Skip to main content

Why Revise?

After you complete the drafting/writing stage, it is time to revise the last draft. Many students will simply proofread their first draft and think it is done. Wrong! Revision is necessary to improve the content of your work. You are doing more than catching errors in spelling and grammar. When you revise, you are assessing whether your writing is coherent and your argument is sound. Does the essay flow logically? Will it make sense to a new reader? Have I proven my argument? Are there any ways that I can improve the organization, logic, flow, and so on?

Why should I review my first draft? It looks great!

All essays must be revised. It does not matter who has done the writing, there is always room for revision. Research has shown that, in an academic environment, a revised and well-edited document will result in at least one grade higher on the submission. You might think that your first draft meets the criteria for the assignment. It may, but at what level of achievement? Revision is time consuming if it is thorough. Often students do not factor in the extra time that a good revision will take. No matter how satisfied you are with your first revision, keep revising; you will be amazed to find imperfections every time you read through it.


Do not revise right away. Set your essay or report aside for a few hours before revising. You need to give your brain a rest and have some distance to be able to catch your own errors.

Can I not just revise on my computer?

It depends. For most people, it is a good idea to print out your draft so you can see the big picture! On-screen editing only lets you see your ideas frame-by-frame which is not as effective when you are asking yourself "What is my point?" Make sure that every paragraph and every point in each paragraph supports your main thesis or argument. On a paper copy of your essay, you can jot notes, cross things out, draw arrows, and even cut and paste paragraphs using scissors and tape. Think of your essay as a jigsaw puzzle. Do you have all the pieces to create a clear picture of your argument? Are the pieces placed in the correct location?


Remember to be critical and analytical of your own points and argument.