Feedback Use it to improve your writing

Note: The information on this page is mostly based on the feedback page of the study skills section.

Once your work has been peer edited or checked by the teacher, the next stage of the writing process is to use the feedback you have received to improve your writing. To do this, you can follow these steps.

Your first task when receiving feedback on your work, whether it is written or spoken feedback, is to make sure you understand it. If you do not, ask the person who gave it to you for clarification. If you do not understand the feedback, you will not be able to make improvements. Feedback from tutors will often be in the form of comments on your work. If you are on a language course, in addition to comments, your teacher may also use a correction code to highlight errors in your writing without actually correcting it for you. This gives you the opportunity to learn from your mistakes, though only if you understand the code. The following is an example.

In this example, the word work has been underlined. The type of error is sv. But what does that mean? This is a common error type in writing, and is short for 'subject-verb agreement'. The subject is 'She' so the verb should be 'works'. Here the abbreviation sv has been used to show this type of error. Different teachers use different codes, and some might use S-V for this type of error, others might use Agr, and so on. A sample correction code is given in the writing resources section.

Your second task, after understanding the feedback, is to make a note of the major problems which you need to work on. This will help you to prioritise. For example, problems with referencing or structure are far more important than problems with spelling or punctuation.

Once you have done this, you should consider how you will improve these areas. You may have some resources to help (e.g. this website!), or you could ask your peers or tutor for assistance.

Finally, as you redraft your writing, you should check carefully for the major problems you have worked on. You could either do this yourself, i.e. self assessment, or ask a peer to help you, i.e. peer feedback. So for example if referencing was a significant problem for you, you should pay particular attention to this area as you redraft your work.


The stages above are summarised in the diagram below.

Understand feedback

Make sure you understand the feedback. Ask for clarification if necessary.

Identify the major problems to work on.
Consider how to improve

Consider how you will improve. Ask for help if necessary.
Check for problems

As you redraft, check carefully for the problems you identified.


Alexander, O., Argent, S. and Spencer, J. (2008) EAP Essentials. Reading: Garnet Publishing Ltd.

Cottrell, S. (2001) Teaching Study Skills & Supporting Learning. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Rinvolucri, M. (1994) Feedback, ELT Journal, Volume 48/3, pp.287-288.


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Read more about redrafting in the next section.

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Read the previous article about peer editing.



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