Here is some useful tips for proofing your assessments from the Study Skills Handbook.
1st Proof:It’s a good idea to relocate from your work space for this. For example, take your assignment to a park or another room – somewhere you will sit with new focus for a set time. Go to this place with the sole purpose to proof. Ensure you take the criteria, what the question is asking with you. Your first proof needs to take into account the following factors.
WORD COUNT: Is the word count of your assessment within the specified limit? If it is not, note how many words need to be cut.
SPELLING / GRAMMAR: Spelling and grammar need to be correct. If you are using a computer, spell check will help – but don’t rely on it. For example, you might have typed ‘from’ when you meant ‘form’. The spell check won’t pick that up.
SOURCES: Are all sources listed for visuals, examples and quotes?
CRITERIA / QUESTION ANSWERED? Check the criteria and tick where you have addressed the criteria. You will then ensure your assignment answers everything asked.
REPETITION: It’s easy to repeat points, double check you haven’t done this.
USEFUL INFORMATION: It’s not uncommon to write unnecessary information. Do you have points that don’t really answer the question? Have you written clearly? Is there any information you could leave out? Is there any information that you realise needs to be added?
REINFORCE: This is where you need to finalise which words you will bold, highlight, underline etc. so your assignment clearly identifies the main points. Bolding can let the teacher see clearly that you have covered all the parts of the question, that there is a sequence of ideas and you have organised the information well.
FIX: Make sure that when you are back at your desk you fix all of the errors you have found.
2nd Proof: The next day repeat the above steps, but this time – READ YOUR ASSIGNMENT OUT LOUD! If you didn’t print your assignment to proof the first time, now could be the time. Reading and hearing the words spoken in different mediums can sometimes give a new perspective to your writing. Note down any changes you need to make, and make them.
3rd Proof: It’s always a good idea to ask someone to proof your assignment after you have proofed it first. It is common for the writer not to pick up typos or silly mistakes because he/she knows what they meant and sees the words they intended to write, and not the errors. So recruit a proof reader (parent, relatives, older sibling or friend etc.).
Click here for more information regarding the Study Skills Handbook.