An academic essay is an important and focused piece of writing that instructors use to test students on their writing, creativity, analysis, and interpretation skills. Therefore, writing an academic essay is a practice that should not be taken lightly.
This article provides essay checklists that you should consider before submitting your academic essay.
Definition: Essay checklist
An essay checklist is a comprehensive list of things you must check or do before submitting your academic essay.1 An essay checklist will help you organize your academic paper and ensure that it is structured well and completed professionally before submission.
Therefore, using an essay checklist before submitting your work will ensure that you have not missed any important elements and you submit a perfect paper.3 An effective essay checklist should cover almost all aspects of academic essay writing.2
Essay checklist: Getting started
An essay checklist does not have to be complicated. You can split it according to the required outline of your essay or the important aspects of essay writing.
This essay checklist covers everything that should be done before writing. Here is an essay checklist for getting started:
- Brainstorm ideas for your essay
- Create a mind map of your ideas
- Choose a topic
- Read and understand the instructions
- Create an essay outline
- Comprehensive research
Once you have checked all the above essay checklist items, you can move on with writing your essay.
Essay checklist – Introduction
The introduction is one of the most important parts of your essay. It introduces the reader to the topic and shows them what to expect.4
Here is an essay checklist you should follow for the introduction:
- Spark the readers’ interest and make them want to read more
- It should have an enticing and attention-capturing hook (first one or two sentences)
- Provide necessary background information on the topic
- It should contain a thesis statement that states the focus and position of your essay
- It should be around 5% of the overall word count
Essay checklist: Body
The body is the largest part of the essay where you provide your ideas, evidence, and analysis on the subject. The body contains several paragraphs.
Below is an essay checklist for the body:
- Each paragraph should have a topic sentence that introduces the main point and tells what you are trying to prove.4
- Each paragraph should have a supporting sentence containing the evidence, arguments, and examples.
- Have a concluding sentence in each paragraph, also known as the transition sentence. This part links the paragraph to the next.
- The arguments in the body should be persuasive. Use statistical, analogical, and historical data as evidence in the paragraphs.
- Each paragraph should be dedicated to a specific argument for clarity and order.
- Consider the word count when determining the size of the body and the number of paragraphs you will have.1
Writing the body usually takes more time than the rest of the essay because it requires comprehensive research.4
Essay checklist: Conclusion
The conclusion is the final part of the essay. However, it is just as important as the body and the introduction.4 The conclusion brings your ideas together and wraps all your findings.
Your conclusion should reinstate your thesis statement and highlight your main arguments without repeating them. Before writing your conclusion, it would be wise to read what you have written so you can write the conclusion without repetition.3 Your conclusion should also offer suggestions for future studies on the subject and offer possible implications.2
Here is an essay checklist for your conclusion:
- Does it reinstate your arguments?
- Does it offer suggestions for further studies?
- It should be as long as the introduction
Essay checklist: Ready to submit
Below is a checklist that ensures your essay is ready for submission:
Run the essay through a grammar-checker to eliminate any flaws and mistakes2
Alter, refine, and adapt your essay to bring about conformity to a standard layout or purpose.
Ensure that your essay adheres to the word count requirements in the instructions.1
Consider the formatting guidelines when editing the essay (margins, spacing, font style, and font size)
Check your language choices
Go through your essay and make the necessary changes. You can employ proofreading services.1
Follow the referencing and citation guidelines when listing and mentioning your sources. Ensure that all sources (primary, secondary, and tertiary) are cited. Consider the in-text citations and reference list.
While it is optional, you can include it on a new page after the reference list at the end of your essay.3
Essay checklist: Overall checklist
Here is an overall essay checklist that you can use for your academic writing.
Checking an essay before submission ensures that the piece of writing follows all guidelines, and is neat, organized, and free from errors. It also ensures that it does not miss any important aspects.
It is a comprehensive list of things you must check or do before submitting your academic essay.
Using an essay checklist before submitting your work will ensure that you have not missed any important elements, and you submit a perfect paper.
It should cover all important aspects of academic essay writing, like:
1 Holloway, Stefani. “The Complete 8-Point Essay Checklist for Students [With Template].” Writers Per Hour. April 27, 2020. https://writersperhour.com/blog/complete-essay-checklist-for-students.
2 Mathur, Sadhvi. “College Essay Checklist: Are You Ready to Submit?” College Vine. July 09, 2020. https://blog.collegevine.com/college-essay-checklist/.
3 University of York. “10 things to do before you submit your essay.” Accessed May 04, 2023. https://www.york.ac.uk/english/writing-at-york/writing-resources/10-things-before-you-submit-your-essay/.
4 Cliffs Notes. “Checklists for Improving Your First Draft.” Accessed May 04, 2023. https://www.cliffsnotes.com/study-guides/writing/revising-and-editing/checklists-for-improving-your-first-draft.