How to Edit Your Academic Papers Like a Pro

Writing is one of the most effective ways to communicate your research findings and results, as well as your personal thoughts and ideas. However, the quality of your work decreases if you submit it full of grammatical, punctuation, stylistic, and spelling mistakes. These mistakes will 100% undermine the credibility of your research and all the hard work that you did. That is why it is important to proofread and edit your research paper, book review, essay, or any other work before you hand it in. With the recommendations given below, you will learn to make the most of any piece of written communication assigned in college.

Write First, Edit Later

A lot of college students tend to write their papers and edit their work at the same time. If you do so, both processes will get hindered. Instead, make sure to write your first draft with zero editing. If you think of some information that you would like to add to the previous paragraph or section, just make a note of it in some separate document. Do not start making all the changes until you have accomplished the first draft. You will have time to get back to it later and polish your paper to perfection.

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Learn the Key Mistakes That You Tend to Make

Many undergrads have a tendency to slip into lack of punctuation or grammar mistakes. The reality is that every other writer has some little quirks that it is important to address and combat. Regardless of the nature of your mistakes, make sure to keep track of these quirks, create a separate document to include your most common mistakes as you notice them. You will learn your most common errors and correct them later when it’s time to do the editing part.

Take a Break Before You Edit Your Paper

Many undergrads tend to say, “My paper seems to look nice, should I edit it?” right after they finish it. Believe it or not but you have to take a short break after the process of writing. It’s no doubt that you’re like the majority of students ready to revise your paper soon after you finish it. However, your mind is fatigued now, which means you’re most likely to miss a lot of errors. Give your tired mind a rest and get back to your work in a day or two. Remember, every successful editor takes a break first and only then, s/he undertakes the process of text correction.

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Attribute Quotations

Various quotations from academic writers or any other authors should be properly attributed to them. When you check your paper, make sure to highlight all the quotations in the text and let your readers know where they all are from. If you’re working on a paper for college, provide a footnote in order to cite writers. In case you choose to use footnotes, you will have more issues to edit. In other words, you have to make certain every other footnote is formatted consistently. What is more, you have to also put a bibliography that includes all the books that you have used at the end.

Check the Assignment Criteria

It doesn’t matter how in-depth your research is or how sophisticated your written language is if you failed to meet your professor’s requirements in your work. If you were given some assignment criteria, make sure to check them carefully. Your task is to answer all the questions, format your paper in accordance with the academic requirements of your institution, and make sure that your ideas are developed in the right direction. Check if your paper is of the required length. If it happens to be longer than the length assigned by your tutor, you will have to cut out any text fragments that aren’t related to the given topic.

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Use Online Apps and Websites

Those students who tend to submit high-quality essays, book reviews, term papers, and dissertations are the ones who are tech-friendly. They have a list of software, tools, and apps that make the process of editing less challenging. Even the most talented and experienced writers usually use some tools to polish up their pieces. They need to do their best in order to ensure they don’t make the smallest mistakes. When it comes to the most popular apps and websites, we would recommend you check the following sources:

  • The Hemingway editor
  • Grammarly
  • Scribens
  • Ginger, and so on.

One of the best advantages of these options is that most of them are usually free of charge. In other words, you will be provided with a reliable helper without paying for it! Make sure to try some apps in order to find out which program or website is the most reliable. At the same time, pay attention to online citation generators, plagiarism checkers, and other useful options.

Always Read Your Work Aloud

Regardless of the type of academic work that you accomplish, it is important to read it aloud. When you actually hear your voice, you’re more likely to detect the errors that people usually miss when they read their texts in their heads. You will listen to what you have written and have a chance to:

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  • Detect inappropriate lexicon;
  • Find weak points in the text;
  • See the overuse of adverbs;
  • Erase wordy or watery sentences;
  • Find the misuse of the passive voice;
  • Spot punctuation and grammar mistakes, etc.

That’s it. Keep in mind that every writer has his or her own unique approach to editing. There’s nothing wrong with it! Make sure to do what works best for you. If, at some point, you feel like you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere, feel free to approach professional online editing companies for help, like All you have to do to co-work with a qualified expert is to approach one with a “Hi, please, help me proofread and edit my paper for me” request. Not only will they revise your work for a moderate price, but they will also provide you with some tips and tricks on how to learn to edit your piece on your own.

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