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Academic Skills

Editing

When editing, you need to leave time between drafts. If you edit on-line or too soon, you risk seeing what is in your head and not what’s in your essay. Try to allow at least 24hours between finishing your draft and editing it. As you get feedback, develop your own personal list of what to look for when editing as we all have different strengths and weaknesses. In the meantime, check separately for:

Focus on the question - Is everything relevant?

Coherence - Is everything clear?

Flow - Is it in a logical order with signposts towards a conclusion?

Conventions - Know your weaknesses and check for:

  • standard punctuation - If you think you need a refresher on punctuation go to: Sussex University
  • standard spelling - Don't just rely on a spell check as this doesn’t pick up everything. Go to here for a list of common errors
  • standard grammar - To learn a particular rule, try: The Owl at Purdue - Grammar

References - Check your work for references. It’s better to give too many than too few in the first instance. Any content that relies on information from your reading must be referenced unless it could be regarded as common knowledge e.g. factual information. For instance, the dates that John F. Kennedy or John Lennon were shot would not need references. However, if you then went on to discuss why they were shot you would need evidence to support your conclusions and would cite your sources.

It is a good idea to ask someone else to read your work as it is easy to miss things when you are so involved. If you haven’t got a willing friend, don’t forget that your AST will look over a draft for you. They cannot proofread your work but will point out where you need to change it and show you how. However, if you leave it too near the deadline, you might find that they are already booked up so think ahead.

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