Writing an APA paper can feel like quite the task, especially if you don’t know how to format your work to fit its demands. Fear not, though, the APA style may differ from other ones, like MLA and Chicago, but it is much simpler than most people realize it to be.
For first-timers, writing an essay in APA structure can feel like an overwhelming request. Although there really isn’t much to it, many people worry that their formatting isn’t done correctly.
This is a significant problem with those attempting to write in APA format for the first time. In such instances, many students turn to a top APA paper writing service for help! Such services can set you up with a qualified APA essay writer to pen the essay for you. Hence, allowing you to attend to the other important things in your life without worrying about formatting your paper.
However, if you still feel like it’s best to write the APA essay yourself, you should know all the rules beforehand.
If you’re looking for an APA style publication manual, look no farther. Keep reading to learn more about the APA format, research and formatting tips, and its basic rules.
What is the APA Style?
The well-known “APA style” is a unique paper formatting method used by those concerned with writing research papers or essays for university or other research-oriented academic institutions.
APA is short for “American Psychology Association.” The Association developed a particular set of writing rules for students belonging to social science-related backgrounds. This set of rules is now known as the “APA style” for essay writing.
It dictates the rules associated with paper structure, essay components, research documentation structure, paper formatting, and more.
If your instructor has specifically asked you to write your paper in APA style, it’s best to stick to the format given. If you stray from the rules, you might end up forgetting to mention some essential details in your essay due to minor formatting errors. Or, worse, your instructor may deduct marks or reject your paper if you haven’t followed the rules!
Your APA essay should be divided into three compulsory parts:
1. Title Page
The title page is an obligatory part of all APA style essays. You can use a default template for the title page or make one yourself. Here’s what you’ll need to include on the title page of your APA style essay:
- Title of your essay
- Names of all the authors, or just your name if you’ve written it independently
- Each author’s affiliation (for e.g., the university they attended)
- Course name or number for which you are writing this university-level essay
- Instructor name
- The essay’s due date
- Page number (please list this in the top right-hand corner of each page, including the title page)
After you’ve added all these elements, you can move onto your assignment’s next component…
The essay is your paper’s main component and must address the topic at hand. Remember to begin each new paragraph with an indentation of one tab space. Insert this space simply by pressing the “tab” button on your keyboard. You may need to press this button twice, successively, for it to work.
Make sure your title is centralized and in bold font. It should be centered, too.
3. Reference List
Reference lists must contain all citations you’ve noted within your essay. There is a special way to create a reference list. You must follow the APA standard citation rules.
4. Abstract (optional)
Some university professors may request you to add an abstract, which must be limited to around 250 words at most. The abstract is a short summary of your essay. It must be inserted right after the title page before starting your essay. Abstracts typically do not contain multiple paragraphs. But, if you’ve chosen to divide it, do not start each new paragraph with an indentation!
If you’re writing your essay on Microsoft Word or a similar platform, it’s best to divide each section from the next using the “page break” option.
APA Formatting Tips
Below is a list of tips to keep in mind when writing your APA style essay:
- Your essay should be double-spaced.
- All pages must contain a page number (top right-hand corner)
- Your paper’s title must clearly state the intent of your essay.
- The title can be one or two lines long but should not exceed 12 words in total.
- Everything in your reference list must be listed alphabetically.
- Do not forget to indent each new paragraph of your essay using the tab button.
- Use Times New Roman in font size 12; this is the APA standard.
- However, there are other styles you can use, too, including Calibri size 11, Arial size 11, and Georgia size 11
- Footnotes must be in size 10 font
- Do not switch fonts randomly in your essay; choose one and commit to it
- Captions for tables and inserts should be in a font size between size 8 and size 14
- You should have standard 1-inch margins throughout your essay; Microsoft Word (2007 onwards) uses these as its default margins, so you probably won’t have to go through the hassle of altering your margin size
Title Formatting Tips
One of the trickiest things to get the hang of is how to format your titles. Since you have the main title, and then headings for each section, and then subheadings within sections – it can get confusing.
Here’s how to format your successive section headings:
First Level Heading (Bold, Centered)
Second Level Heading (Bold, Aligned to Left)
Third Level Heading (Bold and Italic, Aligned to Left)
Fourth Level Heading (Bold, Indented using tab, Ending with a Period).
Fifth Level Heading (Bold Italic, Indented using tab, Ending with a Period).
You may or may not feel the need to include all of these headings in your essay.
As you can see, writing an APA paper has its own set of rules. Luckily, these aren’t too complicated. Use this guide as a reference point to understand how to format your APA paper!
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