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Checklist for Revision

Revision is the art of “re-visioning” your writing. It’s about re-seeing what you’ve written and making changes to improve it. Revision is not proofreading the grammar. In fact, grammar should be the last thing you work on at this stage. Instead, you should look at your essay as a whole and make sure it is accomplishing what you set out to accomplish. Here are some basic steps to consider as you revise your essay.

  • Sharpen your focus by considering these questions: 
    • Does your thesis statement remain the central focus of the entire essay? 
    • Does your essay do what your thesis promises? 
    • Does your introduction set up that thesis? 
    • Does your conclusion drive that thesis home? 
    • Does each section of your essay support and relate to that thesis?
  • Strengthen the content by addressing these questions: 
    • Is your argument thorough and complete? 
    • Have you asked the hard questions and thought through the potential ramifications of the answers? 
    • Have you avoided making a claim too sweeping or too general? 
    • Are there specific facts, details, and examples that would add value to your ideas? 
  • Improve the organization by considering these questions: 
    • Does each paragraph have a topic sentence? 
    • Does your essay logically flow from one idea to the next? 
    • Do your ideas move smoothly from one paragraph to the next? 
    • Are your main ideas arranged in the most effective way? 
    • Does one organically lead into the next? 
    • Do your transitions effectively connect and move between ideas? 
  • Strengthen the paragraphs/sections by considering these questions: 
    • Does each paragraph/section focus on one main idea? 
    • Is each paragraph/section focused on the idea you intended for that paragraph/section? 
    • Does each paragraph/section relate to the overall thesis statement? 
  • Engage the audience by considering these questions: 
    • Does your paper connect with your audience? 
    • Is it interesting? 
    • Does your paper answer the "so what" question? 
    • Do your introduction and conclusion connect with your audience? 
    • Do your introduction and conclusion establish the significance of your topic? 
    • Does your reader know why this matters to them? 
  • Make sentence-level revisions using the following techniques: 
    • Strengthen your sentences by eliminating unnecessary repetition of words, cutting fluff, and using active verbs whenever possible. 
    • Clarify sentences by balancing parallel ideas, supplying missing words, keeping tenses consistent. 
    • Introduce sentence variety by combining choppy sentences, breaking up long sentences, mixing short and long sentences, and varying sentence openings. 
    • Refine your style by using appropriate language for the context, choosing exact words, eliminating jargon and cliches, and using figurative language when appropriate. 
  • Proofread carefully as a final step.