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Tips and Advice on How to Write an Essay in APA Style

Perhaps one of the most intimidating aspects of having to write an essay is learning about the style or format in which it’s supposed to be written. APA style is very particular when it comes to the details, but there are many resources to keep yourself on track. You can use the internet or books for a guide to help you. Here are some guidelines to get you started.


Writing in APA style entails several details about how to set up your document before you’ve even begun to write it.

  • You’ll want even one-inch margins on all sides of the document.
  • It must be double-spaced.
  • There must be a left-justified title header at the top of each page. This should be a shorter version of the title of your paper, no more than fifty words.
  • There must also be a right-justified page number at the top of every page.
  • There must be a title page that includes the title of the paper, your name, and your school’s name, as well as any other information your teacher specifically asks for.
  • There must be a reference page listing sources cited. We’ll come back to this in a minute.


Actually writing your essay in APA style should be about the same as writing in any other style, except that you can make the works cited part much easier by working on it as you go.

  • Any time you find a source you are going to use, create a reference entry for that source immediately and place it in your reference page at the end of the document. Doing this as you go will save you a ton of work and headache rather than if you wait to compile the entire list after you’ve completely written your essay.
  • Also make sure to include citations throughout the body of your text. Do this as you go instead of waiting until you’ve completed your essay. Not only will this step reduce your workload, it may also prevent accidental plagiarism that could occur if you simply forget to go back and place a citation.

Works cited/reference page

This part is a big deal, as it gives your essay some authority by proving you did the research. The works cited/referenced pas also protects you from issues of plagiarism by ensuring you give proper credit to the people or groups whose work you used to support your points. As stated above, every time you use a source you will cite it twice, once in the body of the text immediately upon using that source, and once again in the reference page.

  • In-text citations belong in parentheses at the end of the sentence or paragraph in which you use someone else’s words, research, or ideas. Its format usually consists of the author’s last name and the year of publication.
  • Reference entries are more elaborate, including the author’s full name, date of publication, name of publication, and page number or numbers, and maybe more than that depending on what sort of work you are citing.

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