So you think you’ve finished that essay?


Finishing an essay, closing the page of your project book on an assessment, and placing the final full stop against the final sentence on the very last paragraph of your homework is a wonderful feeling… but hang on a minute. Have you really finished?

Have you done those few final checks that turn an okay piece of work into a polished study?

Follow these seven simple steps to make sure all the effort you’ve put into your work will earn you the best mark possible.

1.      Print out your work and read it through – slowly- from start to finish. Often the eye will pick up errors on the paper that it will miss on the computer screen.

2.      Once you’ve typed in any changes from your paper edits, read the whole essay/project again.

3.      Is your formatting / font style / font size correct and uniform throughout your work?

4.      Are your pages numbered?

5.      Is your name on each piece of paper?

6.      Does your work need a bibliography? If so, make sure you have remembered to include it at the back of your work. Don’t forget to add both the book and the online sources you have used.

7.      Run a final spell and grammar check.

A tutor can always tell when a student has made the effort to check through their work and taken that extra bit of care with their studies. By doing these few tasks at the end of every project, you’ll get one step closer to achieving the high exam mark you are aiming for.

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Dr Kathryn Bates is a graduate of archaeology and history. She has excavated across the world as an archaeologist, and tutored medieval history at Leicester University. She joined the administrative team at Oxford Open Learning twelve years ago. Alongside her distance learning work, Dr Bates is a bestselling novelist, and an itinerant creative writing tutor for primary school children.

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