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College essay writing help: spotting mistakes

How to avoid poor essay grades? Proofread!

If you want to earn good grades on your writing assignments, you have got to be thorough and meticulous. A few sloppy typos or grammatical errors can make a huge difference, and can decide whether your paper earns an A or a B. Professors and English instructors go through their students’ papers with a fine toothed comb, scouring the text for mistakes and signs of sloppiness. If your paper is riddled with mistakes, no matter how small, you are sending your instructor the impression that you did not take the assignment seriously. On the other hand, if your paper is perfectly edited and free of mistakes, you give off the impression that you are a professional and a strong writer with promising skills.

But how do you rid your writing assignments of silly mistakes and grammatical errors in the first place? Everyone knows that proofreading is the key, but very few students actually know how to proofread and edit correctly. Proofreading is not just reading your paper over and over again, hoping that errors will jump out at you. There is actually a specific process you should follow. Here are some suggestions for making your editing process a bit more effective and less random

Enlist a “Beta Reader”

A “beta reader” is a person who is willing to read your very rough paper drafts and provide comments on the quality of the prose, the spelling, the grammar, the syntax, the quality of the ideas, and the caliber of the editing and formatting. Ideally a beta reader should be someone with some writing expertise, but anyone who has read or written a lot of papers in their academic life will suffice.

A good way to find a beta reader is to befriend another student in your writing class, and trade papers with them. A second set of eyes will be much more effective and locating and identifying what is wrong or lacking in your paper than you will be yourself. It also can be helpful to read another person’s essay, just to get a sense of how other people are tackling the assignment. So find someone who is willing to help you edit.

Read Aloud, and Print Out Your Drafts

When you review your paper, use a hard copy. Read your paper in bright lighting, in a casual spot away from your desk. Read your essay aloud to yourself, and go slowly. This will help you catch more mistakes.