How to Revise an Essay


Posted by Chris Zhang

August 26, 2019 at 3:00 PM

Essay College Guide

I remember my freshman English class vividly. It was called “Food for Thought,” and the texts we read for the class were about food. But what really stood out to me about the class was the system we had in place: we divided the class into groups of 4, and for each essay, we would have a rough draft we would present to our group, create another rough draft from the feedback of our group to present to our teacher, and then a final essay created from the feedback of our teacher. Obviously, not every class will have this built-in structure, but I found that this structure is the most conducive during the revision process.

Here are some not-so-obvious aspects of this structure that will help during the revision process: # Read and Consider all Feedback For my scenario, I would almost always get better feedback from my teacher than from my peers. I mean, chances are, my peers are as bad in writing as I am so what’s the point of considering their feedback? But you might find that your peers may be able to give you constructive feedback that your teacher wouldn’t have given you because they have a different perspective. When revising, getting as many different perspectives to look over your text and provide you feedback will give you a lot to work off of.

Another useful tip is reading other people’s essays and giving feedback. In my writing groups, I would often use some of the feedback I gave to my peers in my own essay. For instance, if I found my peer’s essay to not be cohesive and connect the ideas together, I would look to see if my essay had any of the same problems I saw in my peers’ essays.

Feedback Guides, not Directs

For one of my essays, the only feedback I got back from my teacher was to fix a few grammar mistakes. I fixed the mistakes, handed my essay in, and got back an A-. Just because you follow your teacher’s feedback or your peers’ feedback does not mean you are guaranteed an A on your paper. Feedback is supposed to guide you in potential improvements to your essay. You may find that you might not apply any of the feedback at all. You should look to see why your teacher or peer gave you feedback and how that feedback improves your essay. Obviously, you want to consider their feedback during the revision process, but you should also think of other potential changes based on the improvements of your essay.

Next Steps

Feeling stressed about upcoming essay due dates or exams? Check out our guide on how to deal with stress.

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Posted by Chris Zhang

Chris scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT in high school and is currently studying Economics and Data Science at Colby College. Fun Fact: The only movie he ever cried in was Fast and Furious 7.