5 Things to Include in Your Post-Essay-Writing Checklist

In the essay writing process, writing out the actual text is only half the job. There is a ton of stuff that you have to do afterward. You have to make sure that there are no grammar errors in the write-up, and you likewise have to make sure that there is no plagiarism in there, etc.

Since there is a lot of stuff, it’s easy to forget what steps you have to actually take.

To help you out with that, we’re going to be looking at five of the main steps that you have to include in your post-essay-writing checklist. That way, you won’t have to worry about forgetting any of them.

Things to include in your post-essay-writing checklist

1.    Checking and removing grammar errors

The first thing that you have to do after writing the first draft is find and remove grammar and spelling-related errors from it.

The thing about these types of errors is that everyone makes them. No one, by virtue of their skill or expertise, is above grammar/spelling mistakes. While the number and frequency can differ between a rookie and an expert, the presence of such errors is a given.

Plus, these errors tend to be so sneaky that they can stay hidden even through multiple proofreading sessions.

The takeaway…

You first have to be extra vigilant about not making these errors during the actual writing phase.

A personal recommendation in this regard is to always go through every passage as soon as you write it. In other words, when you’re writing the essay itself, you should write a few sentences, break the passage and then sit back to carefully read it before moving on.

This is a proactive way of detecting grammar/spelling errors and stopping them from getting to the last draft.

Some other tips that you can follow to find and remove grammar/spelling mistakes from your content are as follows:

  1. When reading the essay to find grammar and spelling errors, look for one particular error at a time. This can mean having to proofread the content several times, but it can help you get the job done thoroughly. You can, for example, look for comma-related errors the first time around and then look for spelling errors that other time.
  2. Another good tip that you can follow here is to do the proofreading a little while after writing the content. If you write the content and get straight to reading it without a break, you’ll be more likely to skim and skip everything rather than read it carefully.
  3. After doing this, you should use a grammar-checking tool for good measure. You can use a tool like Grammar Check to ensure that no error goes by undetected.

2.    Checking and eliminating plagiarism

Plagiarism is just as sneaky and inevitable of an issue as grammar/spelling errors, but it is far more lethal. While sporadic grammar errors can have some of your marks docked off, plagiarism can have more far-reaching consequences.

That is why the second thing that you have to include in your post-essay-writing checklist is finding and removing plagiarism.

The finding part is fairly easy. All you need to do is pick an online plagiarism checker and then add your content to it. Then you have to start the process, wait for it to end, and peruse the results.

On the other hand, the removing part is a bit more intricate. Should you run the process and find that some part of the essay comes back as plagiarized, there are three different things you can do.

  1. You can paraphrase the plagiarized bit and change its wording
  2. You can completely excise it
  3. Or, you can put the particular sentence(s) in quotes to show relinquishment of ownership

The latter two steps are pretty simple and straightforward, but the first one, i.e., paraphrasing, is something to be understood.

Paraphrasing is basically the process of rephrasing or rewording some text so that it doesn’t look the same as its original form but it has the same meaning.

If you paraphrase a piece of text that is showing as plagiarized, you will be able to eliminate the exact replication in it. This would, in turn, make the content “unique.”

While paraphrasing can be done manually, the process is a little time-consuming. Nowadays, you can just use an online paraphrasing tool and get the job over with in a matter of seconds.

3.    Adding and checking citations

Citations are typically added in an essay to indicate sources, i.e., from where a particular fact or figure is taken.

Now, citations are a pretty big deal in academic writing. They have to be written in a particular format, and they have to be properly reflected in a detailed list of references at the end of the write-up.

Not adding citations, to begin with, or adding them improperly can spoil the quality of your essay and get you in trouble during grading…which is why you have to avoid doing both.

As a part of your post-writing checklist, here are some steps that you have to take vis-à-vis the citations.

  1. Check whether you have added the citations in all the places where they had to be added. There shouldn’t be an unaccounted fact or figure or any type of imported content left without an accompanying citation.
  2. Then, make sure that the citations are added according to the format prescribed by your institute or instructor. There are quite a few different formats, including APA, MLA, Harvard, and Chicago.
  3. You should also make sure that there is no wrong detail in any of the citations and their corresponding references. This can lead to source-based plagiarism…which is just as bad as any other type of plagiarism.

4.    Organization

The organization of your essay basically refers to the way it is arranged. In other words, the way the content is laid out in headings and sub-headings and section headings, etc.

This is an important factor of your essay that can define its overall quality. The same textual information in one essay can look appealing and readable if the organization is on point. And the same text can look clunky and amateurish if the organization is haphazard.

Mind you, the actual organization, i.e., arranging everything in headings and sub-headings, etc., is something you have to be careful of during the writing phase. However, once you are done with the writing process, you should check the organization to make sure there are no loose ends. You can, for example, make sure that there aren’t any mistakes like:

  1. Missing headings in the text
  2. Missing section headings or sub-headings
  3. Wrong hierarchical arrangement of the headings, i.e., placement of a sub-heading inside a section heading (when it should be the opposite. The correct order is: Heading > sub-heading > section heading)
  4. Wrong formats for bullets and numbered lists

5.    Formatting

Lastly, as part of your post-essay-writing checklist, you should also make sure that there are no issues in the formatting anywhere in the write-up.

The formatting of an essay basically includes elements like font size, margins, line spacing, character spacing, font type, and so on.

Depending on the type of essay you’re writing and the institute for which you are writing it, the formatting requirements and guidelines will be different.

When checking the formatting of your essay after writing it, you should look (among others) the following aspects:

  1. Whether or not the font size and style match the ones prescribed by your institute or instructor. Normally, in most academic settings, the font used is Times New Roman with size 12.
  2. The margins and line spacing. These two elements are likely to vary from format to format and institution to institution. Margins refer to the blank spaces on the sides of the text, whereas line spacing refers to the distance between each line in the text. You should just make sure that they are according to the instructions provided to you.
  3. Alignment and indents. The alignment of the text refers to the location of the page on which it is located/adjusted. On the other hand, indents are the spaces placed before the first line of a particular passage, i.e., from the left side. There aren’t usually very specific instructions in this regard, but you should still double-check to see.

Other than these types of major formatting details, there aren’t many others that you need to be worried about.


Once you take care of the aforementioned factors after writing your essay, you can go ahead and submit it without worrying too much. The main mistakes/errors that you’re likely to make in your essay are more or less addressed in the five steps above.

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I'm Manjusha. This is my blog where I give IELTS preparation tips.