Checking drafts of essays

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1. Checking drafts takes place when you have produced the first version of an essay. You should be prepared to check through it carefully. Make any changes necessary to improve the clarity and effectiveness of what you have written.

2. Do not be tempted to hand in the essay just because you have written the last word.

3. You should eliminate any weaknesses. Check your punctuation and grammar.

4. Correct any mistakes, and even rearrange the order of your paragraphs if it will improve the quality and coherence of your argument.

5. Eliminate anything which is not strictly relevant to the question topic(s) you have been asked to deal with.

6. Use the list of suggestions which follow to check that you have covered what is required.

7. Try to avoid thinking of the first draft as the finished essay, no matter how much effort you have put into its production.

8. Regard it instead as the raw material from which a more considered and well-crafted second draft will be produced. You should be prepared for extensive re-writing.

9. When word-processing your work, edit the final draft on screen.

10. Eliminate all errors and add all your corrections before printing out the final draft.


  • Write out the question accurately and fully at the head of your draft
  • Answer its specific directions and follow any instructions in the rubric
  • Cover all the main aspects of the question topic(s) concerned
  • Answer in a concise, clear, and logical manner
  • Remain strictly relevant to the question throughout
  • Stay within any given word limit required
  • Move smoothly from one point of argument to the next
  • Provide good illustrative examples and evidence to support your claims
  • Acknowledge your sources and supply either endnotes or footnotes
  • Provide a bibliography

© Roy Johnson 2003

Essay writing links

checking drafts Writing Essays

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Red button Writing Essays 3.0

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