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Essential Editing and Proofreading Tools for Polish Academic Writing

Essential Editing and Proofreading Tools for Polish Academic Writing

Academic writing is a major part of graduate school and academic research, where standards are understandably high. This skill will have been developed over the course of your previous studies, and by now you will have some solid experience in producing good writing. However, knowing that your writing is about to be judged at a higher level and to exacting standards can be daunting, which is why having some steps to follow to ensure the quality of your essay can help anyone succeed.

At a graduate or faculty level you are dealing with complex topics and in-depth research – and once you’ve put together a solid thesis with plenty of supporting evidence, you may feel like you’ve done all that’s required of you. However, one of the main areas that everyone struggles with is polishing their writing. What happens when you have amazing content supported by reliable references, but you still aren’t getting high marks, or being recognised as an authority in your field?

It could be that your actual writing is letting you down. Editing and proofreading are skills that don’t always come as easily as researching your material. A polished essay is essential to gain high marks.

Don’t worry. Help is available. Below is a list of the top resources available online now right now to help you polish your writing and hit those high grades.

1. Assignment Help

Assignment help

    One of the most important parts of the editing process is ensuring that you haven’t accidentally plagiarised a source you have used. A huge element of any Master’s degree is the thesis, and this is meant to be a completely original topic, and your own original ideas. While you may use many quotes, any signs that this isn’t entirely your own work could result in an outright fail, and your graduate school career is over. Your professor will likely check your work for plagiarism, so being caught out, even for an accident, is possible. Faculty writing is equally scrutinised before publication to prevent any embarrassment, copyright infringements, or claims of stolen intellectual property. This site runs a full plagiarism check to ensure that nothing will raise red flags for your professor, or editors of academic journals who will check the work they publish.

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    The site is particularly useful as it also has online study tools and grammar guides to help you with your essay. It has a word count function to double check that your essay hits its word count, and to illustrate how many words you need to add or cut through the editing process.

    2. Hemingwayapp

    Hemingway

      Graduate students and faculty writers deal with ideas and concepts that will be long, complex, and hard to explain. However, no matter what your topic is, your sentences should not be long, complicated, and hard to read. Your essay should be easy to read and understand. The Hemingway App is a tool that focuses on structure. Could you break your sentences down to make them more readable? Remove redundant language? This app has the answers.

      3. Prowritingaid

      ProwritingAid

        As a Master’s thesis can easily be over 20,000 words long, copying and pasting can be a challenge. Faculty writing can be even longer, depending on the topic, and as some sites have a limit on the words they can analyse, you could end up in the tedious process of analysing chunks of your work at a time. You could also end up sitting waiting forever while the pasted content is checked. This site is grad-student and faculty user friendly, as it allows you to submit your essay in its current format rather than having to copy and paste it in. It checks readability and grammar, highlighting bad word choices and repetitive points and words.

        4. Essayroo

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        Essayroo

          This service will give you a professional proofread ensuring that your spelling, punctuation and grammar are all on point. Privacy and security is guaranteed, so none of your research is at risk of theft, plus their proof readers all hold a master’s or PhD in their fields. This means your work is being reviewed by a peer, who is qualified to review writing at this high level, and who fully understands the subject, and the expected tone and content.

          5. The art of editing

          Art of Editing

            This site is managed by the University of Leicester so you know it offers sound advice. This page offers a full guide to editing with useful advice on what to do and what not to do. As this is run by an academic institution, it lends itself well to both graduate students – who can see what their professors want – and also for faculty writers, who don’t want to make a faux pas before their peers.

            6. Readability-score

            Readability Score

              This site gives your prose a score based on how readable it is. The higher the score the better the flow. It offers hints and advice on what to change to improve your score. It is important to bear in mind here that the people who will be reading graduate students’ theses or academic journals will generally have a very high reading level, and so you shouldn’t aim to overly simplify your work.

              7. Boomessays

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              Boomessays

                This service will do the editing for you. As it is aimed specifically at essays, the editors behind the website understand the components needed to make a good essay. You can even input the academic level you are working at to ensure it isn’t over simplified. As Master’s and Doctoral level work is covered, you can be sure that the structure, language, and tone of your essay will be entirely appropriate.

                8. Paperrater

                Paperrater

                  This service checks grammar and suggests changes to improve the flow of your work. It also runs a plagiarism check to ensure that you haven’t accidentally plagiarised a source. Referencing documents as lengthy as faculty writing for academic journals and Master’s theses can easily contain a small mistake in a quote, or a section too similar to someone else’s work. Using this tool avoids losing credibility when your paper is checked after submission.

