Proofreading is another way of saying that you’re checking your work for mistakes and to make corrections. Proofreading is very useful as we often don’t notice the mistakes we make in our own work unless it is checked over carefully.
Below are some suggestions that may help you in proofreading your work. Remember that your work is marked based on how well the information you’ve written about comes together as well as spelling, punctuation and grammar, so proofreading is a good opportunity to make sure that your work makes sense!
- Proofread in pairs – get a friend to check your work for you. A fresh pair of eyes may spot mistakes that you don’t.
- Proofread as you go – if you check your work after every paragraph then you are less likely to make mistakes. However, you should still check it over at the end to make sure your work fits together coherently.
- Revisit it later – if you write your work with enough time to spare, you might find it useful to leave proofreading for a day or two to give your mind a break from the subject. That way, when you check your work, it will seem like you’re reading it with fresh eyes.
- Prepare mentally – proofreading is rather dull but it requires concentration. You must make sure that you are in the right frame of mind to proofread or you won’t spot mistakes. Try setting yourself a time limit in order to remain focused (e.g. “I am going to spend the next hour proofreading”)
- Print it out – some people struggle to spot mistakes on screen. Try printing your work and checking it over with a highlighter.
- Don’t assume that you were right first time – don’t forget, your work needs to make sense to your tutor as well as possibly being sent to external examiners. You must ensure that it will make sense to someone other than you.
- Don’t forget punctuation – it can be easy to spot spelling mistakes, but the punctuation is important too!
- Take advantage of a spellchecker (but don’t assume that it’s fool proof) – spellchecker will not notice mistakes such as writing ‘is’ as ‘si’ because it will assume you’re writing in Spanish. Equally, if you use a technical term, it may not know what the word is. Spellchecker is useful, but a tool that you use in conjunction with the other methods above.
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