Why should you edit and correct your own writing?

How to do it during the exam? Is there time?


To my mind, this element of the exam is equally important as the other ones. And it shouldn’t be omitted or avoided. On the contrary, you should plan the time during your exam for proofreading.


Here’s a 5-STEP EASY EDITING PROCEDURE that should make the self-editing process easier for you.

Your editing will be easier if you follow the following steps when writing your text from the very beginning.


  1. Plan

You can plan the content (ideas, arguments, examples), grammatical forms (tenses, active/passive voice), linking words (however, moreover), signposts (firstly, secondly …)

Click here to see the full blog post about How to plan your writing

  1. Structure, content and style

Make sure to:

  • cover all the points from the instruction,

  • use an appropriate form (letter, e-mail, mamo, report),

  • divide your text into paragraphs clearly,

  • start every paragraph with a topic sentence,

  • use formal style.

Click here to read more about formal style in writing.

  1. Logic

Make sure to:

  • connect ideas within paragraphs logically,

  • connect paragraphs with each other,

  • use appropriate linking (however, in addiction, consequently) and sequencing (first of all, finally, to conclude) words and expressions.

Click here to find out how to write a good paragraph and come up with arguments.

  1. Correctness

While you are checking your writing for mistakes try to answer the following questions:

  • Are all the sentences complete and finished?

  • Do all the sentences have a subject and a verb?

  • Do subjects and verbs agree?

  • Have you used appropriate tenses?

  • Do pronouns (it, they) have a clear reference?

  • Are your spelling and capitalisation correct?

Click here to read the blog post on Grammar for STANAG 6001 exams. 

  1. Proofreading

Never resign from proofreading, editing, correcting of what you have written.

Plan your time to do it.

Editing is crucial for the final shape of your text. It’s the vital point – the point when you decide that all your work hasn’t been for nothing.

Many people resign from proofreading because they lack the time, lack the knowledge how to do it or believe that it’s impossible to correct your own work.

So, how to do it? What to pay attention to?

First, make sure to check the following:

  1. Content

  • All points (topics) and functions (e.g. recommend, ask for information, etc) from the instruction

  1. Structure

  • Letter, e-mail, memo, report layout and format (e.g. headings, subject line)

  • Number of paragraphs

  • Clear division into paragraphs

  1. Style – in level 3 writing, make sure to follow the formal style:

  • Full and complex sentences

  • Passive voice

  • Formal vocabulary

  • Synonyms

  • Impersonal (It is believed…)

  • Indirect

  • No contractions

  1. Logic

  • Ideas within paragraphs should be connected,

  • Paragraphs should be connected with each other,

  • Linking words (however, in addiction, consequently) and sequencing expressions (first of all, finally, to conclude) should be used.

  1. Correctness

  • Tenses

  • Endings

  • Capital letters and spelling

Secondly, in the case of exam texts, make sure to check them against the exam criteria.

For level 3, for example, these are the things that can cause a failure:

  • frequent grammatical errors which sometimes hinder understanding,

  • vocabulary sometimes used inappropriately (wrong choice of words, wrong

collocations, loan translation (calque),

  • mistaken parts of speech, e.g. a verb form used instead of a noun form), word order mistakes;

  • form – elements of informal style appear in the text, at least one point is not covered, the text is 10% shorter than the required number of words,

  • text illogical in some points, poor arguments with attempts of justification,

  • linking words occasionally used incorrectly,

  • parts of the text require some effort and interpretation to be understood.

And here are the main evaluation criteria for SLP 3 writing:

  • language resources and accuracy (range of vocabulary and grammatical correctness);

  • form (covering all points, length of text, formal language);

  • organisation and content (coherent and logical presentation of arguments, good choice of arguments and their development, linking words);

  • effect on the reader (does the text read well? is it understandable? is it easy to follow?).

If you need more details, templates and exercises which will lead you step-by-step through the procedure of successful level 3 writing, you can visit my shop and check out my newest e-books.

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