How to Revise Your Essay after Receiving Feedback

Below is a new handout I created after discussing revision with my first-year seminar. Hope this is useful and you can access as a Word file in the link provided in the title below.

How to Revise Your Essay after Receiving Feedback

When you receive your essay with feedback (highlighting, track changes, comments), save that file to your hard drive (not One Drive) and then “Save as” in Word (hard drive, not One Drive) a new file following Essay submission guidelines for naming files.

Work on your revision directly with this copy of your essay and make sure track changes are off (in Review tab).

Address all feedback, creating a clean copy as you work. Refer to Guidelines for Managing and Submitting Assignments in order to work with track changes and comments (as well as removing highlighting). You can address track changes one at a time or all at once.

NOTE: Be sure to revise and edit beyond the direct feedback that you receive. Review your essay carefully for issues similar to the feedback that are not marked for you.

Revise and edit your essay independently also. Consider the following revision/editing strategies to improve any essay regardless of the feedback you receive:

  • Revise your essay for concision; making an essay briefer almost always improves the quality of the essay. Attack wordiness by addressing common usages such as “the fact that” or “a person who.” Consider using the Hemingway App for some practice; this will identify passive voice, overuse of adverbs, and overlong sentences, for example.
  • Revise your essay for sentence and paragraph variety. Check that you are not starting either the same way over and over.
  • Address word choice/diction. Make sure your level of diction (formal v. conversational) matches the type of essay and the seriousness of your topic. The backbone of your writing is your usage of nouns and verbs so review your essay for strong, vivid, specific/concrete nouns and verbs. Notably, avoid “to be” and “to get” verbs when a vivid action verb can be used.
  • Review your essay for clarity, avoiding ambiguity and misplaced words/information. Specifically address dangling modifiers and misplaced words (see also HERE).
  • Reconsider your opening and closing. How you start and end an essay have profound impacts on your reader. Careful revision of these sections is always warranted.