                  9. Tips for Hiring an Outside Editor

                  Tips on hiring an outside editor

                    This site offers some advice on what to do if you want to hire an outside editor. It details some of the questions you should ask and allows you to negotiate with editors. This is extremely helpful for graduate students who have unresponsive supervisors, or who want a second opinion, or for faculty writers exploring a topic that nobody else at the university is an expert on. It is natural to feel more comfortable sharing your work with an outsider, so this may encourage more back and forth and better drafts, which can only be a good thing.

                    10. Ukwritings

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                    ukwritings

                      This is another site offering proofreading services that are carried out by qualified proof readers, and can be tailored to a Master’s or Doctoral level. In no way would your academic writing be dumbed down by using this service.

                      11. Easy Wordcount

                      EasyWordCount

                        When you have finished the editing process, you can use this site to ensure that your completed essay still hits the word count. No one wants to risk losing vital marks on their graduate school thesis by being too far under or over a word count – and no faculty writer wants to risk publication for the same reason either!

                        By using one or more of these tools, you are giving yourself a much better chance of success when it comes to writing your academic essays. These services can all be tailored to specifically meet the needs of the highest levels of academic writing, and the professionals involved are eminently qualified to review the work. They are all quick and easy to use and their user friendly nature takes the pain out of the editing and proofreading process.

                        And while editing any document is a pain, it is by far preferable to being a faculty writer with discredited research, or a graduate student accused of plagiarism. It is worth using these tools to ensure there will be no issues with your academic writing. It’s also worth the confidence you get from knowing you have produced the highest quality essay possible, as accepting editing help just contributes to making your content and ideas clearer and stronger.

                        Featured photo credit: Wokandapix via pixabay.com

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                        Last Updated on December 2, 2019

                        How to Develop Mental Toughness And Stay Strong

                        How to Develop Mental Toughness And Stay Strong

                        Are you the kind of person who wants to achieve massive success in your life? Do you have the mental toughness to make that happen?

                        I think we can all agree that no matter your ambitions, achieving success can be difficult; and over time, the daily grind can take a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional energy.

                        Achievers and high performers from all walks of life face ups and downs along the path to success—they face failure, burnout, discouragement, fatigue, self-limiting beliefs, stress, and so much more.

                        How do some people continually strive towards their personal goals year after year while others give up on them? How do those people stay strong and persevere when there is so much stacked against them?

                        Studies now show that mental strength is a critical key to success. If you haven’t read Angela Duckworth’s book Grit, you should. In it, she shows that “the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls ‘grit.’” In other words, mental toughness plays a significant role when it comes to achieving goals.

                        Sometimes, our goals wear us down and leave us feeling exhausted. Other times, our goals get difficult, and success seems impossible, so we lose hope, become discouraged, and want to quit.

                        At its core, mental toughness is simply the ability to stick to something when the going gets tough. People with high levels of mental toughness can push beyond these obstacles and forge a path towards success while those with lower levels of mental toughness may abandon their dreams.

                        Want to know the good news?

                        No matter who you are, what you’ve been told, or what you currently believe, you can develop the mental toughness you need to be successful.

                        All you need to do is learn to develop a positive mindset, focus on your why, and utilize the people around you for support.

                        1. Develop a Positive Mindset

                        If you’re going to increase your mental toughness, the first thing you have to do is focus on building a strong, positive mindset.

                        According to the Cleveland Clinic, the average person has 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 95% of those thoughts repeat each day and, on average, 80% of repeated ideas are negative.[1]

                        That’s roughly 45,600 negative thoughts per day!

                        Carrying around these negative thoughts is like going on a hike in the mountains with a backpack full of rocks. The hike is hard enough on its own, but having extra junk weighing you down is a recipe for failure.

                        Sometimes, building mental toughness isn’t as much about building new strength as it is about saving your strength for the right tasks. Wouldn’t it be easier to dump the rocks out of the backpack instead of trying to get strong enough to carry the extra weight?

                        Absolutely!

                        But how can we learn to spot those 45,600 negative thoughts and get rid of them? How can we empty our metaphorical backpack?

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                        Well, it gets a whole lot easier if you know what you’re looking for. Some of the most prominent types of negative thoughts are self-limiting beliefs, all-or-nothing thinking, and dwelling.

                        Let Go of Self-Limiting Beliefs

                        It’s pretty hard to be mentally tough when you’re constantly beating yourself up. Self-limiting beliefs are any beliefs that hold you back in some way. Here are some examples:

                        “I’m not smart enough to…”

                        “I don’t have enough experience to…”

                        “I’ve tried that before, and it didn’t go well, so I must just be bad at…”

                        When we allow these self-limiting beliefs to flood our minds, negative self-talk runs rampant, and we crowd out our ability to think positively. We’re effectively working against ourselves.

                        If you want to keep your mind strong on your path to success, you have to overcome the self-limiting beliefs that are holding you back by realizing one key truth: self-limiting beliefs are thoughts, not facts.

