A List of 7 Great Essay Editing Prompts

One of the biggest mistakes that most students make during the essay writing process is failing to edit. This single step can make the difference between an essay that earns an average grade and an essay that earns an outstanding grade. Students often neglect editing because they find it boring or they think they do not have any time. Editing does not have to take a long time and in many cases, students can edit their own papers in just a few minutes. When you are ready to edit, here are a few tips to get you through the process quickly and effectively:

  1. Read the essay aloud. When you edit an essay, the best thing to do is read it out loud in a “one-foot” voice. This is a quiet voice that can only be heard by people who about one foot away from you. With this editing prompt, you will hear the problems that you may have missed in a visual reading.
  2. Read line by line. Grab a piece of paper and cover up your entire paper. Then, reveal the first line and read it. Reveal the next line and so on until you have read each line. By covering up what is coming in the essay, you will only focus on what is in front of you.
  3. Use an editing app. There are several online apps that will edit papers for you. The apps are often free and they can be customized to fit your academic level and the type of paper you are writing. The apps will offer corrections and explanations. You will have to make the corrections yourself.
  4. Find a friend. As a student, you should know someone who is willing to help you find errors in your paper. You should reciprocate when your friend needs help, too.
  5. Read from the end to the beginning. Start at the beginning of the last sentence and read to the first sentence. By changing your perspective on the essay, you should be able to notice errors.
  6. Circle the first words of every sentence. This editing technique will let you see your sentence variety. If you notice that too many sentences begin with the same word, then you need to make some stylistic changes.
  7. Outline the essay. Instead of writing the outline first, you can edit by writing the outline last. You will be able to see logic errors or organizational problems. You will also see where you can add more support or where the topic sentences do not connect to the thesis.