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How to Revise an Essay

Revising an essays may seem like a difficult task, but once you know some tricks of the trade, it can be a lot easier and more rewarding. Try these three strategies to improve your work:

Read it out loud. Read your paper out loud, even just to yourself. Listen to your sentences. Do they sound correct? Do your sentences sound choppy or disconnected? Do the words you use sound like they fit in the sentence? Are your sentences longer than you would normally speak? Many people are auditory learners, meaning that they have a better sense of their writing when they hear it. Reading your work out loud can help you catch mistakes by hearing them, when you never would have seen them.

Reoutline your argument. Look at the topic sentence of each paragraph. Make an outline of your paper, using each topic sentence as an entry. Look at your argument structure. Does each paragraph in a given section add to your argument? Does your paper follow a logical order? Do you repeat yourself? Does each paragraph add to the final product? Looking at how you succeeded in organizing your argument can also show where you failed at making your point and can help you find ways to better present your argument.

Put it away for a while. The best way to revise an essay is to put it aside for an evening. Do other work, go have some fun, think about anything other than the paper. When you return to it, come at it with fresh eyes. Was that argument really what you were trying to say? Have you left out any words or ideas that you thought you had included? Is there a better structure for your argument? By stepping away from the paper, you can edit it later as if it were someone else work, and catch mistakes that were blending in yesterday.

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