                        When you recognize a self-limiting belief cropping up in your mind, quickly silence it by telling yourself that it’s not true and then back that up with some positive affirmations:

                        • “I am smart enough; I may just need to do some more research first.”
                        • “I may not have as much experience as someone else, but that’s not going to stop me from trying. I have enough experience to get started. I’ll figure the rest out on the way.”
                        • “Just because I failed at this last time doesn’t mean I’m going to fail this time. My past does not dictate my future.”

                        Get Rid of the All-or-Nothing Thinking

                        Another form of negative thinking that could be preventing you from building mental toughness is all-or-nothing thinking.

                        All-or-nothing thinking is the concept of thinking in extremes. You are either a success or a failure. Your performance was totally good or totally awful. If you’re not perfect, then you’re a failure.

                        But this isn’t true!

                        If you’re trying to lose 30 pounds and only lost 28, isn’t that still better than not losing any weight at all? I’d say so!

                        If you allow all-or-nothing thinking to rule your mind, you’ll be on cloud nine when you succeed, but you’ll beat yourself up when you “fail.” Acknowledging the shades of gray in between will allow you to see success more often and it will help you celebrate your smaller wins.

                        When you recognize an all-or-nothing thought, remember to look for the positive in the situation. What did you gain by trying? What would you have missed out on had you not tried? Could you do better if you were to try again?

                        Ditch the Dwelling

                        Self-Limiting Beliefs and All-or-Nothing Thinking can lead to a bad case of dwelling on the negative. If you want to build some mental toughness and keep your mind strong, you have to ditch the dwelling.

                        Every day, bad things happen to each of us, and while there’s nothing we can do to prevent that, we can control how we react to these situations.

                        When we dwell on our misfortunes, we waste massive amounts of energy that we could be using to achieve our goals. When this happens, we’re more likely to quit altogether.

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                        But that doesn’t mean you’re not mentally tough; it just means you’re misusing your energy.

                        The next time something bad happens, it’s important to allow yourself to feel the disappointment and frustration, but work on reducing the amount of time you dwell on the situation.

                        Easier said than done, right? Try these:

                        1. Call a friend or mentor and talk it through with them. Get some outside perspective on your situation.
                        2. Time block your dwelling by allowing yourself to dwell for no more than one hour.
                        3. Then, tell yourself to move on, that you’re human, and you’re allowed to make mistakes or experience setbacks.
                        4. If all else fails, find a good way to distract yourself until you can calm down and reexamine things with a clear mind.

                        The faster you can focus on the positives and move past the problem, the quicker you can get back to achieving success in your life.

                        Be Patient about the Process

                        No matter which negative thoughts tend to run around your mind, working to replace them with positive thoughts can take time.

                        Learning to spot self-limiting beliefs, all-or-nothing thinking, or dwelling is one thing, but learning to quiet those thoughts is another thing entirely.

                        If at first you don’t succeed, don’t fret. Instead, take a deep breath and try again. As you work towards improving your mindfulness and your mental toughness, remember that you’re going to get better with time.

                        To make things a little easier, it helps to connect with your purpose.

                        2. Connect with Your Purpose

                        One of the most critical elements to building mental toughness and keeping a strong and focused mind is having a strong ‘why’ for everything you want to do.

                        If you set out to achieve a huge goal that you don’t have a ‘why’ for, you’re going to find yourself distracted, discouraged, or disengaged as soon as you experience your first setback.

                        Think about the last time you were working on a goal or resolution and things weren’t going well, maybe you even wanted to quit. Perhaps you thought you didn’t have enough willpower. Maybe you told yourself that you didn’t have enough discipline.

                        Here’s the truth: you just didn’t have a strong enough why.

                        Simon Sinek has been spreading his message “Start with Why” across the globe.[2] In short, he says that:

                        “Your ‘why’ is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you.”

                        One of the biggest drains on your mental energy is pursuing a goal or a task that you don’t have a ‘why’ for. This is when we tend to look for external motivation or question our willpower, but those aren’t the issues.

                        Often, we set goals because we like the idea of the goal, not the reality of the goal. Without connecting to our why, we can’t intrinsically motivate ourselves to achieve our most challenging goals.

                        Find Intrinsic Motivation

                        Intrinsic motivation is our innate desire to do something and it comes when we work towards something that satisfies ourselves above all else—not our parents or our bosses or our teachers.

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                        Let’s say you think you want to quit smoking because you know it’s bad for you, but you really enjoy smoking. If you don’t truly want to quit smoking, it’s going to be nearly impossible, regardless of your willpower or mental toughness.

                        But if you want to quit smoking because you just had a baby, and you don’t want your baby growing up around smoke, then that ‘why’ is going to give you intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is far more powerful than sheer stubborn willpower, and it’s far easier to maintain over the long haul.

                        If you’re trying to develop mental toughness, connecting a why to everything you want to achieve will reduce the effort and energy it will take to achieve those things. Once you’ve found a strong why for all of your goals, you’ll find that you’ll have significantly more energy to pursue your more difficult challenges.

