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Skills for Learning

Editing & Proofreading

Overview

Editing is an important part of the assignment process. This is where you check your work and make changes to improve your final submission. It takes time to edit your work – good quality editing always equals higher marks! 

Editing should be a two-step process. The first step is a general check of the content and structure. Step two should be a final proofread for issues with spelling, grammar, punctuation and referencing. 

Editing and proofreading top tips

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Always plan to finish an assignment a couple of days before the deadline. That way, you can take a break from your work before you start to edit and proofread. You’re much more likely to notice issues that need resolving if you’ve had time away. Our Assignment Calculator will help you factor in time for this step.

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Have you included key information about your topic? Have you provided evidence for all the points you have made? Have you explained why that evidence is relevant? Asking yourself questions about your own work can help you to be more objective. Download the Academic Writing Checklist Worksheet from our Resources & Worksheets to help you.

It sounds obvious, but it’s vital to check that you have followed the assignment brief. If you miss part of the question, you are likely to lose marks. Similarly, you can lose track and answer a slightly different question than the one set. An easy way to check this is to use the PEAL paragraph structure. See our PEAL Activity below. Your ‘link’ sentences at the end of each paragraph should address the topic clearly. If they don’t, then you need to make changes to ensure your argument is focussed.

Your job in an assignment is to show that you have understood the course content. When marking your work, tutors will notice problems with spelling, grammar and formatting first. If you minimise these errors, you will communicate your ideas better, thus increasing your marks. Spend time ensuring your layout is consistent, paying attention to fonts, paragraphing and headings. You can also use editing software to check for grammar, punctuation and spelling issues. We recommend Grammarly.

Sounding ‘academic’ isn’t about using long, complicated words and lengthy sentences. Rather, what’s most important is that you get your point across. If you re-read a sentence and aren’t sure what it means, you need to simplify it. After all, your tutors won’t give out marks for ideas they can’t understand. The Hemingway App can help you write in a clear and concise way.

When you finish writing an assignment, checking your references might be the last thing you feel like doing. But referencing accurately (both in-text citations and the reference list) is an easy way to impress your tutor and gain marks. Follow our LBU referencing guide Quote, Unquote to avoid unnecessary mistakes.

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