How to Write an Essay in APA Format
March 01, 2024
Author : Frank Barnes

Are you trying to get A+ grades in all your academic essays? Wondering how you can write essay in APA formats? Let us guide you through the process of writing and make things easier for you. Different referencing styles are like standardized systems that help us acknowledge the sources of information and all the ideas we use in our writing assignments. Here, referencing styles offer us a set of rules for citation within our assignments. It also helps in the creation of reference lists and bibliographies. Although it can be a hustle if you are doing it for the first time, it saves you from the plethora of deductions that can happen because of plagiarism.

In case you are assuming that once you learn how to format an essay in APA, you can use it for all your assignments, that’s not the case! Apart from the APA, make sure to take a look at MLA, Chicago and Harvard referencing styles as they are most commonly used. Remember that, no matter how unique your ideas are or how much time you have invested in your assignments, you cannot afford to ignore the proper use of referencing styles. To make this more convenient for you, we will be discussing APA style in detail. Before we move on to the steps, let’s take a look at the exact definition! 

What is the APA format for an essay?

As you must know, essays in APA formats were introduced by the American Psychological Association and it is one of the commonly used formats because of its complex nature. APA format is used for publications, writing assignments and academic journals. Furthermore, it is the 7th format that specifies all the elements of your academic assignments. Here, you will observe the author-date system which means you have to include the author's name and date of publication at the end of your reference list. Below are some of the basic guidelines you should know before you start to discuss the steps in detail: 

  • Keep the margins one inch on the sides. 
  • All the headings and text need to be double-spaced. 
  • First line - Indent ( 0.5 inches )
  • Choose readable fonts. ( Always choose formal text over the handwritten one 
  • Keep the page number mentioned on all the pages. 

Exploring Steps to Write Essays in APA Format

Exploring Steps to Write Essays in APA Format

Without checking the example of essay written in APA format, you will not understand what things are being discussed here. So, make sure to check any suitable examples attached to this write-up. Also, take note of the requirements and paste them in front of your desk to avoid all the misunderstandings. Without any further ado, let’s move on to the steps that can be your guide in the process! 

Title Page

  • Your main heading or topic has to be in the title case. 
  • For the author info- keep your institution information and name on the title page.
  • In the case of running head, make it the shorter version of the title with a maximum of fifty characters and keep the alignment to the left. After that, write the page number and leave it. 


In case you observe some of the inconsistencies in your work, it would be a wise idea to get essay writing help for the final proofreading. In summary, the page header will only include the running head and number of a particular page. Then, your summary should be within 200 words, and then five to six keywords should be added at the end of it. 

Body of the Paper

Start the body paragraph usually with a running head and page number. Pick a font that looks presentable and professional. Your margins should be one inch on the sides. At last, take care of the intent as mentioned above. Note that even if you miss the guidelines in one paraphrase or exceed the number of words, you will face deductions.

Headings and Subheadings

When you follow the APA citation format in essay, there are separate rules for the headings too. For the level of headings you need to use up to 5 levels that you can see in the APA manual. When it comes to formatting, make sure to bold the first level, keep the second level in italics and use both bold and italics once you reach level three. Here, you can keep the alignment left or as per the level. 


  • For text citations, go with the author-date format
  • Quotations - Go with double quotation marks for all the short quotes, and also block quotes for the longer passages (that is, 40 words or more).
  • For reference list: Alphabetical list of all sources you have cited. 


As a responsible academic essay writer, it is your responsibility to keep the reference saved. Here is the format - AuthorLastName, AuthorInitials. (with a year)

Work Title - Capital letter also for the subtitles. End with the publisher. 

Italicization - Italicize titles for all the journals and books. 

Figures and Tables

For the numbering - you need to number all the figures and tables separately by using Arabic numerals. Then, place all the captions below your figure or table together with the brief, descriptive title. 


When labeling, if you are incorporating the appendix, always label them as Appendix A, Appendix B and so on. At last while you work on an essay in APA format, content will be the supplementary material that is basically too wordy for the body of your academic paper. 


Finally, you have reached the stage where you can move to the final proofreading before the final submission of your work. For this, try to get some help so that you can become aware of your shortcomings. And know that you can increase your grades with proper proofreading, so do not skip this step. 

Check Out an Example For Better Clarity

Check Out an Example For Better Clarity

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Read Also: How to Write an Essay in MLA Format?

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About the Author

Frank Barnes

Frank Barnes is a native of Canada and completed his education from the UK. He realised the importance of a good statement of purpose and its role in the admission process. Since then he has been aiding students online to write admission essays, statement of purposes, personal statements, etc. He was an offshore expert offering expert consultation to the students before moving to Sydney as the SOP Writing Head for My Assignment Services. Ensuring a success rate of 85%, Frank also writes blogs and articles to make the students aware of the SOP writing process.


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