How to Write an Essay in APA Format: Simple Guideline

All academic assignments, including essays and other research papers, call for appropriate formatting instructions. In most instances, your professor or the institute will give you clear instructions on how to format your paper the right way before submitting it. While such writing formats may seem basic, you can actually miss desirable grades if you ignore them. That is why it is crucial to familiarize yourself with all the requirements once tasked with an essay to ensure you do the whole process the right way.

In this write-up, we feature an apa format step by step guide when writing your essay. Therefore, if you have been struggling with an APA citation essay, keep reading to clear all your doubts.

APA format for students definition

If you are specializing in social science, education, and psychology field, then you are likely to format your paper in the APA style.

This means subjects like nursing, linguistics, political science, and sociology, among others, require APA citation. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t check the specific requirements, as they can change. Therefore, ensure to discuss with your tutor to be sure of how to format your paper.

Therefore, APA citation means referencing your work while including the last name of the author, publication year (the date system of the author), timestamp, or page number (when citing a specific section from the source)

The importance of college essay paper format

As a student, you may wonder why you need to cite your paper when you have already done your research and presented your ideas well. Well, it may seem a time-consuming task, but the college essay format APA has the following benefits:

  • To communicate the same language with your reader

When you use APA format in your writing, you communicate clearly on the materials or rather sources you have used during your research process. This saves the reader time as they can easily trace the sources. Besides, the citation will also help save your word count.

  • To make your work more presentable

Your essay should be highly professional, with a decent presentation for easy reading. Your reader wants to have a smooth time reading through your paper, and if not well-presented, the whole idea may seem like a waste of time since they have other essays to read. Therefore, make sure all your sources are properly cited and give credit to the previous authors through the appropriate referencing style.

  • To avoid being penalized for plagiarism

Well, there is no doubt you will use phrases or work from other authors to justify your points when writing the essays. You must credit these authors as the owners of the concept. Otherwise, your work will be termed as copied work, making it plagiarized. Plagiarism is an offense, especially in academic writing, as it will attract harsh penalties.

So, ensure each source or material you use in your essay is well-cited as a way of improving your overall grades.

APA format sections: step by step APA format

When tasked with an essay task that requires APA format, there are steps to follow, as we will describe below. Generally, your paper should have three sections:

  1. The title page
  2. The APA main body
  3. The reference list

Therefore, make the following setups before you start writing to ensure your use the right APA referencing style:

  • The margin of 1 on all the four sides
  • Space – use ½ inch ident in the beginning from the left margin, then ½ inch ident from the left edge.
  • Font and size – use standard fonts like Times New Roman with size 12.
  • Page numbers – your page numbers should appear in the upper right-hand corner right from the tile sheet. Make sure you don’t mix your name with page numbers.
  • Spacing – your whole paper should have double spaces. This includes the quotes and references too.
  • Title sheet – while using APA format citation, make sure the title page has your name and school details, all double-spaced and centered.
  • Also, include a note about the creator giving some affirmation details about the class.
  • Running heads – the running head is a summary of your title (about 12 words) that appears at the top of each page, set to the left. This is a general requirement in APA formats.


Writing an essay in APA format is a top requirement that other graduates have done. As you elevate your career, you should prepare to write as many essays as possible. Mastering the art of formatting or citing your paper, such as APA citation, is a crucial step toward scoring good grades in an essay.

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