How to Revise a Major Essay

After you receive a grade on a major essay (RA1, 2, or 3), you may revise that essay for a higher grade–after all, practicing effective revision is part of what this class is all about. When I receive your revision, I’ll average your original grade with your new grade. So if you earned a 70 on it the first time and revise to earn a 90, I’ll record an 80 in the gradebook in Moodle.

Here are the detailed guidelines:

  1. Revisions are due one month after the date the essay was originally due. (RA1 was due September 6, so revisions are due October 6.)
  2. When submitting a revision, I need to see both the original version and new version. Because your essays are posted on your blog, that gives you a few options, any of which is fine with me:
    • You could copy the text of your original essay into a new post, revise it there, and email me with links to both posts.
    • You could copy the text of your original essay into a word processor, revise it there, and email me a link to your original and attach a file with your new version.
    • You could copy the text of your original essay into a word processor, save it for the record, and then revise the original post. (This keeps your best material and only your best material on your blog.) Then email me an attachment with the original copy and a link to your revised version online.
  3. Before submitting a revision, you must take your essay to either the Writing Center or the Center for Learning Strategies. I need to see documentation that this visit happened.
  4. In addition to the advice you get from them, you must incorporate any advice I gave (usually found in the Moodle gradebook).
  5. When you email me your revision, include a detailed statement about what you changed. (If you just focused on the introduction and conclusion, say so.)

Let me also mention this: the most common choice students make when revising is to simply do a bit more proofreading, cleaning up commas and word choices here and there. These students usually only get another point or two for their troubles. To make this exercise in revision really worth it, it’s usually worthwhile to consider how to adjust major issues in the essay, perhaps by adding/deleting/moving paragraphs, writing entirely new pieces of evidence and explanations of that evidence, and completely rewriting introductions and conclusions.

For more advice, check out this page on Revising Drafts from UNC Chapel Hill’s Writing Center.


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