PS Tip 75 : Read it out loud

Reading your completed personal statement to yourself out loud is a surprisingly good way to locate any sentences which don’t ‘flow’ nicely.

To make this technique work, you’ll want to stand up; it’s quite difficult to read out loud for any length of time whilst sitting, as your breathing will be hindered. Make sure you read at your normal speaking volume; it’s tempting to read it rather quietly, but that unless you speak up you won’t get a good feel for the flow of the statement.

What you’re looking for are any instances where you stumble over your words, or where you have to restart a sentence because you got the intonation wrong. These are almost never issues with reading comprehension – you wrote it, so chances are you’re reading it properly – but rather issues with sentence structure.

Any time you stumble, or get something wrong, mark that point on your statement with a pen or highlighter. Once you’ve read all the way through, reread those sentences, and try to reword them to improve the way they sound out loud.

You might be wondering why you should bother doing this. Clearly nobody is ever going to read your statement out loud, so what’s the point? Well, interestingly, although these ‘flow’ issues are often not picked up by the conscious mind, we do notice them – Consequently, your reader may not know precisely why, but if your statement doesn’t flow nicely they will likely be left with a negative feeling towards it (or you), without even knowing why.

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