Questions to Ask During Revision

  • Have I studied my subject with sufficient care so that I understand what qualities in it caused my initial response, and have I studied it with sufficient care so that I have deepened or otherwise changed that response?
  • Is the title of my essay at least moderately informative?
  • Is the opening paragraph interesting and, by its end, have I focused on the topic?
  • Do I state my main point (thesis) soon enough--perhaps even in the title--and do I keep it in view throughout my essay?
  • Is the organization reasonable? Does each point lead to the next without irrelevancies?
  • Does each paragraph revolve around a topic idea, a criterion that directly supports my thesis?
  • Are generalizations or assertions about personal responses supported by illustrative examples, concrete evidence, research, etc.?
  • Are the sentences concise, clear, and emphatic? Are needless words and inflated language eliminated?
  • Is the concluding paragraph conclusive without being repetitive?
  • Are the quotations and paraphrases accurate? Is credit given to sources? Are photocopies of relevant sources included and crucial passages highlighted?
  • Are long quotations really necessary? Can some be shortened (either by ellipsis or by summarizing them) without loss?
  • Has the essay been proofread? Are spelling and punctuation correct?

If you answer no to any of the questions above, revise.

If you have several areas that need revision, which is the first thing you intend to revise? Why? Take five minutes to plan a revision strategy right here: