Top Tips on Essay Format from Professionals for 2018
Essay writing is one of the most common and important academic activities for any student. It holds a significant amount of weight-age in your module, and your performance in writing an essay largely determines your grades. However, writing an essay can be more challenging than it may seem, especially when you need to follow different referencing styles (Harvard, APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.).
What Essay Formatting Really is?
An essay format can be defined as a specific structure in which the essay has to be written. The student needs to follow certain regulations in terms of referencing styles, titles, paragraph and heading styles, pagination, and in-text citation. In this article, we have jotted down the key steps on how you can properly format an essay.
The Title Page
The title page is the front cover of your word file that contains paper details, like – the title of the essay, the name of the author, name of institution etc. The format of the title page varies greatly across different formatting styles.
In the Harvard style, the title page only contains the essay title in bold and center aligned. However, in the case of APA style, the essay title is accompanied by name of the author and name of the institution. All texts in the title page should be of Times New Roman, the font size should be 12 and un-bolded.
In case of the MLA style, typically there is no separate title page. When you are starting to write an essay, you need to make sure of the essay format that has been asked by your institution. Different institutions have their own preferred formatting style, so you need to confirm it from your supervisor or tutor.
The First Page of the Essay
The structure of the first page largely differs in MLA, when compared to other formatting styles such as Harvard and APA. In the case of MLA, the first page contains the name of the author, name of the instructor, name of course and date at the top left-hand side of the page.
The format of the pagination is also quite important. In the case of Harvard, MLA and APA formatting style, the page number is at the top right-hand side of the page in English numerical. However, in the case of MLA, the page number is accompanied by the surname of the author.
Introduction, Body, and Conclusion
Almost every piece of academic writing consists of an introduction, body, and conclusion. Although there is a commonly used thumb rule that states that a good essay contains 5 paragraphs, where there is one paragraph of the introduction, three paragraphs of the body and one paragraph of the conclusion. However, it can vary depending on the nature of the essay topic and other conditions provided by the institutions, ensuring that the paper is entirely non-plagiarized.
The introduction typically consists of the background information about the topic and short details of what has been covered in the essay. This provides a strong foundation of understanding for the readers about the topic covered in the essay. The main body of the essay consists of different paragraphs that cover the key points required for the essay.
In this context, it should be highlighted that every paragraph should have continuity or flow when moving from one to another. Critical thinking plays a major role in critical essay writing, especially in higher education. You need to make sure that your claims are backed by credible sources, in order to make the essay valid. The conclusion must contain the key findings of the essay, where no new information should be found.
In-Text Citations and Referencing
In-text citations and referencing play a determining factor behind the quality of the essay. Each referencing style (Harvard, APA, MLA, etc.) are quite different from each other. Therefore, it is always advised that a student should get a thorough idea of the referencing style asked by his/her institution.
Going through properly formatted sample papers can be quite helpful in learning the process of in-texting (in-text citation) and referencing. Make sure that the reference pages reflect in the list of the sources that have been used in the essay.
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All the Best!
The key to writing a good essay is to know all the details of academic writing processes. You need to make sure that you are following all the regulations of your institutions down to every word. This is what will separate your essay from the rest of the average ones. Good luck!