How to Write a Reflection Essay

reflection essay writing tips


A reflection essay is one of the most popular assignments in high schools and colleges because it allows students to express their opinions and reflect on various things applying their critical thinking skills. Whereas some students can cope with this task successfully, others may lack appropriate writing proficiency. If you want to understand how to write a reflection essay in a way that will bring you a good grade, you should understand the specifics of this task. In its essence, a reflection essay is a piece of academic writing that assumes writing a critical response to something based on the writer`s personal experiences. You may be asked to write a reflection essay on a book, a movie, a play, a podcast, or any other work. Even though a reflection essay belongs to informal writing, it should follow the high standards of academic writing. If you want to understand how to write a reflective essay, you should look at some practices provided in our article.

What Is a Reflection Paper?

A reflection paper is a type of academic paper that allows the author to express his or her opinion on the topic with the help of personal examples and observations. Unlike many other academic papers, this assignment will allow you to provide your point of view, supporting it with solid evidence. You may write a reflection essay about everything: your favorite book, a popular TV show, a new film, or anything else that sparks your interest. Pay attention that the success of your paper will depend on how well you will follow the professor`s guidelines and instructions. Thus, before you start writing a reflective essay, you will need to have a closer look at the instructor`s prompt.

There are three major types of reflection papers. The first type is an educational reflective paper in which students often discuss books, movies, seminars, etc. The second type is a professional paper typically written by people working in psychology and other scientific fields. Finally, the last type is a personal reflection paper that assumes providing the author`s ideas and opinions about a specific piece. No matter what reflection essay type you will work with, you need to organize the writing process carefully and follow the latest writing standards and criteria in your work.

How to Write a Reflection Essay: Reflection Paper Format

Usually, reflection papers do not follow any specific format. Since this assignment allows you to express your personal opinion, you are free to write this paper the way you want. In case your professor has indicated a specific citation style in your prompt, you will need to stick to it when writing your essay. No matter what format you will follow when writing your essay, it should include an engaging introductory, a detailed main body part, and a conclusion.

How to Ease the Writing Process?

Although you are free to follow any format, you should understand that this essay is not a simple stream of consciousness but is a well-organized academic paper. By following a traditional essay structure, you will make your reflective analysis essay easy to follow.

Below, you will find some tips that will help you write your essay in such a way that will engage your target audience:

  • Before you start writing, you should identify the main themes and organize them in a logical order. Creating an outline is also a good idea;
  • Combine your thoughts and ideas with credible research materials. You cannot rely on your perception of the subject;
  • Pay attention that your reader should understand your values, views, and beliefs when reading your reflection essay;
  • Follow the traditional essay structure.

A Guide to Writing a Personal Reflection Essay

If you want to make your essay look great, you will need to have a look at a reflection essay template mentioned below:


  • Ask a reflective question (it should be related to your thesis statement);
  • Identify the key theme of your essay;
  • Provide background information;
  • Suggest a clear thesis.

Main Body

  • Explain a thesis;
  • Tell about your experience with the subject;
  • Cite appropriate sources.


  • Answer the reflective question;
  • Summarize your reaction to the subject;
  • Support your thesis.

Additional Tips

  • Keep your essay brief and well-organized;
  • Discuss one idea per paragraph;
  • Include appropriate transitions;
  • Focus on your feelings and thoughts.

More Information on Writing a Reflection Essay

Each writer has a writing style; thus, there are many different ways to write a reflective paper. However, no matter how you will write your essay, it should capture your reader`s attention. Have a look at some efficient suggestions that will help you understand how to write a reflection essay turning an ordinary paper into a marvelous piece:

  • Pay attention to your paper`s coherency. If you want your reader to enjoy your essay, you will need to develop your ideas in a logical order;
  • Maintain the tone. When writing your essay, you will need to use an academic tone even if your essay is rather personal;
  • Do not forget to edit your paper. Once your paper is written, you need to look it through and make sure it is free from grammar and punctuation flaws;
  • Cite your sources. If you have used some additional sources when working on your essay, all of them should be presented in the reference list;

All in all, even if you have no idea how to start a reflective essay, you will be able to write a perfect paper by following our suggestions.

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