The essence of this specific essay type is a reflection – thinking some experience or situation over and understanding its impact. Like all other essay types, a reflective essay demands solid critical analysis skills and excellent writing skills. More than other essays, this one requires storytelling skills.
The most obvious example is the college application format. Still, students compose essays of this format on many occasions. You need to know how to write a reflective essay. That’s why we’ve prepared this guide for you.
How to Prepare for Writing a Proper Reflective Essay
Any process of essay composition starts from the research stage. For a reflective essay, research your memories and experience. You should not only describe something you experienced or imagined but reflect on how it influenced yourself.
- Collect as much information about the subject. If it is some phenomenon – research it. In case it is some case of experience – explore and note your memories;
- Fix the “factual” information. Consider what you noticed and felt, which factors made you think, feel, and act. Compare your feelings and experiences to other peoples,’ whether you reacted typically or differently. It is useful to note down your impressions directly, such as the color of the sand, the wave’s sound on the beach, etc. These means are excellent for creating a “picture.”;
- If the subject allows, you might analyze the alternatives, with some elements changed. It gives you a much better understanding of the particular subject and points of reflection;
- Relate the information to yourself at the current stage. Think of the meaning of that event/thing/experience in your today’s life. Was it a useful lesson for you? Did it change you in any way?;
- Consider the context and prospects. Which meaning does it have in a broader context for other people? How can you use that experience to apply it in your life and other peoples’ lives?
Honest answers are the great base of your reflective essay. When you literally reflect on the subject, you get the material to include in your composition. Sort that information and choose what you want to have in the story.
Also, check other third-party sources you used when researching your topic. You need to provide a list of works cited in your essay. Hence, mark all those resources and references – it helps to compile the bibliography section.
How to Develop an Academic Essay Structure in the Best Way
Dealing with an academic reflective essay, you have to care about the structure. As we already mentioned, this essay is more like a narrative, a story you tell to your audience. Yet, it must match the standard essay structure:
- The Introduction is the opening where you describe the theme of your essay and define the thesis statement;
- The Body is the main part where you prove the statement. In a reflective essay, the thesis statement is the central idea of the story.
- The Conclusion is the final summary of your story and the main idea.
How to Develop a Thesis Statement for an Academic Essay
It is impossible to have an impressive academic essay of any kind without a thesis statement. It is important not to mix it with an academic essay title. However, both these elements must present the main idea of your story.
You should develop a thesis statement for yourself after researching the materials on the topic and analyzing them. Then, you build the entire essay on that “pillar.”
A thesis statement of your reflective essay must meet the following criteria:
- Represent the main idea of the story and ensure direct logical connections between all other elements;
- Be clear and evident in showing your opinions about the subject;
- Be affirmative.
A strong and clear thesis statement ensures a good part of your success. It helps to organize the information and choose the most effective means to reach the writer’s goals.
Make Use of an Academic Essay Outline to Build the Essay Right
Outlining is the most effective strategy for writing any paper or any size. Also, it might be your tutor’s requirement to present the outline together with the essay itself. When you know how to write an academic essay plan, it becomes the most helpful skill.
You may use a paper sheet or some application on your device to outline the essay. Make it a multi-level list of titles and subtitles:
- The titles serve for the three mandatory structure parts.
- The subtitles reflect the contents of each part. For instance, you plan the Body part: a separate subtitle is each paragraph. Other subtitles define the topic sentences, the statements, the arguments, and references.
The outline is also a tool to check and track the layout of all significant parts, logical connections, citations, etc. For instance, it is always recommended to stick to the chronological order of elements in a reflective essay. With an appropriate outline, you can test this order and consider all main and secondary issues to include.
How to Prepare a Good Introduction for an Academic Essay
On any essay start, you have the two main goals: to get the audience’s attention and to explain what your essay is about and why the readers should care.
Begin the piece with a “hook.” It should be a sentence related to your essay’s theme and idea, but it needs to be bright, catchy, and exciting for the mind. Quotes, paradoxes, intriguing statements, questions, etc. are perfect hooks. Select several options. Then test which one appeals to the audience best of all.
Then, present the theme of your story and explain why you chose it. Note that you should not make it a formal statement. Instead, compose a more freeform sentence describing the meaning. It requires particular writing skills, of course.
At last, present the thesis statement, and proceed to the Body section. Remember that it must not be excessive – state the central idea and try to intrigue the audience, but don’t give too much information.
Making an Impressive Conclusion for an Academic Essay
The conclusion part is the high note of your story. There are several rules:
- No new information! The readers should see the conclusion coming naturally from the previous story;
- It has to relate directly to the thesis statement and focus on reaching the goal. Explain the lessons received from that experience and how you think they impact your future;
- The last sentence should be somewhat similar to the “hook,” appealing to the readers’ emotions and engaging them.
The Most Effective Approach on How to Write an Academic Essay Quickly
Preparations are the key. The more you explore and analyze, the more thorough your outline is, the faster you fulfill the task. Many students find it difficult because they lack writing skills. The solution is simple: write. Run a personal diary, do creative writing, or regular essay exercises. Also, read samples of successful essays, and analyze them to view the most efficient techniques and images.
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