Editing and proofreading is a very important step that should never be neglected. Many otherwise excellent assignments have been derailed by failure to read through and check for errors, so ensure that you begin work on your assignment early enough to allow time to check through it before you submit it to your tutor. It can be helpful to leave your completed assignment for a while and go back to it with a fresh eye; this can help you to spot mistakes that you would otherwise miss.
Why proofread and edit your assignment?
Why is proofreading and editing so important? However good the content may be, it’s guaranteed that you will have made some spelling mistakes or other errors. Your tutor has to read a lot of assignments, and they will not be impressed if faced with an assignment that is hard to read because of the formatting, or that contains spelling mistakes that should have been picked up. Making avoidable mistakes like these will lose you marks and give your tutor the impression that your work is slapdash and rushed. They want to see work that is polished and shows that you care about presentation.
A second pair of eyes
It can be helpful to ask someone else to check your assignment, as they can pick up errors that you miss because you are too familiar with the work. Perhaps you and a friend could proofread each other’s work. If you check your own assignment, try reading it out loud. This can make it easier to identify errors and see where the flow of the text could be improved. Be wary of relying on spell check alone to identify mistakes. Spell check will only pick up spelling errors, and not factual ones or using ‘your’ for ‘you’re’.
What kind of things are you looking for when you edit and proofread an assignment?
Firstly, check that you have answered the question. Does your assignment read logically? Have you presented your arguments clearly? Then look for errors such as spelling and content. Are all dates and quotes correct? Have you used the right formatting? Is your bibliography properly presented? There’s a lot to check through, but don’t be tempted to miss out anything. Your tutor will notice if you don’t bother to look at every detail, no matter how small, and that could detract from an otherwise impressive assignment.
Check the style, flow and content quality
Also look at the content of your work and the style that you have used. Many students are tempted to show off and use grand phrases, or take far too long to convey an idea. Tutors prefer conciseness and clarity. Avoid using lengthy phrases where an idea can be conveyed much more simply. That doesn’t mean that you have to avoid longer sentences altogether, but generally it is preferable if you can say the same thing in a shorter space of time.
Revisit the conclusion
Although this is strictly not part of the proofread and edit process, it can be a very effective way to sign off your assignment. That is to read your conclusion before you do anything else. If your conclusion is a good, effective summary of the question, your opinions and evidence and the stand you take, it is definitely time to move on to editing and proofreading. If it doesn’t, you need to work on the assignment until it does.