A Step-by-Step Guide to Write an APA Format Essay

Learn To Write An Apa Format Essay In Just A Few Steps

Writing essays is an essential skill in the realm of academia as it allows us to express our thoughts and arguments coherently. When writing an essay, it is essential to follow a specific writing and formatting style for a good number of reasons. Firstly, it ensures consistency and standardization across academic publications which enables readers to easily navigate and understand the material. Secondly, adhering to a specific style demonstrates academic rigor and professionalism. Furthermore, a consistent style enables proper attribution of sources which in turn promotes academic integrity and prevention of plagiarism.

While various formatting styles exist, the American Psychological Association (APA) format is widely used in the social sciences, psychology, and education. With its meticulous guidelines and precise formatting requirements, the APA format ensures clarity, professionalism, and credibility in your essays. So, buckle up and get ready to learn how to craft a remarkable APA format essay that captivates readers and leaves a lasting impression. Our write paper service professionals will walk you through the basic integral guidelines to follow when writing an essay in APA style.

General APA Requirements

In addition to all the specific elements mentioned above, adhering to proper APA formatting is necessary. Pay attention to margins, layout, spacing, titles, and indentations to create a visually appealing and consistent essay.

  • Use 1-inch margins on all sides, double-spacing throughout the document, and clear headings to delineate sections.
  • The preferred font is Times New Roman (12pt), or Arial (11pt), Georgia (11pt).
  • Every page must be numbered in the top right of the page.
  • Also, ensure proper indentation of paragraphs to enhance readability and organization.

Indentation and Paragraph Alignment

Proper alignment and indentation are vital for maintaining the coherence and visual appeal of your written work. When mastering the art of writing an APA essay, it is crucial to adhere to the guidelines regarding paragraph placement within the document’s margins. According to APA standards, the text should be left-aligned, creating a “ragged” or uneven right margin. This approach imparts a polished and professional appearance to your document while enhancing legibility.

Indentation refers to the space between the left margin and the start of a new paragraph. In APA format, it is recommended to indent the first line of each paragraph by 0.5 inches (or one tab key press). This practice visually separates paragraphs, aiding readers in distinguishing between different ideas or sections within your writing.

Use of Numbers in APA

  • When it comes to using numbers in APA style, there are specific guidelines to follow:

Spell out numbers from one to nine:

Example: There were five participants in the study.

  • Use numerals for numbers 10 and above, as well as for any numbers that represent measurements, statistics, percentages, or dates:

Example: The experiment included 20 participants.

Example: The results indicated a 75% increase in productivity.

Example: The event took place on September 15, 2022.

  • Use numerals for numbers that represent time, age, or scale:

Example: The patient arrived at the clinic at 8:30 a.m.

Example: The study involved children aged 6 to 12 years.

Example: The Likert scale ranged from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).

  • Use numerals for numbers that precede measurements or units of time:

Example: The book weighs 2.5 pounds.

Example: The project was completed in 3 months.

  • Use commas to separate thousands and decimal points for fractions:

Example: The population of the city was 150,000.

Example: The experiment lasted 2.5 hours.

  • For consistency, use numerals when discussing mathematical or statistical functions, percentages, and ratios:

Example: The correlation coefficient was r = 0.67.

Example: The success rate was 80%.

Tables and Figures in APA

When formatting tables and figures in APA format, the following guidelines should be followed:

  • Tables:

Title: Each table should have a brief and concise title written above the table, flush left.

Numbering: Tables should be numbered sequentially (e.g., Table 1, Table 2) in the order they are mentioned in the text.

Headings: Use clear and descriptive headings for columns and rows in the table.

Structure: Tables should be organized with columns and rows, and gridlines should not be included.

Notes: Any additional notes or explanations regarding the table should be placed below the table, using superscript lowercase letters to match specific points or cells.

  • Figures:

Title: Each figure should have a descriptive title written below the figure, flush left.

Numbering: Figures should be numbered sequentially (e.g., Figure 1, Figure 2) in the order they are mentioned in the text.

Captions: Provide a concise caption below the figure that explains the content or purpose of the figure.

Citations: If the figure is adapted or reproduced from another source, include the appropriate citation below the figure.

Clarity: Ensure that figures are clear, legible, and correctly labeled. Use contrasting colors and appropriate fonts to enhance readability.

Image Permissions: If using copyrighted images, obtain the necessary permissions and provide appropriate credit in the caption or note section.

In both tables and figures, it is important to refer to them in the main text of your essay and provide a brief explanation or analysis of their content. Additionally, tables and figures should be placed as close as possible to their first mention in the text.

How to Outline an APA Format Essay?

Writing an essay in APA format can be overwhelming for many students. For crafting excellent papers, it is crucial to select a suitable and relevant topic and conduct thorough research to gather the necessary information. If you are new to APA formatting, it can be challenging to structure your paper appropriately. However, there is good news: crafting an outline can assist you in overcoming these hurdles.

