Prepping Your Academic Assignment for Submission: What You Have to Do
When you write the last line of yet another academic assignment, it is incredibly tempting to call it a day and decide that your job is done. You have spent so much time working on it that even looking at it makes you sick. Isn’t your effort enough to get a good grade? Unfortunately, quite often it is not. In most cases, the first draft of an assignment is very far from perfection and can greatly improve from a bit of revision, editing, and proofreading. However, it is not enough to reread your paper, correcting mistakes as you find them – it should be just a part of a larger effort. You may make use of online academic editing services or do it on your own – just make sure you follow a certain procedure. So, how does one go about preparing one’s assignment for submission? Let’s find out.
Check Your References
While they may seem to be of marginal importance to you, in fact, references are one of the most important factors in the success of any research paper. First of all, you have to make sure you properly reference every idea that does not belong to you. If you quote or paraphrase somebody’s thoughts, you should mention their source. If you forget to do it or do it incorrectly, you can be accused of plagiarism, which is about the worst thing that can happen to an academic writer.
Check Your Formatting
Another seemingly unimportant factor that greatly influences your grade is how well you manage to adhere to a specific formatting style. Always keep your style guide close at hand and consult it whenever you are in doubt, especially if you have to use different formatting styles for different assignments – it is very easy to start mixing them up. Use online tools that automatically create bibliography entries according to specific styles.
Start with the Bigger Picture
When editing, start with larger units and go down to smaller ones. First, analyze your paper as a whole and try to decide whether you manage to get your point across in general. Do you use effective arguments? Are they arranged in a logical fashion? Do you have to add, subtract or rearrange something? Then go to the level of individual paragraphs. What about their internal structure? How are they connected to each other? Move on to the level of sentences. Do you use proper grammar everywhere? What about your punctuation? Finally, check your words. Is your spelling correct? Do you know the meaning of all the words you use?
Edit for Structure
What do you think about the general structure of your paper? Do individual parts (chapters, paragraphs, sections) flow into each other naturally? Are there any gaps in your reasoning and logic? Do you have to add transitions between segments or place them differently? All these are the questions you have to consider before you start working on more specific things. If any of your paragraphs covers more than one major point or is longer than a page, you should break it up into two or more smaller paragraphs to make the whole more readable.
Edit for Style and Vocabulary
The required style may differ depending on the discipline you study and the topic you write about, but in general academic writing is pretty straightforward in terms of which words and stylistic devices are accepted and which are inappropriate. Make sure your register is the same you expect to see in any scholarly paper. If you used any colloquialisms, slang, or jargon words, replace them with analogs that are more neutral. Avoid vague words and bland generalizations – scholarly prose is all about precision and specificity. If you cannot say anything specific about a subject, better not say anything at all.
It is quite obvious that there is a lot to do even after you have finished writing your paper. Do not put just a token effort into your editing and proofreading – do a proper job of it, and you will be able to achieve the full potential of your paper. Otherwise, you risk getting a poor grade even for an otherwise well-written assignment.