Writing an effective college essay usually involves writing with an assigned style. The most commonly used styles in college include APA and MLA. Most MLA papers are written in literature courses or other language arts courses. APA style will be used in social science courses, especially psychology and education courses. When you are assigned an APA essay for a college course, it is vital to your grade that you make the best attempt you can to get the style correct.
Writing styles are used for a few different reasons. The first is that it gives the writer a format to use for the essay itself as well as the documentation. Without these writing guidelines, writers will come up with their own ways to document sources and readers will not know what those ways are. With APA style, the reader and the writer are on the same page as to the sources that are used and the segments of the paper.
It is important to understand how to document sources both inside of the paper and on the bibliography page. Documenting in the paper is called citing, and different types of sources require slightly different citations. Most of the APA citations in the paper require the use of the author’s last name and the year of the publication. With direct quotes, page numbers are also required, if they are available, and they need to have the letter “p.” included, too. Summaries and paraphrases still require the use of the author and year, and possibly the page number, if it is available.
When you write an APA paper, it is important that the paper itself is formatted properly. This includes putting page numbers, section headings, and headers in the appropriate place. The title of the paper and the page number both go in the header, with the title justified to the left and the page number justified right. Most APA papers require an abstract, which is needed on the first page after the title page. It can be helpful to have a sample paper to look at for formatting information while you type your own paper.
The list of references is a vital part of the paper. Reference lists can be crafted on your own, or with the help of an online citation app. You might be able to input an URL and get the citation or you might have to enter the parts of the citation on your own. Keep this list accurate in order to earn the best grade possible.
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