Essay Format Tips & Tricks

Updated: October 13, 2021

It has been argued that essay writing is an assignment probably the most sophisticated in college and university. Why do most students think so? The main reason must be the large number of tasks you should handle to perform just one essay. And one of the essential ones is an essay format.

Many students who have a good background in the subject and sufficient writing skills and even are creative enough to generate unique content face difficulties with formatting their essays. Sometimes misperceptions are the main reason for students’ failures. If you feel something is impossible or very complicated, it will become so. Don’t waste your time and familiarize yourself with the practice guideline on formatting your essay correctly to get an A+ grade!

What is an Essay Format?

The definition of essay format is not so vast as you may think. The essay format is a strictly determined standard that every student should stick to to make their work professional. Of course, you may find other definitions. However, the concept must be unchanged.

Essay Formatting Basic Guidelines

Essay formatting relates to many different aspects. They include proper spacing, font size, style, headings and subheadings capitalization, complete and adequate structure, properly arranged title page, content, citations, and bibliography. Furthermore, every particular essay format has specific standards you should follow to avoid misunderstanding.

You can never omit any of the content elements of an essay. Otherwise, your essay will be just a free flow of ideas, without any structurization and so on. Good topic, convincing thesis, stunning hook, and arguments should be coherent with each other and the introduction and conclusion. The essay format is not a simple word combination. It is hard work but possible to be completed at a high level.

MLA Format vs APA Format

MLA and APA formats are the most common in modern literature. That’s because students as often face them while writing essays. People usually consider these two styles very similar, omitting a few peculiarities that everyone should pay attention to. Basic requirements for arranging an article do not differ. It implies spacing, font, and so on.

However, the field of application of these formats matters. If we say about MLA, it is more appropriate in human sciences, while APA in social studies. There are also a few differences between APA and MLA citation arrangements. APA requires indicating the year of publication; MLA needs several pages in the work you use. References are crucial both for MLA and APA.

APA Format Tips

APA is the essay format we are used to the most. Almost all students apply it while writing essays. But how do you find the essential elements of this style? First of all, you should remember its five important peculiarities.

  1. Times New Roman font style and 12 pt font size.
  2. Margin is regular, 1”.
  3. Spacing is double.
  4. Title page with proper heading.
  5. Left corner numbering.

Also, you should take into account the main requirements of arranging the title page in APA style. As usual, this part of an essay should necessarily consist of the student’s name and the institution they study at. Sometimes, professors demand to indicate the subject name and the date. It implies that some variations can take place.

MLA Format Tips

MLA is somehow more complicated in terms of the more significant number of requirements than APA, for example. Spacing and font specifications do not differ. Nevertheless, it would help if you worked on a title page more. There are strict rules you should stick to avoid lowering your grade for the essay.

  1. Name of institution.
  2. The topic of your essay.
  3. Tutor’s name.
  4. Discipline name.
  5. Deadline date.

If you need a guideline on an ordinary heading commonly placed at a top left corner, be sure to include the same elements as a specific title page. One more peculiarity of this essay format is that pages numeration should consist of not a mere figure but the student’s last name. The alignment is to the left side.

How to Write a Title Page

The title page is not just a cover of your essay. It is what mostly makes an impression on your whole work. For that reason, compliance with the appropriate essay format is not another piece of advice, and it is a requirement for students eager to get an A+ grade for their essays.

Above you must have become familiar with the two most popular formatting practices of essays, APA and MLA. Both require almost the same elements to be indicated on the title page. The only difference is the possibility of choosing the title page style in APA format. As usual, the first page (but there should be no numeration figure, it is zero page) of every essay seeks the following information:

  • Who is a student, i.e., their full name?
  • Where does a student study, or what is the name of the institution accordingly?
  • What is the topic of the essay?
  • Who is a student’s tutor or professor?
  • What is the discipline, subject, or name of the course that the essay covers?
  • When is the deadline for this particular essay?

If you write the appropriate information according to the necessary essay format without omitting anything, no problems should occur. However, be careful not to overdo it. It would help if you strictly stuck to the essay format required to make the paper as professional as possible.

How to Write a Thesis

The thesis statement is a concise summary of your essay. It is a piece of paper that a professor read first of all. That’s because you should pay much attention not to fail in the eyes of your tutor from the earliest seconds of reading your essay.

  • The thesis is to convey the central message of the whole essay.
  • It should be concise but thorough enough.
  • The eye-catching thesis is the best one.
  • No details are necessary.
  • Coherence with every part of the text is a requirement.

You may wonder what exactly is the best to write a thesis statement about. In short, you should write a few sentences about the relevance of the topic, your opinion on the issue you discuss there and give a reader a hint of what the paper will be about.

To make the thesis even more exciting, try not to tell a reader about everything. Omit some findings you have gotten while researching, for example. It is the most reasonable way not to make a thesis incomplete but exciting enough to persuade a reader to continue reading.

Writing an Introduction, Body, and Conclusion

Almost every essay format requires the precise structure of the text in the essay. It relates both to APA and MLA styles. These parts help to make your paper more logical and structured. What is more, it is much easier to read and check a paper when it has a structure of a professional type. The only intricacy is that not every format style requires calling these parts precisely in such a way. Some variations may occur.


The purpose of the introduction is the same as of a thesis – to make a good impression. Don’t try to write basic stuff and make historical overviews. Well-known citations in the introduction are also not a very good idea.

A practical and almost always infallible method provides exciting statistics or any other data on the issue you discuss. In such a way, you can emphasize the topic’s relevance and show how deep your research is. It is about a hook, a sentence or two that should grab the attention of a reader.

Not try to write about everything in the introduction. Every essay format requires an opening to be as concise as possible. Your task is to keep a reader interested, not to disclose all the details of the work.


As usual, the body consists of a few headings and subheadings. Each part of a body may comprise from one or two paragraphs to a few pages. If you have no volume limits determined by the professor, you can make the body even larger to reveal all the aspects of the work and analyze all the incomings.

The only rule every essay format distinguishes is the coherence of all the sentences in the body with the topic, main message, introduction, and conclusion. Only if visible compliance exists, your essay can be worthy of an A+ grade.


The conclusion is not simply a part of an essay where you just showed to summarize everything mentioned above. Of course, you should, but it is not the main requirement. Your task is to answer the question you have made in the introduction and justify the topic’s relevance one more time.

It would help if you minded every aspect revealed in your work but try to do that as briefly as possible. A significant conclusion is a sign that you have not figured out the right idea on the issue. That’s why very often, professors lower grades because of such beliefs.

11 Best Tips for Writing and Conducting Research

No matter the essay format, your paper should be meaningful, thorough, and enjoyable to read. That’s because undertaking good research is one of the essential stages in essay writing. If you are eager to boost your research skills, check the following guide!

  1. Choose a topic on which there is enough information to write a fascinating essay.
  2. Look through the books you have at home, and you may find something authentic there.
  3. Make a plan for your work.
  4. Create content of the essay in the form of the first draft.
  5. Try to check all the resources possible on the internet to have enough information on every aspect distinguished in the content.
  6. Look through the databases with potentially relevant or at least appropriate material for the topic.
  7. Look for different tables, graphs, and build links between every figure and word you will use in the essay.
  8. Analyze all the incomings.
  9. Keep only the most exciting things.
  10. Write the essay following your plan.
  11. Pay attention to the coherence of the data you have found to the message you would like to convey and the relevance of the things you write the essay about.


Think that formatting essays are not for you? Still, have difficulties structuring the paper or do not know how to make all the parts coherent? A professional writer is who you need.

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