Writing an essay is one thing, but polishing your essay and making sure that it doesn't have any mistakes in it is an entirely different step. Here are a few tips that will help you proofread and polish your essays before you turn them in to your professor.
#1 Read It Backwards
Read your essay backwards. Start on the last page, and read the last paragraph, working through one paragraph at a time as you go through your essay from back to front. Sometimes, you miss errors in your writing because you have become too familiar with your own work. Looking at your work from a different perspective can help you identify and spot errors.
#2 Read It Aloud
Next, read your essay out loud. By reading your essay out loud, you may be able to more easily identify sections of your essay that sound awkward. You may also be able to more easily identify areas where you have used the wrong word or phrase. If you don't want to read it out loud, use a program that will read your work back to you. Many word processors have settings that will read your work back to you, and you can find free programs online that will do that as well. Hearing your words out loud is a great way to identify and correct issues with your writing.
#3 Review Each Citation
If you are using a formal writing style, such as MLA, to cite your sources, spend time reviewing each citation. Create or find a checklist of the main points of how you have to cite your sources. Then, go back through your paper and look at each citation individually and make sure that you followed all the rules and guidelines for that type of citation according to the style guide that you are required to use on your paper.
#4 Get An Outside Perspective
Finally, get an outside perspective on your paper. Take your paper to your college writing center or to a college editing service like Crimson and Ivy. Sometimes, what your paper really needs is an outside eye. Having someone else look at your paper is often the best way to identify and spot things you've missed because you've become too familiar with the text. It is also a great way to get a deeper grammar review of your paper, especially if grammar is not your strong point. Keep in mind that even professional writers often use editors or editing software to check their works for errors; it is the professional approach to writing.
To ensure that your next paper is error free, be sure to read it backwards and out loud, check each individual citation, and use an outside editing source to perfect your next paper.