In a reflective essay, you share your personal experience with some event or your ideas regarding articles, lesson, lecture, etc . Why is that essay reflective is that you, as a writer, analyze a past event from the present.

In this article, writers of our paper writing service will share our ultimate writing guide with you on how best to write a reflective essay and includes; the definition, essay format, and reflective essay examples that may inspire you.

What Is a Reflective Essay?

Reflective papers relate with some events or experiences. Writing one, you analyze the experience, its meaning, and lessons could be learned as a result. That essay format requires you to open up about your thoughts and emotions to discover your mind-set, personality, characteristics of character, and back ground. Your reflective essay will include a description of the experience/literature piece as well as explanations of your thoughts, feelings, and reactions.

Reflections are very personal and subjective, but they must maintain a formal tone and should be well organized.

What Is the Purpose of Reflective Writing

A reflective paper is the kind of academic writing assignment with the aim of revealing more details about your identity.

Mastering reflective writing allows you to:

  • Analyze and conclude what you’ve read, heard, or seen
  • Make connections involving the text and yourself, or other texts and the entire world
  • Considercarefully what you’ve learned and tips on how to, or will, use the newly acquired information
  • Write subjectively (from your point of view) and help identify your interests

The guide below will make you creating the right reflective essay.

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What Do I Write About?

The reflective essay is probably an essay you can’t borrow a topic for, because it should really be about your personal thoughts and experiences. But here are a few ideas subjects you can come up with to help you begin:

  • An experience you will never forget.
  • The moment you overcame a fear.
  • The most difficult choice you had to make.
  • A time your beliefs were challenged.
  • A time something changed your life.
  • The happiest moment, or most frightening moment, of your life up to now.
  • Ways you think you, or people, can make the entire world a better place.
  • A time you felt lost.
  • An introspective look at your alternatives, or a time you made the wrong choice.
  • A moment in your life you would like to relive.

You could find it convenient to create a chart or dining table to keep an eye on your ideas. Separate your chart into 3 parts:

  • In the first column, write key experiences, or most of your points. You are able to arrange them from most critical to least important.
  • In the second column, list your personal a reaction to the points you stated in the initial column.
  • In the third column, write what, from your own response, you may like to share in the essay.
Table of your reflective essay ideas

Writing a Reflection Paper

If you’re writing a reflection on a particular text, annotate your initial emotions and thoughts while reading it. If you are writing about yourself or an event in your lifetime, brainstorm by making a chart with three columns: past experiences, descriptions, and reflections. This dining table should allow you to brainstorm and structurize the introduction and body of one's essay.

Example: Past Experience: Volunteering in an animal shelter.
Description: The shelter is situated near a vet clinic. I was there with three other volunteers and the shelter’s owner...
Reflection: I was really astonished by the amount of homeless animals and how tame these were. Working there is a very enriching experience...

Reflection Paper Format

The format of a reflective essay greatly differs from the argumentative or research paper. A reflective essay is more of a well-structured story or a diary entry that’s rife with insight and reflection. You may be required to arrange your essay using the APA style or the MLA format.

And the typical reflection paper length varies between about 300 and 700 words, but make sure to ask your instructor or employer about the word length if it was assigned to you. Despite the fact that this essay is about you, you should try in order to avoid too much informal language.

If your instructor asks you to format your paper in APA or MLA style, below are a few shortcuts:

Reflective Essay in MLA Format

  • Times New Roman 12 pt font double spaced;
  • 1” margins;
  • Top right includes last name and page number on every page;
  • Titles are centered;
  • The header will include your name, your professor’s name, course number, and the date (dd/mm/yy);
  • Last page includes a Works Cited.

Reflective Essay in APA Style

  • Times New Roman 12 pt font double spaced;
  • 1” margins;
  • Include a page header on the top of every page;
  • Insert page number on the right;
  • Your reflective essay should be divided in to four parts: Title Page, Abstract, Main Body, and References.

Reflective Essay Outline

To start out organizing your reflective essay, take a look at your brainstorming dining table. The ‘past experience’ and ‘description’ should constitute significantly less than 10% of one's essay.

Your introduction should consist of:

  • The hook: grab the reader's attention in a short preview of what you’ll be writing about.

Example: We found Buffy head-to-toe covered in tar, starved and fur in patches, under an abandoned garbage truck.

  • Thesis statement: The reflective essay thesis statement includes that ‘past experience’ information; a brief statement of what your essay is going to be about.

Example: That summer’s volunteering experience at your pet shelter inspired me to pursue this kind of work as time goes by.

The structure of body paragraphs is best discussed in chronological events. Answer the bold questions in the ‘reflection’ section of the table; this will naturally develop a linear storyline.

Here’s an example of what the body paragraph outline should look like:

  • Expectations about the shelter
Example: I thought it was going to be boring and mundane.
  • First impression
  • Experience at the shelter
Example: Finding and rescuing Buffy.
  • Other experiences with rescuing animals
  • Discoveries
Example: Newly found passion and feelings toward the work.
  • A newly developed mindset
Example: How your thoughts about animal treatment have changed.


Summary your ideas and demonstrate an expression of how you've developed as a result of the ability. Describe your feelings, mention discoveries, & most importantly, plans for the future.

Example: Buffy’s case inspired me to pursue a career as a veterinarian, hopefully, one day in an dog shelter.

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Writing Tips

Follow these advices to success with a reflective paper.

Watch What You're Writing

A reflective paper is a very personal type of writing as it includes your feelings and opinions about something. Before adding something into your paper, think about whether or not these records is appropriate to incorporate.

Should you feel uncomfortable currently talking about something personal, avoid including it in your essay, or, come up with the issue in more general terms.

Stay Professional

Despite the fact that a reflection paper is personal, you need to keep it professional. Avoid slang and use only correct spelling and grammar. Don’t use abbreviations.

This really is your story, the focus should be in your reflections and experiences. There’s no need to enter detail about someone else in your custom essay. Even when this person had a big role in the ability you will speak about, you should remain professional and describe those things the person took, not anyone.

Check Twice

Review your paper sentence by sentence to get rid of all of your mistakes.

  • Keep your sentences to the point. Avoid squeezing two thoughts in to one sentence.
  • Don’t leave sentences unfinished; ensure all your sentences have an intention.

Put the Cherry on Top of Your Cake

Use transitional phrases to shift between arguments and introduce specific details. Using transitions will help your paper look professional.

Reflective Essay Sample

Discussing reflective essay examples might help you a whole lot. A sample paper can provide you with a good insight in to how a reflection essay should look like.