Tips on Effective Proofreading your Written Work

Students always have a lot on their plate, and consequently, spend as little time on assignments as possible. Because of this, academic assignments, such as research papers get completed under tight timelines, but hardly get proofread because of time. Consequently, students end up scoring poorly despite the energy and resources invested in writing the draft documents. Another bunch of students make an effort to proofread their work though most of them also lack the technical know-how to go about it.

So how can you proofread your academic work effectively?

Tips on Effectively Proofreading Your Academic Work

  • Proofread backward. Try and start reading your work from the conclusion upwards, and ensure that you move paragraph-wise. Such an action will make you notice some surface elements that you would otherwise not have noticed.
  • Use a ruler by placing it under every line as you go through the text. It will allow you to focus on a manageable volume of text at a go.
  • Comprehend your typical mistakes. It can prove useful to go through papers you wrote previously, and enumerate some of the common errors you repeatedly find yourself making.
  • Proofread your work for a single type of mistake at any particular time. For instance, if commas constitute your greatest weakness, then peruse the document and check errors related to commas alone. After you finish with such an error, then you can move to the next one, and so forth.
  • Take a small break after you finish writing the document before proofreading.
  • Proofread during the day when you feel the most optimum, especially when alert and can spot errors.
  • Read aloud. Reading aloud allows you to hear every word you penned down and how each word and sentence sounds. Because of this, you cannot risk glossing over the errors in grammar or sentence structure, unlike when you read silently.
  • Seek for another set of eyes in identifying errors in your document. Ask someone that proves close to you, such as a friend or family member.
  • Review backward. It can help to review each paragraph in starting with the last one. If each paragraph makes sense as a standalone, then you can know that your document’s quality proves almost satisfactory. Further, this will help you concentrate on grammar and punctuation errors rather than substance errors.
  • Understand your routines. The best person to help you with this can prove your instructor as they can note errors you commonly make, including those in past papers.
  • Re-read your paper severally with each phase focussed on a distinct aspect such as spelling, punctuation, etc. It will also assist you to concentrate and ensure that you do better.
  • Use an instrument, such as a spell-checker, to spot and correct mistakes in your computer. However, take care as computers also err by suggesting misplaced words.
  • Get assistance. Try and search for help on the writing handbook whenever you feel unsure of something grammatical or punctuation-related.


Editing encompasses a lot more than spotting errors. It could help if you polished your sentences by making them exciting, smooth, and clear. Try and become weary of long sentences as their clarity reduces as the sentence length increases. Additionally, become attentive to your writing rhythm. So, use sentences with different patterns and lengths besides searching for repetitions, unnecessary phrases, and obstinate spots. So adhere to the mentioned guidelines to see yourself improving in your proofreading capability.