It is hard after you finish your assignment to sit back and sigh in relief. Unfortunately, finishing a paper is just the first step to completion. Part of becoming an adult is taking responsibility for your work. The only way to guarantee that you receive the grade that you desire is by checking over your work and then rechecking it. We are all human and make mistakes even when we are being careful. Proofreading
is the only way to catch those mistakes which can be made. If you don't give yourself enough time to complete your work, you won't have enough time to look it over and make sure it is perfect and A material.
Time management is one of the hardest lessons that you will learn throughout your academic career. If you were able to put off your coursework in high school until the night before, that is no longer appropriate. The mistakes that you make in high school will not be acceptable in college. Simple mistakes not only leave a bad impression to the professor, but in some cases they can cause some significant problems for you. Finishing your assignments ahead of time is important to have the time to correct any unforeseen mistakes in time to hand it in.
What is proofreading?
Many college students make the mistakes of thinking proofreading is about checking for punctuation, spelling and grammar mistakes. Proofreading professional academic papers
entails so much more, and also requires much more time than simply running a spell check on your computer program. Whether you do the proofreading on your own, or ask for the assistance of a colleague, the key to successfully proofreading your assignments is to allot enough time to have it done successfully. Waiting until the last minute is not the best way to go about proofreading. Proofreading takes time and skill. It can't be done in the matter of minutes, you must fact check, look over the points and arguments made in the argument, deconstruct your paper and then make sure that it is cohesive, flowing and conclusive.
It isn't like a high school atmosphere where if you configure an invalid argument, don't adhere to the guidelines, have spelling or grammar errors, or errors in your citing of information, or the information contained, it means that you don't get an A. In an academic setting, if you use faulty information, or don't cite correctly, it can be paramount to copyright infringement, or plagiarism, which is a serious offense leading to an incomplete at best, expulsion at worst. At a college level, or professional academic level, fact checking is a part of proofreading and a must.
How long will proofreading take?
Ideally you should have at least a full day or two to proofread and then a day or more to correct. So, if your paper is due on a certain date, you should schedule your time to have a minimum of three additional days to read over your paper, proofread and fact check it. If you are going to ask someone else to proofread it for you, you should allow them the same amount of time. Don't ask them last minute for the favor, schedule the time with them so they are aware of the task and you have enough time not only to correct, but to go over their suggestions with them. Sometimes it may take more time when someone else proofreads it, but it may be well worth the effort to have an outside opinion. Often times we read things with bias which will taint the efforts of proofreading our own material.
What should you look for when proofreading your paper?
There are several categories that you should look for when you read over your paper or assignment. It is best to proofread it more than once, and then once corrections are made, proofread it again. It can be a tedious task, but in the end one that is well worth it for the grade you desire. In general, you should specifically proofread for:
- Grammatical errors
- Poignancy of the hypothesis statement
- Validity of works cited
- Validity of works used
- Argument formation
- Conclusion of argument
- Substantiating evidence
The most important part of many of the papers you will write is how well the paper substantiates, or proves the hypothesis statement. When proofreading make sure that the hypothesis statement is exactly how you want to state it, and exactly what you set out to prove in your paper. The next most important part is how well you summarized it, and concluded it in the conclusion of your paper. The conclusion is where you should tie together all the evidence and form the conclusion of your argument. If you aren't able to, the paper is entirely invalid.
Proofreading is often misunderstood as a way of students to read over their paper for spelling and grammatical errors. At a college, or academic level, it is so much more. When you proofread your paper
you must make sure that you have validity not only stated your argument in your hypothesis statement, but that you have used relevant information to back up the hypothesis statement with credible sources in the body of your paper. Although more inconvenient, sometimes it is best to get a fresh eye, or an outside individual to proofread your paper. They may be able to see a faulty argument, or something that you missed, because they will not read it with the same bias.
Setting aside enough time for proofreading does not mean a couple of minutes or more. Setting aside at a minimum two days for proofreading and corrections is the only way to insure you have enough time to make the necessary attention to detail that you need to get the desired grade. Becoming a professional means acting like one. That means that before you hand in any work that will represent you, you make sure that it represents you in the best light possible.