Tips To Write An Essay In APA Format

The APA style essay has a few unique features that distinguish it from other types of essays, such as MLA or Chicago Style. The first difference is that it uses an in-text citation system, which means that each time you use someone else’s words or ideas, you need to include a citation.
Secondly, APA does not use footnotes or endnotes; instead, all citations are included at the end of the paper in a reference section. So, how do you write an essay in this format? Let’s guide you through.

What is APA Format?

The American Psychological Association (APA) is a scientific and professional organization that represents psychologists in the United States. The APA style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences.
It offers specific guidelines for formatting manuscripts and using the English language in research papers, journals, and other publications. It includes rules for margins, font, spacing, title page setup, text setup, and heading format.
The APA style has been designed to make reading more efficient and effective. It’s a universal tool for any discipline that requires research and writing. The format helps readers keep track of the author’s argument, support, and conclusion.

5 Basics For APA Essay Writing

Now that we know the basics of APA writing, let’s talk about the process of writing an APA essay. It’s important to note that the APA format is a vast aspect, and you can learn about it on their official website. But, bearing that in mind, here is the five-step process:

Get the Basics of APA Format Right
APA format is a standard for academic writing. It helps the reader to better understand the content. This style of formatting can be applied to any type of academic work, including research papers, articles, and books.
The APA style has specific guidelines on how to format margins, font size, and spacing between lines of text as well as how to set up a title page and text headings. So, the things you need to keep in mind include:
• Margins: Use 1-in margins on all the settings, Word, Google Docs, etc.
• Font: Try using Times New Roman at 12-point.
• Spacing: Keep spacing at double.
• Title Page Setup: Including paper title, author name, instructor, etc. look for more setup info at
• Text Setup: The text setup element includes three main essentials, text line spacing, text alignment, and text font.
• Heading Format: All headings will be in boldface. Level 1 headings will be centered, whereas levels 2 and 3 will be left-aligned.
Once you grasp the basic ideas of the APA format, it’ll be like clockwork. So, it’s imperative to understand the specific guidelines mentioned by APA in the aforementioned link.

Research & Take Notes For The Essay
Researching and taking notes is one of the most important steps in writing an academic paper. You need to have a clear understanding of the topic you are writing about. Below are some tips on how to take notes for research:
• Keep your notes organized by using headings and subheadings;
• Use bullet points to summarize key information;
• Avoid using abbreviations or acronyms;
• Remember the source(s) you wish to mention;
• Note any parts that you may want to quote later on.
You can utilize paraphrasing to create notes. It allows you to write the arguments provided by others in your own wording that you can understand easily. This also helps you to write your APA format essay later on. When taking notes and paraphrasing, you can either do it yourself or with the help of tools such as Wordtune,, and WordAi.
The advantage of tools over manual paraphrasing is that it allows you to save time and effort during the research and note-taking phase.
This way, you will have enough substance to move forward and write about. Thus, it’s imperative that you focus on researching properly. Moreover, always take information from trusted channels, like Google Scholar.

Create an Outline In APA Format
The first step in actually writing the essay is to draft an outline and then write the rough first draft. This first draft is to place all the ideas on the paper—the polishing and finalizing come later. Therefore, you need to formulate an outline according to the APA format.
Let’s say you’re writing about L.A.’s local traffic issues. Then, your outline will be:
1) Introduction
2) How L.A Traffic Works
a) L.A Traffic Rules
b) L.A Traffic Implementation
3) L.A’s Traffic Police
a) How good are L.A.’s traffic enforcers?
4) How Can California Government Address L.A.’s Traffic Issues?
a) New Laws
b) Better Enforcement
c) Better Punishment/Penalties
d) Training Programs
5) Conclusion
As you can see, this outline just needs filling now. And, once you have the right substance to fill it with, you’ll be able to formulate a near-perfect first draft.

Finalizing & Plagiarism Removal
The finalizing state requires you to conduct a thorough re-read of your written text. This is more of advice and a tip than a step. However, it’s necessary to do a few things, such as:
• Check grammar and correct it;
• Finalize sentences and paragraphs;
• Remove plagiarism.
The final step of finalizing is perhaps the most important. This step requires you to ensure that you don’t get penalized for submitting plagiarized work. So, how do you avoid these issues? You’re going to need an online plagiarism checker such as Copyscape, Check-plagiarism, and Turnitin. Plagiarism checkers such as the ones listed above can detect and highlight any plagiarized parts of the text.
Then you’ll have to rephrase the duplicated/highlighted text to make it plagiarism free. Here’s how:
• Check your content for plagiarism;
i) If plagiarism is detected—check the original text’s sources;
ii) If plagiarism isn’t detected—continue on to the next step.
• Rephrase the plagiarized text with a rephrasing tool or rewrite manually. You can also choose to remove the plagiarized section entirely;
• Check the next section for citation format;
• Done.
It’s important to note that one of the suggestions mentions a rephrasing tool. The reason for using a rephrasing tool after using a plagiarism checker is that they both complement one another. And, using a tool to rephrase your text makes it easier and helps you save time.
Thus, this process will help you get rid of plagiarism and finalize your essay. Once you’re through, move to the next step to conclude the essay.

Add APA Citation/Reference
Now that you’ve finished your essay, it’s imperative to cite and refer to any original authors properly. Remember, this process is one of the vital elements of any APA format essay. So, the citation format will be:
• Last name, first name, year, book/source material title (edition info/series). Location published.
Here’s how it would look once you finish the citation:
• Derwing, T. M., Rossiter, M. J., & Munro, M. J. (2002). Teaching native speakers to listen to foreign-accented speech. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 23(4), 245-259.
Therefore, make sure you format in the right APA format and conclude your essay properly.


These are the key aspects of writing in APA format. Not only is it a vital essential in writing today, but also important for standing out in your class/academy. Therefore, make sure you follow these steps thoroughly and write the best APA-formatted essay you can.

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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