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How to Write an Essay in APA format: Your Handy Guide

APA format for academic papers remains one of the most widely used ones. The issue is that it is challenging to master all its integral features fully if you have not practiced this very style before. The problem also occurs when you suddenly have to switch to APA, although your previous essay instructions demanded another alternative. It is a misleading opinion that if you know how to style your research according to MLA or Harvard rules, then you will easily cope with APA. In any case, we would like to help you get accustomed to one of the most significant scholarly styles. For this reason, we created a convenient guide to reveal essential tips on how to write an essay in APA format.

How Would You Define the APA Format?

APA style format was created by American Psychological Association. It performs major function for research papers in Social Sciences. Thus, if you study such disciplines as business management, economics, psychology, geography, anthropology, sociology, among others, you will have to scrutinize this very style from A to Z. APA format will help you to organize every part of your investigation into logical sections. By using API correctly, you will generate impeccable references and citations.

The dominant fields, which apply APA essay format most frequently are:

  • Social Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Education

Despite the fact that you will likely style your research paper according to the APA rules if you study Nursing, Linguistics, or Political Science, there may be certain variations in your instructions. In case the required format has not been identified, seek your professor’s advice. Your essay cannot remain unformatted.

Freshmen often wonder why such an importance is placed on a specifically chosen research paper style. This is not some teacher’s whim. Academic demand for proper formatting intends to unite works of professional and young scholars by creating strict rules and, therefore, striking the balance. Just imagine if all the works were written chaotically, not following any structure. What is worse, the educational realm would have drowned in plagiarism if no one had cited the works of others. One of the prevailing aims of academic formatting is the acknowledgment of investigations previously carried out by skillful scholars. It is significant to give credit to the efforts made.

Let us move on to the general tips regarding APA formatting.

The Rudimentary Rules of APA Format Writing

Despite the topic of the assigned essay in APA format, you can memorize a small but vital hint: “less is more”. While some disciplines related to Social Sciences can allow you to be partly eloquent, it does not mean you have to sound ambiguous. The structure of APA paper encourages to make the flow of your thoughts as logical and clear as possible. Just look at the necessary formatting structure:

  • Margins: 1-inch margins should be proportional.
  • Font: you should choose a regular readable font. Thus, APA style font preferences are Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, and others. The standard font size is 12pt.
  • Indent: When starting every new paragraph, you should use left indent by a half inch.
  • Spacing: It is preferable to use double space between the block quotes, references, and lines.
  • Running head: use capitalization at the top of every new page.
  • APA format title page: Its integral elements are running head, a page number indicated on the top, the essay’s title located in the center, the title is followed by the author’s name below, and the name of the institution beneath the writer’s name.

If you deal with statistical data, then you should know how to write and format it in the descriptive mode following APA guidelines. Your statistics may be depicted in special graphs, diagrams, and charts – these are essential elements aimed to prove and support your arguments. APA style offers specific rules on such data arrangement. One of the general tips consider the usage of numerals for numbers above 10. If you have to indicate any number that goes before 10, you should indicate it as a word. All the tables, images, and charts should be numbered using the Arabic numeral system. It is also advisable not to overuse charts in your work. Thus, whenever you can substitute graphical elements with words, then choose the written form.

Unifying Tips to Create an APA Format Essay

If you were assigned an APA-style essay for the first time, you are lucky to come across this article. Read the following brief tips to craft an outstanding research paper.

  • Select a thought-provoking topic

At the university level, students are often allowed to choose topics on their own. While it seems to entail some extra work, perceive it as a benefit. You have food for thought, and the topic you choose can be incredibly compelling and insightful. The most important thing is to find a balance between the breadth and narrowness of your subject matter.

  • Carry out research

Even if you are familiar with the topic, the most common mistake is to write your subjective standpoints about it. Research has always been the cornerstone of every excellent paper. A thorough analysis helps find relevant information to support your ideas.

  • Prior preparation

Last-minute preparation can be effective only in rare cases. It is better to start as early as possible. Even if you are having a writer’s block, the researching process will refresh your mind and bring you new perspectives on the topic.

  • References and citations

It is important to make sure that your reference list contains every single scholarly piece you quoted and cited.

  • Create a draft of your paper

Even when you have researched all the necessary information, it is wrong to start working on your final essay. Initially, you should create your project’s draft to see whether all your ideas flow smoothly.

Main Sections of the APA-styled Research Paper

Any article tailored in accordance with the APA essay writing format typically consists of four fundamental components.

  • Title page

When you craft your title page, it should include a topic, the name of the author, and the name of the institution or research center. These elements should be properly centered with double spacing. Keep in mind: the main title should reflect the goal of your research. Its length should not surpass 12 words.

  • Abstract

An abstract should summarize the main ideas of the project. Its length is usually no more than 250 words. In this primary section, focus only on the quintessential aspects, which reveal your essay’s purpose, methods, and results.

  • Introduction

In this part of your paper, you should introduce your subject matter to the audience. Mention some crucial details regarding the issue.

  • Main body

Paragraphs should expound on the ideas mentioned in your introduction.

  • Literature review

It illustrates topical sources that you used to support your ideas.


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