Revise, Revise, Revise

In high school we were able to retake exams for math classes. I was so opposed to this, mostly because I would study really hard and get a B+ on a calc exam but I would feel a guilty pull to study again and retake it simply because I could. Everyone else would of course redo the test, so I would be behind if I didn’t as well. It didn’t make sense to me… why put any effort into the first exam when I knew I could just see what kind of questions would be on the test and then study only that material for the retake? Just another instance where high school failed at preparing me for the “real world.”

My professor for a PoliSci class last year set a date for one of our papers. I agonized over this piece until 3 a.m. the morning it was due. When I got to class – surprise! – we were going to peer edit during class and then turn in our final versions two days later. The teacher thought she was doing everyone a big favor, but we all literally groaned. Seriously, a collective mumbling of “ugh are you serious” made the teacher step back. We passed our papers around, realized how many mistakes we had made and what improvements could be implemented. I was thankful ultimately that we had a chance to shore some things up before we turned it in, but honestly the last thing I wanted to do was look at that paper again until it had a pen mark in red telling me what my grade was.

That being said, every time, and I mean every time, a teacher allows me to revise a paper, I take advantage of the opportunity. I sometimes end up with a better grade, but I think it’s mostly a really good chance to actually be forced to reflect on my paper (things I liked, things I noticed about my writing that weren’t so favorable, etc.). If I know I don’t have to revise a paper, I’m so much less likely to read the instructors comments in depth, digest them, and make changes in my future writing. It’s so silly of me to not do that in the first place, but for some reason it’s a habit of mine. Does anyone else get like this?


Top Five Worst Parts About Revision: 

  1. The moment when you cringe while reading a paper you’ve already turned in and realizing that you made a grammar mistake. 
  2. Looking at comments from professors and kicking yourself for not thinking of their suggestions the first time around.
  3. It is more work. Plain and simple. 
  4. It just completely defies the logical, “there are no redoes in life” concept that I have had drilled into my head from years of school. 
  5. You thought you were done with the paper. Then you have to actually open it back up on your computer, re-read it, identify what went wrong, and then revise it. Is that a cruel joke? 


Justification for Revision: You don’t just learn the material you need to write the paper, you learn how to improve your writing as well.

Katie Koziara

During the school year, I can usually be found doing a few things: studying domestic health policy, working as a student coordinator for the Public Service Intern Program, exploring different restaurants around Ann Arbor, running my regular loop around the Big House, or catching up on one of my many, many favorite television shows.

2 thoughts to “Revise, Revise, Revise”

  1. I understand what you wrote about not paying as much attention to your instructor’s comments when you’re not going to revise the paper. I do the same thing, especially when I’ve waited until the last minute to write a paper and I know it’s not my best work. Sometimes I don’t read the comments at all, because I assume I’ll do better if I spend more time on the next paper. I know getting feedback is one of the best ways to improve your writing, but part of me likes to think that I can still write my best without input from others.

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