What would you tell a student not to do when preparing his or her final draft for a major assignment, and why?
Writing a good essay can take time and multiple revisions. Depending on the feedback you've received, your final draft should end up being a "publishable" version of your work.
If you've reached the final draft version of your assignment, it implies you have done the research, brainstormed/created an outline, written at least one other draft (if not two), and submitted some or most of this work for feedback.
Because all writing assignments are different, there may be different steps in the final stages of the writing process. However, there are a few common dos and don'ts.
- Don't change major aspects of the essay/argument, unless you're going to revise the entire paper. Sometimes we get too close to our topic, and by the end of the writing process, we start unnecessarily nitpicking our papers.
- Don't add "fluffy" sentences or pretentious words to make your paper sound better. Focus on what you know and keep your points clear.
- Don't just hit spell check/use Grammarly and think your paper is flawless. While we don't want to do a complete rewrite for our final draft, we do want to make sure our sentences flow and our arguments are sound.
- Read your paper out loud to catch errors you may miss while reading silently. Sometimes our brains fill in the gaps to make our lives easier. You can also have someone else read your paper to catch clarity issues and problems with sentence structure.
- Reach out to the teacher/professor to ensure you understand feedback. Don't be afraid to ask questions!
- If you are writing an essay based on a prompt, read your paper then read the prompt again. Ask yourself, have you fully answered the question?
The bottom line: if you take the time at the beginning of the writing process to prepare your research/outline, you have an easier task at the end of your journey. The final drafting process should be focused on ensuring you've answered the prompt, accepted all feedback, and corrected grammar/spelling issues.
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