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Adding The Final Touches: How To Make Your Essay Shine

How to Make Your Essay Shine

Every student wants to write essays that would impress his/her professors and earn good grades. A lot of this skill boils down to practice – the more you write, the better you get at it. Some improvement can be achieved by learning specific tricks of the trade. However, one should not ignore another way to learn how to produce better academic writing – i.e., improving your skills of editing, proofreading, and finding other ways to add polish to your essay after you have already finished working on it. Of course, you can hire an essay editing service to do this job for you, but even if you use the assistance of such companies, it will not hurt to have a couple of aces up your sleeve.

Get Some Rest from Writing

Unless the deadline looms right ahead of you, avoid editing and proofreading immediately after having finished writing. The memory of working on the essay is still too fresh in your mind, and you will be inclined to skip over huge portions of text, thus missing a lot of mistakes. Take a break, at least an hour-long, a couple of days if you can afford it. It will allow you to view the text from a new perspective.

Change the Way It Looks

Another way to change the way you see the essay is to alter the way it looks, literally. You are used to seeing it on a monitor, so print it out, and change the font size and type while you are at it. This will make the text look unfamiliar enough to make you pay attention.


If you know yourself to be prone to specific types of mistakes, make a list of them and reread the essay several times, each time paying attention to only one of them. It will help you focus your attention and weed out the most important flaws that are likely to be in your essay. It is especially important if you are short on time – even if you are not able to find all mistakes, you will deal with the worst offenders.

Slow Down

When you read at your natural speed, you do not read every word. Your eyes focus on individual points every few words, which means you see entire phrases only using peripheral vision. Your brain recognizes the words but does not perceive individual letters – it assumes correctness and moves on. It is, obviously, not a very effective way to proofread and edit a text. If you want to catch all the mistakes, you have to force yourself to slow down and read every word carefully. The best way to do so is to read the essay aloud, slowly, and deliberately – thus you will not fall into your usual habit of reading rapidly.

Check for Consistency

Writing an essay is rarely a straightforward task of starting at the beginning and finishing at the end. One usually has to jump from place to place, add and remove bits and pieces here and there. As a result, sometimes an essay starts to look like a patchwork, with contradicting statements, sentences that hang in the air, and incomplete phrases. Reread your essay while paying attention to the contents. Do you stay consistent? Did you miss anything? Do you contradict yourself? Are any parts of the essay connected to fragments that are no longer there?

Check Your Formatting

Dedicate at least one separate rereading to making sure you got your formatting and referencing right. Consult your style guide whenever you are in doubt. When you are not in doubt, consult it anyway. Check if you referenced all your sources – even a single omitted quotation mark can lead to a plagiarism accusation, and you do not want that.

Check Your Style

Academic writing presupposes a very specific type of language. Avoid colloquialisms, slang, or jargon words. Do not use contractions if possible. Do not introduce emphatic words and expressions. Always strive to pick the most direct and specific way to say something. Avoid using long and complicated words if you can use a shorter and simpler alternative – your main purpose is to make yourself understood, not to sound sophisticated.

Writing a perfect essay is only part of the job. To make it achieve its true potential, you have to polish it and improve upon the work you have already done. Sometimes it takes almost as much time as the writing itself – but the results are almost always worth it.

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