Mistakes in grammar, spelling and punctuation can distract readers from your message, especially if you're writing your essay as part of a college application. Don't start editing until you've nailed down the content of the essay; getting distracted with small mistakes in early drafts can keep you from focusing on solidifying your ideas. To catch errors, try reading your initial draft out loud to yourself. Because you become increasingly familiar with the paper's content the more you work on it, this will help you discover mistakes you may have missed when reading silently.
Longer essays may also contain an introductory page that defines words and phrases of the essay's topic. Most academic institutions require that all substantial facts, quotations, and other porting material in an essay be referenced in a bibliography or works cited page at the end of the text. This scholarly convention helps others (whether teachers or fellow scholars) to understand the basis of facts and quotations the author uses to support the essay's argument and helps readers evaluate to what extent the argument is supported by evidence, and to evaluate the quality of that evidence. The academic essay tests the student's ability to present their thoughts in an organized way and is designed to test their intellectual capabilities.