Proofreading your essay before handing it in will make all the difference to your marks. After reading the same text over and over as you work on the computer there are bound to be a few mistakes that you have not noticed. Your word processor will check for basic grammatical and spelling errors, but there will always be some things that it misses or do not understand. It can also not check your work for a logical flow. The human factor is important here so follow the steps below to learn how to proofread your essay to your best capacity. Each step also includes an expert tip to help improve your essay.
Make that you are finished with writing your essay before doing the final checks. This is important because to be able to write well you use the more creative part of your brain, the right hemisphere, but correcting mistakes is a more scientific approach to language and thus use your left hemisphere.
Print your essay out to read it through after you are satisfied with the content. Do not do all your proofreading on the computer screen. Reading on paper will allow you to more easily see mistakes.
Now that you have printed your essay read through it to see if there are any grammatical or spelling mistakes. Keep a pen in hand to make notes of all mistakes that need to be corrected. While reading look at whether your text flows logically and that there is no important info you have left out. Make notes for yourself if you need to add anything or rearrange the order of the facts you discuss.
Go back to your computer and make the changes to the document. Be careful to include all your notes and to make all corrections you have picked up on while reading.
Print your essay out again and this time print it on colour paper instead of plain white. Reading it a second time on a different colour background as an effect on your brain. You will be able to see the essay with new eyes and identify any further errors. This also gives you a chance to make sure that all previous errors have been made to the document.
Once you are completely sure that your essay now reads easily and has no more mistakes it is time to get a second opinion. What often happens when reading through the same document over and over again is that you start reading what you think you wrote, instead of what you really wrote. That is why giving it to a second party to read is so important. Give it to a peer or a family member to check.
Get feedback from the person who has helped you review the essay. Ask them what they thought of the essay and whether they fully understood everything. Even if the topic was on something the person does not know a lot about, the essay should be written in such a way that anyone can easily understand what you are discussing. Take notes if necessary.
Go back to the essay on your computer one more time and make changes that your family or friends have suggested.
Print your essay out one last time for a quick glance at all mistakes to double check that all has been corrected. This method will ensure that you get better marks, as a lot of marks can be lost for small mistakes.
As an additional step give your work to a professional proof-reader to read or even to a tutor for advice on what else can be improved.