofread the Essay for Errors

This is the time to check for proper grammar and punctuation and those fine little details that most professors look for. The best way to do this will be to read your paper out loud. Sometimes the natural ear works better at perfecting your paper than the eye. The steps of error detection are simple and well known for everyone. Just check if everything if your essay has:

  1. Correct grammar
  2. Proper punctuation
  3. Flawless spelling
  4. No typos

Final Check

This is the time you have to leave your essay alone and take a break. Take a small walk, get some fresh air, drink a cup of tea. Do anything that can help you clear your mind. Then, come back and take a fresh look at your essay to see what can be missing. If you are in doubt you can involve someone of your college friends you can trust (or your family). Have them read your essay and give you the feedback. Sometimes, it is the only way to have an objective opinion on your essay writing, so do not be afraid to ask for help and hear the criticism.

Remember, the best essays are written in mind first, and are well thought out before you put ink to paper. By following these basic checklist, you’ll learn to revise your essay with professor’s eyes, develop your writing skills and polish your style. As a result you will be able to deliver an essay that will warrant you the grade you seek and deserve.