The Full Guide to Essay Formatting

The Full Guide to Essay Formatting

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The ability to produce an article or essay forms part of the academic skills that students achieve while at school. However, it is imperative to note that ideas for any paper should not just be listed. Instead, they should be written in a way that is not only consistent with the academic requirements but also logically flowing. Every learning institution has got its own style of presentation. Learners in these colleges or universities are expected to adhere to such prescribed proper essay formats if they are to get awarded marks. Such basic essay formats include APA, MLA, and Chicago and so on. Basically, these are styles that are applied while organizing the essay. They vary greatly but sum up to one critical document.

Essay Format Guidelines

To begin with, it is important to note that there are various approaches to essay writing. These approaches should, however, be accompanied by basic essay formats that will ensure that the paper flow is hinged on some rules respecting academic requirements such as credibility, sentence structure and recognition of authors whose works are used. In essence, it does not matter whether the document is for applying for admission into a college or the document is meant to pass some information or whether the document is for persuasion as long as it is for academic reasons, a proper essay format must be considered. The common and most standardized formats take into account the following factors:

Coming Up With a Good Subject of Discussion

Having a solid topic that moves the essay is always a big challenge for the students. Before a student settles on the appropriate college essay format, he or she must carry out research to establish a topic that will specifically address the concern. The choice for a subject matter that is interesting and engaging will lead to a great essay. The key aspect in coming up with a topic is the specificity of the topic itself; it is advised that it shouldn’t be broad and hard to steer towards the desired outcome. It should, however, be consistent with the gathered data or identified sources to be used or the area of interest to be explored.

If the task is assigned by the lecturer, the student shouldn’t shy away from exploring other sources that will give more flesh to the article in relation to the topic of discussion. Contrariwise, the subject of discussion shouldn’t be too specific because that will, in turn, limit the student. The most important factor to consider in this case is striking a balance between the extremes.

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Prior Research

One area that many writers fail to attend to is prior research. It is too late to carry out the research after you have a topic and have started writing down some of the points. The best approach, in this case, is to do so even before the writing process begins, establishing the suitability of the topic chosen and during the process. Basically, research is not basic but very critical to an article and the essay format adopted. Getting firm control of the data to be used as well as finding contestations that are compelling will give the document a good foundation. Gather as much information as possible before during and even after the first draft is written because while proofreading; a student might realize that there are some areas to be changed based on new information acquired.

Creating Essay Format Example

The purpose of this paper was to address the subject above, but it is equally paramount to state that the subject cannot be well tacked where less consideration is given to the topic choice, research, identification of sources, drafting, reviewing and creating of the final document or draft. The most critical phase in any writing is to conceptualize a working plan.

Critically ask yourself what is essay format and how does it affect the work? The general objective should at all time inform the format the writer settles on. An outline is the best friend at this juncture because it will guide the writing and keep it focused on the expected document. Additionally, having listed the key points and words that apply in the article will surely lift the data scope for the article and makes it even greater.


A good essay writing format ought to consider the sufficiency of information within the outline even before any writing begins. The content that will be within the body of the article should be contained within the outline as well. Drafting demands that writers employ creativity, of course with some moderation, in addition to the exploration of all the viabilities. Writers can begin their task with a structure of up to three paragraphs which of course gets expanded over time with new information coming in.

Seeking Reviews from Peers

Once a draft has been written, it is time to seek the opinion of other students or peers. A student should not be afraid to ask for opinions and honest takes on their work from their classmates. The Importance of this task is that it helps the writer to identify areas of weaknesses as may have been brought out on the draft and gather more information as possible on the areas that need improvement. Other student’s feedback if honestly given will help to make the document even better. Their opinion should also address the basic essay format and check if it respects the requirements in the way it has been brought out in the draft.

Final Draft

This is the document that is meant to be presented to the department or to the assessor. Going through it and trying to identify some minor mistakes such as spellings and grammar must be done. This is the point to also establish if the proper essay format has been adhered to.

Some Essay Formats You Need to Know

Basically, every learning institution has its own adopted style that is used to assess the articles or essays presented by the students. These styles are what essay writing formats are. As earlier indicated, the paramountcy of these formats cannot be overlooked given that they determine to a greater degree the authenticity and credibility of the essay. There are essay format examples that are very strict and critical in coming up with any academic document. The discussion below answers what is essay format.

For APA format, the requirements are such that the document should have:

  • A Title Page which basically has the title of the subject being discussed in addition to the name of the institution coming on the top.

  • An abstract comprising of two to three paragraphs depending on the length of the article.

    • In the abstract, the beginning paragraph should have a claim statement, and explain the importance of the article in addition to the questions that the essay seeks to address.

    • The second paragraph must indicate the main resources, the limit of the study and its intended area of coverage in addition to some critical information that the writer thinks should appear at this point.

    • The abstract should also contain a summary or a paragraph that recap the pints captured in other paragraphs for the sake of providing clarity and keeping the reader focused.

  • Table of Contents: this basically is a list that contains items covered and they are paginated.

    • Question of the Research

    • Statement of the Thesis

    • Introduction

    • Contestations or Arguments

    • Sub-headings

    • Summation or Conclusion

    • Appendix

    • Works cited (reference list)

  • Introduction

    • The research question is required

  • Body

  • Conclusion

  • References (Works Cited)

Essentially, the above is an example of an outline that is for APA and is purely for students doing research papers. It is critical when creating a great essay format. Keeping track of the resources that are applicable in every stage of writing is very vital and this must be remembered at all times.

