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College Essays: A Revision Checklist

Posted on September 26, 2011 in categories: Uncategorized

Revision and even studying for any essay is rarely as simple as getting all the facts, memorizing them all and the regurgitating them on to the page. There are a number of questions to help you check if the essay you have written is on the right track to success were it academic or otherwise at different stages along the way.

Before you start planning and answer to any essay question, take a moment to reflect:

  • Have I understood the question and its implications thoroughly? Could I have missed something?

Once you have completed planning:

  1. Does my introduction clearly analyze all the implications of the question and indicate my opinion and structure my answer will follow?
  2. Is my line of argument or reasoning logical?
  3. Will my essay flow from section to section and from paragraph to paragraph?
  4. Does the topic sentence provide a clear, concise introduction in to the content of each paragraph or argument that I present?
  5. Does each argument have sufficient depth, supporting evidence, information and examples?
  6. Does the examples and evidence I use really support my argument?

Having a detailed plan, you put in to action and write the essay. Once you have finished, it’s time to take a moment and reflect upon it:

  1. Are there any sections that are difficult to read? Are there badly written sentences or paragraphs that need rewriting to make my arguments and reasoning clear?
  2. Have I shown the logic of my arguments and demonstrate them to the reader instead of just telling them?
  3. Did I deal with all the implications I thought about? Are all my arguments relevant to answering the question?
  4. Have I overlooked any major issues or spent to much time on something of lesser importance?
  5. Do my arguments stand on their merit? Can I defend them in a discussion?
  6. Did I add any new ideas or information in the conclusion that was not addressed in the body of the essay?
  7. Does my conclusion link back to the introduction?

One question before you start planning, six questions before you start writing and seven questions once you have finished writing your essay. Ask and answer them honestly and you will place yourself on the path to essay writing success.