Kateproof offers an affordable and efficient proofreading service

Hints and tips for students

Posted on 16th January 2011

Back when I was a student making ends meet on my loan, there was no way I could have afforded to pay a professional proofreader, though I have no doubt it might have helped me as after spending three months staring at my dissertation, reading it one more time to check for errors definitely wasn't high on the agenda.

However, I am aware that this is the case for lots of students, and will only get worse when fee costs rise, so here are some hints for you to try and help banish those errors (some of these hints are useful for anyone writing something for public consumption, not just students).

  • Set out your style guide early on (see 'Work it Baby' blog)
  • Print the work out and proofread on paper - it is much easier to focus on the work this way, then when you transfer the amends back to the computer, make sure to look out for Word's underlining for grammar and/or spelling errors. Word doesn't always get it right, so don't just accept their changes, but it can be a good back up sometimes
  • Read the document backwards - i.e. do the last paragraph first, then the penultimate paragraph etc., this way you are forcing yourself out of the 'norm' and will read it more objectively
  • Don't leave the reference section to last - this is the most time consuming and fiddly part but can count for 10% of the marks so give it the attention it deserves. Get a tutor to check one or two of your references to make sure you're doing it right, then just follow that style for all the rest
  • Swap work with a friend (assuming you trust their English) - you proofread their work and they check yours
  • Don't just check for spelling and grammar - you're looking for consistency in formatting, spelling variations, footnotes/end notes, contents page matches page numbers etc.
  • Leave enough time for the proofreading - it's not worth spending weeks of time researching and writing the essay/dissertation only to leave yourself no time to check it. If you are getting someone else to proof it for you, then also remember you'll need time to go through the changes and comments as you can't just accept all amends and hope it's ok!

Obviously I am not trying to lose work for myself here so if you'd rather go to the pub than check your work again, get in touch for a quote but if that's not financially possible, then good luck with the proofing!

Written by Kate Haigh.