When outlining an essay in APA, you can follow a hierarchical structure using Roman numerals (I, II, III), capital letters (A, B, C), Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3), and lowercase letters (a, b, c). Here is a guide on how to outline an essay in APA style:


  • Briefly introduce the topic and provide background information.
  • Present the thesis statement or main argument of the essay.

Main Body

  • Start with a Roman numeral (I) followed by a descriptive heading.
  • Subdivide the main points of your essay using capital letters (A, B, C).
  • Provide supporting details, evidence, and examples for each main point.
  • If necessary, use Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3) and lowercase letters (a, b, c) for further subheadings and details.


  • Summarize the main points discussed in the essay.
  • Restate the thesis statement and provide a concluding thought or final insight.


  • List all the sources you cited in your essay in alphabetical order.
  • Follow the APA guidelines for formatting the reference list.

It is important to note that the outline should reflect the logical structure and flow of your essay. Each main point should be introduced and supported by relevant information and examples.

How to Write an APA Format Essay?

Before delving into the minutiae of the APA essay format, you must grasp the fundamentals. The APA format encompasses various aspects, including the title page, abstract, running heads, in-text citations, and reference list. APA format, with its stringent guidelines, ensures that the essay exudes professionalism and adheres to the highest standards of academic writing. Let us take a look into the essential elements that you need to incorporate in an APA format essay, each playing a crucial role in presenting your work with precision and simplicity.

  1. Title Page:

Formatting the Title Page in APA format requires attention to detail and adherence to specific guidelines. Follow these steps to ensure your Title Page meets the formatting requirements:

  1. Page Layout:
  2. Begin on a new page after the cover page (if applicable) or the abstract page.
  3. Use standard 8.5″ x 11″ paper size.
  4. Set 1-inch margins on all sides of the page.
  • Running Head:
  • Create a header at the top of the page, also known as a running head.
  • Align the running head to the left margin.
  • Use all capital letters.
  • Keep it concise (50 characters maximum) and make sure it represents the title of your essay.
  • Insert the page number aligned with the right margin, preceded by the phrase “Page” (e.g., Page 1, Page 2, etc.).
  • Title:
  • Center-align the title of your essay.
  • Use Title Case, capitalizing the first letter of each major word (including subtitles, if any).
  • Keep the title concise and informative, reflecting the content of your essay.
  • Author’s Information:
  • Beneath the title, provide your name (first name, middle initial, last name).
  • Include your institutional affiliation (e.g., university, college, institution).
  • Center-align the author’s information on the page.
  • Additional Information:
  • If required by your instructor or publication guidelines, include additional information such as the course name, instructor’s name, and submission date.
  • Place this information below your name and institutional affiliation.

While this blog focuses on becoming proficient in writing an APA format essay, it’s worth noting that MLA format follows a slightly different set of guidelines for academic writing.

  • Abstract:

An abstract is a summary of your essay’s central point, written in a single paragraph, that gives readers a glimpse into the scope and significance of your work. To put it simply, it is a simplified and concise version of your essay. Hence, it should be succinct, clear, and self-contained, typically ranging from 150 to 250 words. Follow these guidelines to make sure your Abstract meets the formatting requirements:

  1. Placement:
  2. The Abstract should be on a separate page immediately following the Title Page.
  3. Label the page with the word “Abstract” centered at the top of the page. Do not use bold, italics, or quotation marks.
  • Length:
  • The Abstract should be a single paragraph.
  • Aim for a length between 150 and 250 words, but consult specific guidelines as word count requirements may vary.
  • Formatting:
  • Align the text to the left margin. Do not indent the first line.
  • Use a clear and concise writing style. Avoid using abbreviations or unnecessary details.
  • Write in a structured manner, summarizing the main points and key findings of your essay.
  • Content:
  • Begin the Abstract with the word “Abstract” (not in italics or quotation marks).
  • Provide a brief overview of the topic, research question, or thesis statement.
  • Summarize the methodology, key findings, and conclusions of your essay.
  • If applicable, include any implications or recommendations stemming from your research.
  • Keywords:
  • Below the Abstract paragraph, indent and provide a list of relevant keywords related to your essay.
  • Use italics and capitalize the first letter of each keyword.
  • Separate keywords with commas and end the list with a period.
  • Introduction, Main Body, and Conclusion:

The introduction serves as a roadmap, introducing the topic, providing context, and presenting your thesis statement. The main body comprises paragraphs that develop your arguments and present supporting evidence. Finally, the conclusion summarizes the main points, reinforces your thesis, and leaves a strong impression on the audience. Keep in mind to maintain coherence and logical progression throughout these sections to engage and persuade your readers effectively. Below are the guidelines to format these sections in your APA format essay:

