How to Write a Reflective Essay - Easy Guide
A reflective essay is all about presenting your opinion and sharing your thoughts about certain subjects. Unlike other types of essays, writing a reflective paper does not need much research and references.
You talk about your personal experience and thoughts and feelings in it and this is what makes such a type of essay so appealing and different.
But, this does not mean that you do not need to follow any instructions and pattern in it. Many students find it a difficult task and if you are also one such student then this blog is all you need to achieve this difficult task.
Table of Contents
- 1. What is a Reflective Essay?
- 2. How to Start your Reflective Essay
- 2.1 Start Early
- 2.2 Brainstorm the Essay Topics
- 2.3 Research and Gather the Information
- 2.4 Organize the Researched Material
- 2.5 Create an Outline
- 3. How to Write a Reflective Essay
1. What is a Reflective Essay?
A reflective essay is a personal type of writing that is based on the writer's personal experience and thoughts about a particular place, person or event. Since it is a reflection of the writer's point of view, it is aimed at encouraging the reader to experience it in the same way.
To achieve it, writers explain the event and its effect on their life experiences and thoughts. Since it needs detailed narrative, students often confuse them with descriptive and narrative type of essays.
A reflective essay is different and instead of describing and telling the story only, it shows how you went through the events of your life and their effects on your personal growth. A narrative essay is different and it focuses on telling the story only, therefore, writing a narrative essay is different and requires different skills.
2. How to Start your Reflective Essay
Before you start writing a reflective essay, it is important to know what you need to do before writing it. It may sound strange but the success of an essay is based on its planning and things that you did before writing the essay.
Unfortunately, students consider this prewriting phase a waste of time and leave it out. As a result, they end up tiring themselves and working aimlessly. To prevent this, we suggest that you dedicate some time to prepare and plan the writing process and things that you would add into your essay.
Following are the steps to start your essay strong and organized:
2.1 Start Early
Do not wait to work on your essay the night before. You may think that you will be able to get your essay right but believe us, this essay will not help you get an A on yiru essay. To have ample time, start your essay well before the deadline.
2.2 Brainstorm the Topics
A good topic is integral for a good essay. If your teacher has not given the essay topic then it is a good opportunity to write on your favorite event or personal life experience. Write down the main topic or subject that you want to write about and make a mind map of all the related essay topics.
Research online and see what kind of topics are trending. This will help you in forming a good topic for writing this type of essay.
2.3 Research and Gather the Information
Once you are done with the topic, it is time that you research and gather all the relevant information and data about it. We know that a reflective essay does not need much research but it is always better to back your claims, or ideas, with some credible sources.
Doing so will build your credibility and your teacher will know that you are not making empty claims.
2.4 Organize the Researched Material
Organize all the research material that you have gathered for your essay. Instead of just adding them to your essay, see which sources are relevant to your essay material and stick to them.
However, use them to support your claims only.
2.5 Create an Outline
Before you start writing, create a detailed outline of the essay. Add the important points that you want to add into each of the sections. Instead of adding too much details, stick to some more important and closely related ideas and points.
Creating an essay outline will limit your train of thoughts will keep you focused and mindful of the essay's word limit.
3. How to Write a Reflective Essay
Every essay has the same format with some additions, if asked by the teacher. Otherwise, just like any essay, a reflective essay also has the usual essay parts including introduction, thesis statement, main body section, conclusion and references.
3.1 Writing the Introduction
‘What shall I add in the introduction of my essay?' We will answer this question in just a few minutes. This is a common concern of many students as they do not know what to add in the start of their essay.
Since it is a start, it must be strong and engaging for the reader. When writing your essay introduction, add some background information of the main topic, the main event or experience that you are going to talk about in your essay.
3.2 Reflective Essay Thesis Statement
Usually, a thesis statement has a few lines and you have to present the main idea of your essay in these few lines. It is the main thing of an essay and the reader will read it to decide if he wants to continue or not.
3.3 Main Body of your Essay
The main body is the meaty part of your essay. It contains all the main details and ideas of your essay. Generally, it has three paragraphs but you can increase the number, based on the word limit and scope of your essay.
Start each paragraph with a topic sentence or the parts of your life that you are discussing the essay, and stick to a single idea only. Adding multiple ideas into the same paragraph will confuse your readers and disrupt your essay's structure also.
The closing of an essay is as important as its opening. Keep the thesis statement and the main points of your essay in mind when writing the conclusion. However, be concise and do not add any new information here.
This is an absolute must in the academic papers. Without a complete list of references, your cited material will be considered as plagiarism and this is something you do not want. Make sure that you have added all the citations and did not miss out anything.
To help you understand better, we have added a reflective essay sample below.
Reflective Essay Sample (PDF)
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