                        3. Find Strength in Unity

                        The final aspect of developing mental toughness is embracing the idea that you’re not in this alone. It’s a fact, anyone who’s ever achieved success in anything didn’t do so alone.

                        Bill Gates didn’t build Microsoft alone. Oprah didn’t build her network by herself. Steve Jobs didn’t invent the iPhone without a team. Michelle Obama didn’t implement the “Let’s Move” campaign on her own.

                        Behind all of these successful people were countless other people who were there offering support, mentorship, guidance, and encouragement.

                        If you want to develop unmatched mental toughness, you need to understand that you don’t have to go it alone. Even the toughest Navy Seals have a team backing them up.

                        If you want to stay strong in your endeavors, you need to build a team of supporters who will step in and back you up when it counts.

                        Find a Mentor or Committee of Mentors

                        The benefits of having a great mentor are far too many to list, but to boil it down to the basics, a mentor is someone who will help show you the path to success.

                        A good mentor will help you discover your greatest strengths, spot and overcome your blind spots, and work through your weaknesses.

                        If you’re struggling to deal with your internal negativity or with finding your purpose, talk it through with a mentor. Sometimes we lose the forest for the trees, and a mentor can help us take a step back and see the bigger picture.

                        Here’s how to find the right mentor for yourself: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

                        Recruit Some Cheerleaders

                        If you want to stay strong, it never hurts to have a group of personal cheerleaders. Unlike mentors who are going to jump in and help you address your problems, a group of cheerleaders will help keep your spirits up.

                        Even if you have a strong ‘why’ and a positive mindset, it’s nearly impossible to maintain a positive attitude 100% of the time. It doesn’t make you weak to need some help from time to time. Having a group of people cheering you on will make all the difference in the world.

                        As you work towards your goals, tell a few close friends about what you’re doing, and when things get tough, tell them about it. And when they give you the pep talk you need, don’t resist their positivity or counter it with your self-limiting beliefs or your all-or-nothing attitude.

                        Allow their optimism to refill your energy and use that energy to press on.

                        Form an Accountability Group

                        Cheerleaders are great, but sometimes we need someone to give us the kick we need to keep going. You might have a strong ‘why’ for running a marathon or losing 30 pounds, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy; and trying to force yourself to follow through is a sure way to tax your mental energy.

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                        Why not save some of your mental energy by forming an accountability group?

                        Find a person or a few people who have similar goals, or at the very least, the need for an accountability partner. Then, form an agreement within the group to push each other every day.

                        Even if your goals aren’t the same, accountability partners are great for giving us the push we need when we need it most.

                        Regardless of which relationships you choose, sometimes we have to be able to work through things on our own. Mentors, cheerleaders, and accountability partners are a great way for us to combat our naturally negative mindsets, but occasionally we have to be able to pick ourselves back up.

                        4. Learn to Pick Yourself Back Up After Setbacks

                        Building a strong mindset and developing mental toughness isn’t easy! Anyone who’s ever achieved massive success knows that obstacles, setbacks, and failure are inevitable, and you’re no different.

                        As you work on your goals, you’re going to face many ups and downs, but this doesn’t mean that you don’t have mental toughness, willpower, or discipline.

                        We all struggle. We all fail. It’s what we decide to do after we fail that truly counts.

                        When you find yourself in a low spot, ask yourself these questions:

                        • “Am I being too hard on myself?”
                        • “Are negative thoughts such as Self-Limiting Beliefs or All-or-Nothing Thinking distorting my view?”
                        • “What’s the positive side of this setback/obstacle/failure?”
                        • “Why was this goal important to me? What was my purpose?”
                        • “Is this goal still important to me? Do I still have a ‘why’?”
                        • “Who can I ask for help? Who can mentor me or cheer me on? Who can help hold me accountable?”

                        Asking yourself these questions is a great way to check in on your mindset. When we get lost in negative thinking or lose connection to our purpose, it’s far too easy to become discouraged. When we feel discouraged, we start feeling weak, maybe even a little hopeless.

                        Also, this article provides some useful tips to help you get back on track: How to Deal with Failure and Pick Yourself Back Up

                        Tying it All Together

                        Are you still with me? I know I’ve thrown a lot at you, from developing a positive mindset and combatting your internal voice to connecting with purpose and building a committee of mentors. It’s a lot to take it!

                        But here’s the bottom line:

                        A crucial part of developing mental toughness is learning to recognize these tendencies and taking action to correct them early on. Developing mental toughness is not about eliminating weakness, but learning how to deal with it and overcome it.

                        No one is perfect, but when we focus on the right things, we can develop a mental toughness worthy of life’s biggest challenges.

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                        Featured photo credit: Zulmaury Saavedra via unsplash.com

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