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How to Revise an Essay: A Guide with Free Tips


How do you revise an essay to make it stellar? The first thing you should be doing if you are about to revise a paper is congratulating yourself for getting the first draft out of the way! For many students getting this far as a difficult task and if you’ve given yourself time for a complete essay revise then you are well on your way towards earning a better grade. But you aren’t home free just yet. Paper revision is a serious activity that requires your undivided attention. And before we get to showing you how to revise an essay correctly, we are going to explain what it actually means when we revise an essay.

What Does it Mean to Revise Your Essay?

When you revise your essay you are essentially re-envisioning a piece of writing with fresh and critical perspective. The literal definition of the word states “to look over again in order to correct or improve” followed by a second definition that states “to make a new, amended, improved, or up-to-date version of.” This means that if you are learning how to revise a paper and expect it to be all about fixing spelling or punctuation mistakes, you’re wrong.

The correct revision of an essay begins with a reconsideration of your argument, including checking and evaluating your supporting evidence and examples, refining the argument or purpose, and reorganizing the overall presentation. You’re looking for ways to make your paper better and this could only be achieved with a thorough revision essay.

How Do Your Revise an Essay with Little Time?

Ideally, you want to work on a revision essay days after writing a first draft and days before the final assignment is due. But sometimes this simply can’t be done. So you need to work faster with fewer breaks in between. The following is an essay revision plan that takes only five steps and will help you make adequate revisions to your paper without taking up too much of your time:

  1. Go Through Your Essay and Highlight the Topic Sentence in Each Paragraph

    The opening sentence to each of the body paragraphs has a very important purpose. It tells the reader what you will be discussing and sets the tone for the rest of the paragraph. Much like the introductory hook and problem statement, your topic sentence needs to grab the reader’s attention clearly and concisely. Don’t write anything that may be misconstrued or that may be flat out confusing. State the purpose succinctly.

  2. Read the Topic Sentences Aloud to See if they Achieve Your Desired Effect

    This is when a lot of students begin to consider using one of the many free essay revision services. They can certainly be handy, but you can’t be certain that the service you send your work to will understand precisely what it is you intend to present or communicate in your writing. If you only have a few hours to make your revisions, you are taking a big risk by sending your assignment to a free service that may not make the changes you had in mind.

  3. Create a Revised Essay Outline to Ensure Your Argument Flows Logically

    An outline is essentially the framework that goes into building the entire essay. Another way to think of an outline is that of a skeleton. Using our first comparison the lines of your essay make up the walls and fixtures and using our second comparison the lines of your essay are your organs and muscles. After you have identified parts that can be reorganized, create a new outline to guide you through the revised version of your assignment.

  4. Rewrite Each Body Paragraph to Ensure the Content Fleshes-out Each Point

    You may hesitate to jump on to this one considering that you have little time left on the clock. But rewriting each body paragraph can pull and tie your essay together. You should have all the content you need and some really good sentences and paragraphs to work with, so the rewrite process shouldn’t take you nearly as long. Perhaps a word comes to mind that is stronger than one you used earlier, or you find that you could be clearer in making your argument. Try this exercise if you can afford the time.

  5. Consider Cutting or Adding New Paragraphs to Make Your Argument Stronger

    Finally, a part of the revision requires you to make tough decisions about the content in your essay. You may have sentences or paragraphs that don’t make your essay stronger. You should cut these out entirely or consider rewriting them. You also may find that you need to add new content. If this is the case, then review your original notes and put in the missing information you feel will take your essay to the next level.

Are There Any Programs That Will Revise My Essay Free?

Most writing programs come with built-in spell checkers and grammar checkers. These are basic and help identify easy fixes, but they aren’t entirely reliable since there are cases where these types of programs won’t be able to differentiate between words or phrases. There is a really good free online essay revision program called Grammarly which many students use as a back-up. The company does have pay-for-service which includes many more features, but as far as we know the cost is out of most students’ budgets. If you want a trustworthy way to revise essay online, a good academic writing and editing service charge you just for the work you need to be done, instead of asking you to pay for an entire year.

How to Revise an Essay in College

An essay revision for a college-level assignment isn’t that much different than when you revise essay in middle school or high school. A college assignment will be under greater scrutiny which will require that you spend more time on this phase of the writing process. You’re also likely to have several other responsibilities that you must handle, so extra planning and proper use of your time are really important.

Do You Have any Tips to Revise My Essay?

Yes, we do! Our writing and editing experts have years’ worth of experience and have put their knowledge together to create this list of tips that will revise paper efficiently and effectively:

  • Put your paper away for a few days. Don’t start the revision process until you can do so with a fresh set of eyes.
  • Create an essay revision checklist to guide you through each of the steps you need to follow to make the proper corrections and improvements.
  • Check to see if you can find revision essay examples on the web that show before and after versions of academic assignments.
  • Read your first draft aloud. This will help you identify parts that don’t sound quite right because they are confusing or poorly written.
  • Have a second look at your original notes. You may find that some information you left out might make your paper stronger.
  • If you have the time, conduct a little more research. Do this especially when you find some areas of your paper that are weaker.
  • Create a new outline. There are times when you find areas that can be rearranged for greater effect. A new outline will guide your revised draft.
  • Check with a friend, classmate, tutor, or teacher to read your first draft. Their notes can benefit you when you start making revisions.
  • Rewrite your introduction and conclusion. Sometimes this helps put your essay into a more effective framework that you can use to revise your body paragraphs.
  • After you make revisions, set your paper aside for another day or two to approach your editing and proofreading from a fresh perspective.

Despite the presence of several reliable websites that will revise essay online free, it is to your advantage to consider going to a professional essay proofreading service. Even if you don’t end up hiring an expert, you will find plenty of free resources like tip sheets and how-to articles that you can download for free and learn more about the revising process.

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