It’s almost a requirement that you have a third-party read over anything you’ve written prior to submission. In addition to invaluable feedback and criticism, an extra pair of eyes are useful in catching grammar and spelling mistakes you may have otherwise missed. But unfortunately not everyone has the luxury of having someone on hand to read their work. In such times it’s critical that writers learn how to edit by themselves. Here’s a list of five tips that are sure to help you become a better self-editor in the event you are your only proofreader prior to submission:
Wait 24 hours: Recently written words have a tendency to be read in our heads as we intended to write them, making possible mistakes hard to sniff out. Waiting a day or two to edit your own work allows you time to lose familiarity with the writing and better detect errors.
Read it out loud: Speaking your words out loud not only helps you improve the flow of your writing, it enables you to catch grammatical mistakes you could be missing on account of “looking” for errors rather than sensing them as an absorber of information.
Read it backwards: Another clever way to outwit your brain’s habit of scanning over the finer details of writing is to read your work backwards. By separating your work into individual sentences that don’t flow together, you can focus more on the specifics of each written thought or idea.
Know your most common mistakes: Old habits die hard (kind of like clichés) and it’s important that writers remember where their work tends to be its weakest. That way you can be on a look out for the specific errors you make the most. Write a list if you have to, but try and commit it to memory.
Proofread all the time: Whether reading an article in the New York Times or poring over medical coding industry news on your smartphone, always be on the lookout for spelling errors and poor grammar. Not only is it exciting to uncover mistakes in mainstream media and printed literature, it trains you to become a natural editor which in turn helps you better proofread your own writing.
Editing should always be done by somebody else. But the reality for most writers, especially those of you in school, is that proofreading must be done by yourself. If this is the case, then become a better self-editor by incorporating the aforementioned tips into your proofreading plan.
By Jennifer Smith
- Select the letter of a category on which you should focus whenproofreading
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- You are about to proofread your essay before turning it in Which of the following strategies should you use to maximize your effectiveness?
The U.S. Department of Education’s Educational Resources Information Center states that Differential Aptitude Test measures people’s ability to succeed in the work force. Employers use these aptitude tests to determine applicants’ cognitive skills as well as clerical and language skills. The eight sections of Differential Aptitude Tests provide an easy way to assess your skills for jobs in management and other industries.
Verbal and Numerical Reasoning
Differential Aptitude Tests measure your verbal- and numerical-reasoning skills. These sections of the test assess how well you understand ideas expressed in word and in numbers.
These tests examine your ability to understand abstract ideas when there are no words or numbers to guide you.
Perceptual Speed and Accuracy
Differential Aptitude Tests measure your skills for working in places such as offices, scientific laboratories, stores and warehouses. The skills evaluated include completing paperwork, filing and checking data.
These tests test how easily you grasp physics laws governing everyday life, such as understanding machinery, tools and body movement.
This section of Differential Aptitude Tests accesses your ability to visualize 3-D pictures of solid objects by looking at the objects on paper.
The spelling section of Differential Aptitude Tests accesses how well you can identify the correct spelling of common English words.
This section of Differential Aptitude Tests accesses your command of the English language. It examines punctuation, capitalization and word choice.
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An essay is a short composition about a particular topic that is usually written from a personal perspective. Many students balk at essay writing; the mere thought of starting the assignment brings stress and anxiety. Students and instructors have identified common pitfalls experienced or encountered in the writing process. A frequently cited difficulty is writer’s block, a generic category which springs from various causes. Other weaknesses involve content, organization and grammar issues.
Treatment of Topic
Students may claim that the assigned topic is boring, vague or tough. The rebuttal is to be resourceful and creative. Look for an interesting angle. Scale the subject down to a manageable chunk or tweak it to a comprehensible level. On the other hand, if they’re given a choice of topic, students may be undecided, or keep changing their minds and take too long to make a final decision. The practical solution is to pick a topic with which they are familiar, or about which they are passionate or curious to learn more.
Planning and Preparation
Another deficiency lies in inadequate time and effort spent in organizing the outline, conducting research and writing the draft. Too often students dash off the writing assignment at the last minute just to meet the submission deadline. Some students go the other extreme by being perfectionists. They get overwhelmed with too much research and information overload, bogged down with unnecessary detail, or stuck with revising their work over and over. With proper guidance and mentoring, students can strike the right balance to devote just enough attention and energy to the essay.
Content and Value
The substance and quality of the essay can suffer for various reasons. For example, an essay in an argumentative genre requires supportive evidence to prove the writer’s point. The lack of authoritative sources, factual data or concrete examples weakens his position. He fails to convince the readers of the truth of his assertion or persuade them to his point of view. Poor choice of words can also affect the overall impression that the written work makes. Bland, safe words such as “nice” or “good” lack the rich nuances of meanings that imaginative rephrasing can improve. Cliches that have outlived their punch rob the essay of originality. The trick is to research and rewrite.
Organization and Structure
In a coherent essay, the central theme is clearly established in the introduction, developed in the body and synthesized in the conclusion. Without a smooth transition and logical progression of thought from one section to the other, the essay becomes a rambling work, lacking clarity of purpose and focus. Another danger is a lame ending that falls short of nailing down the concepts. These concerns can be resolved by reviewing and revising to achieve the essay’s objective and create a strong impact.
Grammar, which encompasses language rules from syntax to spelling, presents a host of problems. Sometimes the fault lies in simple carelessness. Neglecting to proofread or to pay attention to detail deducts points from an otherwise articulate work. The rubrics of subject-verb agreements and spotting dangling modifiers may not be a student’s strong suit, but with patience and practice he can master these intricacies.
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