How to Write a Reflective Essay

How to Write a Reflective Essay

If you are trying to learn how to write a reflective essay, the first thing you need to know is the purpose of this type of paper. This type of writing aims to examine the experiences and reactions of the writer in a certain situation and then reflect on these. Reflection implies looking back, so this writing type can help you understand what your life experiences have taught you. It is also a great way to prepare yourself for the future by changing your behavior and acquiring new knowledge.

APA format

Reflection essays follow the APA or MLA style of writing. The standard length for reflection essays is between 300 and 1,000 words, and the paper should be in APA or MLA format. These papers should be written in an academic style, and they should not contain any informal language. Unlike a personal narrative essay, reflection essays are designed to give an audience a detailed picture of an individual’s life experience. A reflection essay should be humorous, if at all possible.

MLA format

MLA format for writing a reflective essay is different from a normal essay. An essay written in this format requires a thesis statement, which should explain your general position on the subject. A thesis statement should be brief and not purely formal, so that it can organically supervene the main ideas and evidence from the body of the paper. The introduction should start with the topic sentence and outline what the body paragraphs will be about. If the reflection paper is a critical one, each concept should be discussed in its own separate section. In the body of the essay, you should write about the topic in detail. If the reflection essay involves reading, this introduction should include quotes and passages from the book.

Describe an event or experience

Describe an event or experience in a reflective essay. Reflective writing should be personal and honest. The story should be detailed and evoke sympathy. In addition, a good reflective essay must be well-organized and relevant to the thesis. The reader should not be confused when reading it. However, this does not mean that the essay has to be linear. Here are some tips on how to write an effective reflective essay:

Develop a thesis statement

To develop a thesis statement for a reflective essay, begin with the introduction. State what you are writing about and briefly describe what happened. Next, write a thesis statement for your essay that tells the reader what you want to prove. For example, if you’re writing about a book, include quotes or passages that help the reader understand your main point. Then, move on to the body of your paper, where you will discuss the different ideas and thoughts that surrounded that particular subject.

Organize your paper

You should start your reflection essay with a strong thesis statement and body paragraphs that explain your reaction to the subject. The body of your paper should be an in-depth analysis of the ideas presented in your introduction. Include supporting evidence such as direct quotes from the text and secondary sources, which you cite in appropriate citation styles. If your essay involves personal experiences, include those as evidence and discuss how they impacted you. Organize your reflection essay by listing your personal reactions to each of the key points.


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