  1. Introduction:
  2. Begin on a new page after the Abstract.
  3. On the first line, center-align and type the word “Introduction” (not in bold or italics).
  4. Start the actual content of the introduction on the following line.
  • Main Body:
  • Start the main body section on a new page after the introduction.
  • Use clear headings to indicate different sections or subsections within the main body.
  • Level 1 headings should be centered, bolded, and formatted with title case capitalization.
  • Level 2 headings should be left-aligned, bolded, and formatted with title case capitalization.
  • If necessary, use additional levels of headings in a hierarchical format, following APA guidelines.
  • Conclusion:
  • Begin the conclusion section on a new page after the main body.
  • Center-align and type the word “Conclusion” (not in bold or italics).
  • Start the actual content of the conclusion on the following line.
  • Reference Section:

The reference section is a vital component of your APA format essay, demonstrating your meticulous research and acknowledging the sources you have consulted. Here are the guidelines to follow for ensuring the correct formatting of the Reference section:

  1. Placement:
  2. Start the Reference Section on a new page after the conclusion of your essay.
  3. Center-align the title “References” at the top of the page. Do not use bold, italics, or quotation marks.
  • Formatting:
  • List your references in alphabetical order by the author’s last name.
  • Use a hanging indent for each reference. This means that the first line of each reference is flush left, while the second and subsequent lines are indented by 0.5 inches.
  • Basic Format:
  • For each reference, begin with the author’s last name followed by initials. If there are multiple authors, separate their names with commas. Use an ampersand (&) before the last author’s name.
  • After the author’s names, include the publication year in parentheses.
  • Provide the title of the work in sentence case, capitalizing only the first word and any proper nouns. Italicize the title.
  • Include the source’s publication information (e.g., book title, journal title, website, etc.) as per APA guidelines.
  • If applicable, provide the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) or URL for online sources.
  • Specific Formatting Examples:
  • Book: Author’s Last Name, Author’s Initials. (Year). Book Title. Publisher.
  • Journal Article: Author’s Last Name, Author’s Initials. (Year). Article Title. Journal Title, Volume (Issue), Page Numbers.
  • Website: Author’s Last Name, Author’s Initials. (Year). Webpage Title. Website Name. Retrieved from URL

Remember to consult the APA Manual or specific guidelines provided by your instructor or publication for any variations or additional formatting requirements. By following these instructions, you will create a well-formatted Reference page that accurately cites your sources and allows readers to locate and verify the information you have used in your essay.

Although this blog primarily explores the intricacies of crafting an APA format essay, it is important to acknowledge that other referencing styles, such as the Oxford referencing style, have their own specific rules and requirements.

  • APA In-text Citations Format and Guidelines

APA in-text citations play a crucial role in acknowledging the sources of information and ideas used in your essay. Follow these guidelines to ensure accurate and proper formatting of in-text citations in APA style:

  1. Author-Date Format:
  2. When using APA in-text citations, include the author’s last name and the publication year of the source.
  3. Place this information in parentheses within the text of your essay, usually after the cited information or at the end of the sentence before the period.
  4. Example: According to Jonas (2019), “APA in-text citations are essential in academic writing” (p. 25).
  • Direct Quotations:
  • When directly quoting a source, include the author’s last name, publication year, and the page number(s) where the quote can be found.
  • Use the abbreviation “p.” for a single page or “pp.” for multiple pages.
  • Example: “APA in-text citations are essential in academic writing” (Hussey, 2019, p. 25).
  • Parenthetical Citations:
  • When paraphrasing or summarizing information from a source, include the author’s last name and publication year within the parentheses.
  • Page numbers are not required for paraphrased or summarized information, but it is recommended to include them if available, especially for longer works.
  • Example: Blac (2019) emphasizes the importance of in-text citations in academic writing.
  • Multiple Authors:
  • For sources with two authors, include both authors’ last names in the order they appear on the source, separated by an ampersand (&).
  • For sources with three or more authors, include the first author’s last name followed by “et al.”
  • Example (Two authors): (Johnson & Anderson, 2020)
  • Example (Three or more authors): (Walker et al., 2021)
  • Group or Corporate Authors:
  • For sources with a group or corporate author, use the full name of the group or organization as the author in the in-text citation.
  • Example: (National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 2018)
  • No Author:
  • If a source has no identifiable author, use the title of the source in the in-text citation.
  • If the title is long, use a shortened version of the title in quotation marks.
  • Example: (“Impact of Climate Change,” 2022)

The experts at PenMyPaper can explain these fundamentals of the APA format essay and also provide you with APA format examples so that you can have a better understanding of the same.


By following the guidelines outlined in this blog, you can ensure that your essay adheres to the proper formatting, in-text citation, and reference list requirements of APA style. Keep in mind to structure your essay with a clear introduction, well-developed main body paragraphs, and a concise conclusion. With dedication and practice, you can confidently navigate the particulars of the APA format, creating essays that showcase your research, critical thinking, and writing skills while adhering to the standards of academic excellence. It may be a bit difficult to write an essay in APA style if you are writing it for the first time. However, you have nothing to worry in case you have an essay to buy as our professional writers can help you with your assignment, be it with dissertation structure, research paper writing, or any type of essay.

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