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How to write an academic essay: style and format


For almost all of your college courses, you will be asked to write an academic essay. There are certain guidelines that you should follow when writing your essay. There is a specific style and a few different formats that will be acceptable for this kind of paper.

Style of Academic Essays


Academic essays require a formal style of writing. They are required to have proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling. When writing an academic essay, you want to make sure that you are not using any slang words or catchy phrases. Papers should not be written in the first person. They should not express personal opinions but be written on factual evidence.

Format of Academic Essays


There are two major formatting styles that are used for academic papers. They are the MLA formatting style and the APA formatting style. We will concentrate on the APA formatting style because this style is the most common. There are specific guidelines that need to be followed when formatting your paper and when formatting your citations to stay in accordance with this style. Below is a list of the most common formatting points to follow.

  1. Set up: Paper should have one inch margins all around. The font should be Times New Roman with a font size of twelve. The entire paper should be double spaced.
  2. Heading: Your header should have your papers name in the left hand side and the page number flush on the right hand side.
  3. Sections: There are several sections to your paper. The first is your heading page which should include in the dead center of the page your papers name, your name, the college’s name, the course name, your professor’s name, and the date of submission. The second main portion is the body of the paper and the last is your reference page. The heading page and reference page should be on separate sheets of paper in the beginning and end of your paper.
  4. Grammar and Punctuation: Proper grammar and punctuation need to be used in academic papers. You can use the grammar and spell check that your program provides but you should also proofread and edit your work. You will lose points for improper information.

Following the proper style and format of academic papers is very important. You don’t want to lose points for not setting your paper up properly.