  1. An Essay in the MLA Format

The basic requirements for this university or college essay format require that students adopt some very basic procedures and orders. As outlined below, such rules require that:

  • The Font size be 12 points

  • The font style be Times New Roman

  • Spacing should be doubled with no additional spacing between the lines.

  • In the Heading, this should be done on the very first page and on the upper left corner.

    • Writer’s name (Joe Kean)

    • Lecturers, assessor’s or instructor’s name (Dr. Gobbie Dick)

    • The class (Depending on the unit done)

    • The Date (12 April 2019)

  • Margins: the margin should be a single inch on the four ends of the paper i.e. the top, the bottom, and the sides.

  • It is also required that last name on every page and the numbers be placed on every page. This is called the header

  • In terms of placing the title and formatting it, MLA requires that the title is center aligned; it should appear on top of the beginning line of the article and must have the same font type and size.

  • In every paragraph, the beginning line should be indented by placing the cursor before the line and pressing the tab key.

  • The general alignment of the document should be left.

Courses such as humanities and social sciences are among the ones that use MLA the most. This essay format is different from others.

Sample Essay in MLA Format

Smith 1 (Header, needs to be on each page)

Joe Kean

Dr. Gobbie Dick

Human Health 202

12 April 2019

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Title of Essay (Centered, same size font)

The articles and essays in the format of MLA should be such that they include the information overhead in addition to being typed, the spacing ought to be double and the font type should be Times New Romans with 12 points. It is also important to ensure that there is a one-inch margin.

Citation within the text is essential while considering what article layout is applicable according to MLA. In essence, citations should also appear as a bibliography. More so, the sources could as well be famous quotes, paraphrases, opinions, plus other information from other sources.

The beginning paragraph is supposed to bring forth the topic of discussion to the audiences as well as set the tone. There should be a statement of the thesis towards the very end of this beginner. The MLA also recommends that the subsequent paragraphs must begin with sentences of the topic and thereafter several sentences that are supporting the theme, the thesis and the contestation as brought forth by the writer. This is the best way for a college essay format.

The last paragraph in the essay should be the concluding paragraph which essentially sums up all the major points in addition to restating a thesis statement. In essence, arguments advanced in the article are brought together in this section enabling readers to check if the purpose is achieved. Emphases are also put on the most critical points as take home.

The Differences plus Similarities in MLA & APA Formats

The similarities are:

  • The styles are the same in terms of spacing, font type, and size, citation and indenting.

  • There should be a direct relationship between the cited works as well as content within for both MLA and APA. For MLA the last page contains cited works and for APA they are referred to as references. This is one of the differences.

  • Another similarity is that both of them use parenthetical citations.

  • Lastly, the ordering of the citation is alphabetical for both of them.

The differences are not that much. It is, however, important to note that there are few divergences that distinguish MLA from APA.

  • Even though MLA can be used in social sciences, it is mostly and usually used in humanities, whereas APA is synonymous with the social sciences.

  • The displays of the names of the authors of the content vary for MLA and APA in the sense that MLA displays the name as Gobbie, Dick, and APA as Gobbie, D.

  • For APA In-text citation and where the author is quoted must have a publication date but the MLA the name of the author is actually listed within the sentence. The page numbers are placed in the last parts of the in-text citation.

  1. Writing an Essay in APA Format

A lot of learning institutions use this format and students are mostly encouraged to apply it in their assignments. It is imperative to be conversant with this style and to understand the requirements attached to it. As noted above, there are some similarities shared between this style and MLA. APA an essay format example factors in the following:

  • The size of the recommended font should be 12 points

  • The style of the font or rather a type is again Times New Roman

  • While writing, the spacing should be doubled

  • For the flanks, the upper and the lowermost, the borders spaces should be one inch

  • Just like MLA, the page numbers should be such that a header is inserted at the top left of every page.

  • The title page should have the paper’s title, the name of the author, institutional affiliation plus any other information that might be necessary such as unit code, the name of the supervisor or the lecturer and the submission dates. This additional information is normally given out to students by their professors.

In as much as there could be some minor changes in terms of putting within the document what the lecturer wants especially for the heading leaf, it is central to note that the APA style of formatting generally takes the shape discussed above.

  1. How to Format an Essay using Chicago Style

In the academic quotas focusing on the foundations and the origin of the resources used, Chicago style is so prevalent. The most critical aspect of this style is that it focuses on precision in terms of citations and usage of footnotes which are essentially the main aspects for any paper to be considered as academically successful.

Importantly, just like other styles discussed previously, points can be put in bullets when considering how to format an essay using the Chicago style.

Chicago Style Title Page

  • Spacing is the key aspect of this page (title page)

  • It has the subject title with texts that are regular and double spaced especially where they are longer than a single line.

  • Full student’s name

  • The number of the course being undertaken. The name of the lecturer and submission date both separated by double spaces.

  • One-inch is the margin used other than from the right side.

  • The spacing is all and without additional spaces between the paragraphs.

  • The font type is Times New Romans

  • The size of the font is 12 points

  • Numbers for the pages are such that they are placed at the heading of each page, on the top right. Title pages are not numbered and the subsequent page begins with 2.

  • All the paraphrased passages must have footnotes

  • The last page has a bibliography

In conclusion, how to format an essay, if well understood and in the context of the styles, will have a positive impact on the student’s work.