How to Write an Essay in APA Format


The APA format is mostly used when writing essays, case studies, and laboratory reports. Many students are used to writing in MLA or Chicago style. When they are instructed to write in APA, they find the task challenging. 

It is easy to learn and get familiar with using APA in essay writing. You should never mix two formats when writing any academic paper. Stick with one format according to the instructions given. Follow these steps when writing your essay in APA format. 

Understand what APA is

The acronym APA stands for the American Psychological Association. It is the writing style used when writing academic journals. APA is mostly applicable for courses such as social sciences, psychology, business, finance, and education. It provides guidelines for specific components such as content structure, spacing, and margins. Adhering to these instructions qualifies your paper for higher scores. If you fail to follow format instructions, your paper will lose important points. You can gain higher points if you use a professional. That’s what I do when I need to write an essay in APA format or any other format required by the professors. This ensures high grades for me and overall great performance in the class.

What to pay attention to when writing in APA format

Whenever you are writing in APA format, you should pay attention to these details.

  • Margins: You should set the paper margins at 1 inch on both sides. 
  • Title: The title should be centered, bolded, ad written in title case (you should capitalize each word).
  • Your details: Your details such as names, department, course, instructor, and date should be centered. Double-space them and use Times New Roman size 12.  

How to structure your essay in APA format

This is what the entire structure of the essay should look like.

The title page

Dedicate the first page to the title of your essay. The first thing to write is the running head. From the top of your page, leave a margin of 1 inch. The running head is the heading that appears on every page at the top. 

For example, if you are writing about the effects of technology in business, write it in full caps (EFFECTS OF TECHNOLOGY IN BUSINESS). This running head should appear on every page. It should be on the extreme left while the page number goes to the extreme right.  Leave the same margin (1 inch) on every page. 

Write your essay title next. If it is about – “Effects of Technology in Business: A Study on E-Commerce Growth.” Leave enough space from the running title and center the essay title. Capitalize each word, bold it, and center. 

Leave another space and write your name. Below your name, write your department and then course number, lecturer, and date. Use this format for a date – May 1, 2022. Use double space, Times New Roman size 12. 

The essay headers

The essay headers should allow 1-inch space from both sides of the page and the top. The page number should always be on the top right. Your surname should be next to the page number. When indenting paragraphs and quotations, leave half an inch. This should be from the left margin.  

The essay abstract

The abstract should not exceed 250 words. Most students’ essays written in APA format do not include an abstract unless the essay is longer. If you include it, let it be on a separate page immediately after the title page. Write the word ‘abstract’ on the top of the page, bold and center it. Do not indent the first line. You may add about 5 keywords below the page. Write them in lower cases separated by commas. The title ‘Keywords” should be italicized and indented. 

The body of the essay

The body should start on the page after the abstract or title page if doesn’t have an abstract. Let the page number consistently be on the top right side of all pages. The next line should be the essay title. Write it in bold letters and center it. Do not underline or italicize it. The first paragraph covers the introduction. The first line must be indented. Follow this style for every paragraph in the body (Indent the first line of each paragraph). 

Important things to note

The running head that you wrote on the title page should appear on every page at the same location. The running head should be on the top left and the page number on the top right. 

In the introduction paragraph, state the problem and provide deeper details than what you wrote in the abstract.

After the introduction, write the subtitle ‘Method.’  Let it be in bold and centered. In this paragraph, discuss how you did the study. Provide details on how you did data collection and analysis. 

The next section should be titled ‘Results.’ Bold and center it. The section provides a summary of your study outcomes. You can use tables, graphs, or charts to provide details. 

Create another subtitle under the name ‘Discussion.’ Center and bold it. This section provides an interpretation of your results. 

Within the section, discuss how the results affected your decisions to conclusions. Confirm if the results are in line with your hypothesis. Discuss the limitations you experienced and what should be done to make future studies better.   

Write the references

The references provide a list of the information sources used. Write it on a separate page at the end of the paper. Use the last name of the author and list them alphabetically. Double-space the references. 

Points to remember

  • APA format requires double spacing
  • Let the page margins be uniform all through and on all sides. Make it a half-inch on the top, bottom, right, and left sides. 
  • Except for the abstract, the first line of every paragraph should be indented by half an inch. 
  • Strictly use Times New Roman size 12. 
  • Every page, including the title page, should be numbered. The numbering should be on the top left side. The number should align with the running title
  • Every page should have a running title
  • Include your surname next to the page number
  • Before you start writing, make sure you choose an attractive topic
  • Conduct thorough research on the topic 
  • write your first draft, edit and write your final draft
  • Sticking to the APA essay format is critical to your success