Editing forms a crucial aspect of the writing process. You can have all the concepts, the proper outline, structure, and the correct language and vocabulary yet fail to communicate effectively because of spelling or grammar errors. As a student, you not only need to write but edit your piece like a professional once you have finished the final draft to ensure it communicates whatever you intended. Other students opt to seek expert editing services from professional editors though this often comes with its benefits and drawbacks.

So if you want to edit your work once you have completed the drafting process, what should you consider to get your editing spot on?

Guidelines to Effective Editing  

  • Comprehend your professor’s prompt. In most cases, instructors issue students with prompts on how to go about their academic assignments. It can involve an essay, term paper, dissertation, or research paper. After finishing your academic paper’s draft, you need to crosscheck your instructor’s prompts to ensure your essay or paper has addressed the intended assignment.
  • Brainstorm techniques. Writing often involves different techniques, and whenever used at cross-purpose, it can take the shine out of a paper. Therefore, consider brainstorming and identifying the different techniques used to write to ensure they have gotten deployed correctly.
  • Outlining. It forms a crucial aspect of writing and editing as well. An outline will allow you to scheme through the document with ease. Similarly, when editing, you can quickly identify spots to improve and possible disconnects with the text. Because of this, you can readily make changes and make the paper compelling.
  • Revising. Even the keenest eye can miss out on a crucial aspect of your work, especially when it comes to editing. Revise your work and ensure everything proves in place.
  • Reverse outlining. It implies starting your editing process backward as you will read your outline backward. Key elements of your write-up should make sense when removed from the context of the paragraphs they exist. Such a strategy proves crucial in ensuring clarity of message when it comes to the academic paper.
  • Organization maps also become instrumental when editing as it eases the process and makes it more fun.

Editing Checklist

Your editing process can prove a smooth and efficient process once you understand what to look for in correcting your paper. To do this, consider these questions and whether your paper fulfills all required elements critical to the paper’s success.

  • Does the paper fulfill every requirement that the assignment demands?
  • Can you identify a thesis statement in the paper? Can you classify the thesis as specific?
  • Can you spot a topic sentence in each body paragraph, and is it at the beginning of the paragraph?
  • Do you see the need to elongate or shorten some paragraphs?Do all the paragraphs seem of the same length?
  • Have you examined the paper for excessive repetition? (Including phrases, words, sentence constructions, etc.)
  • Do transitions exist between paragraphs in your paper?
  • Do the transitions exist between sentences?
  • Can you consider your conclusion as repeating your introduction or summarizing your argument? Have you extrapolated something useful? Have you explained to your audience why the paper proves crucial to them?
  • Have they gotten seamlessly integrated within the body text after and before the targeted quote if you employed quotations?
  • Have you formatted by use of indentation the quotes on three lines?
  • Have you used the correct number and a diversity of sources?
  • Have you documented quotations and paraphrases appropriately and using the ratified citation guide (APA, MLA, Harvard, etc.)?
  • Does your paper have a meaningful and original title?
  • Have you included the page numbers?
  • Have you maintained a consistent verb tense use?
  • Have you used powerful verbs?
  • Have you correctly used passive or active voices?
  • Have you read the whole paper aloud? Have you checked for errors and combing it word by word?
  • Have you eliminated pointless words?
  • Have you carefully proofread your paper for punctuation and spelling errors?
  • Have you checked for different sentence structures besides length? You can accomplish this by reading the paper out loud and making slash marks at the tail end of every sentence read. You can then check the sentences for their lengths before mixing them up.
  • Check for and ensure complete sentences.


Plenty goes into the editing process. Therefore if you have a document that you want to edit, consider the mentioned guidelines and get started.