A Guide on How to Proofread an Academic Paper in a Quality Manner

A very important piece to writing great academic papers is taking the time to thoroughly proofread your work for errors in style, spelling, and grammar. It's a learned skill that should be taken very seriously if you want to take your grades to a higher level. Here are some things you should know about proofreading an academic paper in a quality manner:

Before Starting:

Before you start proofreading you want to make sure that you have already revised the largest aspects of your work so that what you finally are proofreading is a near complete version of your paper. So be sure that you aren't making any corrections at the word or sentence level if you still need to revise things like organization, focus or development of your argument.

Give yourself some distance from the point you are writing to the point you are proofreading. You will be more likely to catch mistakes and be critical of your work if you give yourself 15 to 30 minutes before proofreading.

Think about some comments you have received from your professor. These are the things you should keep in mind when you start proofreading, because these are the things your instructor will look to see if you have improved.


Use your computer's search function to search for simple and minor mistakes you are likely to make. For instance search for "it's" and "its" or "there" and "their" - getting these out of the way to begin with will let you focus on other mistakes.

Print out your paper and don't attempt to make corrections from your computer screen. You may also try to read out loud when you proofread, since the sound of each sentence and word may indicate to you where language is confusing.

A great technique when proofreading is to cover up the paragraphs you aren't reading, so that you are focused on just one section. You could also try to read starting from the end of the academic paper and move towards the beginning. This lets you focus on just single sentences. Check separately for each type of mistake you tend to make.

The final thing to do is use your computer's spell checker to find any spelling errors. Be sure you approve or disprove each selection, since your computer will not know the difference between certain words. Remember that both "word" and "ward" are correct in spelling but mean very different things.

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