Easy Guide to APA Essay Format

Easy Guide to APA Essay Format
Table of Contents
  1. Easy Guide to APA Essay Format
  2. What Is the APA Essay Format?
  3. General APA Guidelines
  4. Major APA Paper Sections
  5. Title Page
  6. Abstract
  7. Main Body
  8. References
  9. APA Essays Checklist for College Students.

Do you need the best advice on how to write an essay in APA format? Have no idea on how to make a header? In this article, you will find everything you need to know about APA essay format to write successful college-level papers and get good marks.

Keep reading this easy guide to find answers to your questions and learn about APA key elements and the requirements of the latest APA style version. If you are looking for information about other citation styles like MLA or Chicago, please check more articles on our blog.

What Is the APA Essay Format?

Are you wondering what is the APA essay format and how it differs from other academic citation styles? APA is the official publication style of the American Psychological Association which has created a set of formatting guidelines and citation rules. Let's view its purpose.

These rules are important to ensure that professional papers, scholarly writings, and student works meet a professional standard of academic integrity. APA is used in social sciences, psychology, sociology, education. It determines how to structure the academic content and how to present elements of your work that you have written using various effective strategies. How to create the best academic content in APA style? There are two aspects you should focus on: 

  • Formatted visual text elements on pages of your study such as headings, titles, charts, graphs, page numbers, and more to organize your papers and make them readable.
  • In-text citations to give credit to your sources and avoid plagiarism when you are summarizing, quoting, and paraphrasing.

General APA Guidelines

Let's have a look at the basic tips of the APA essay format you should follow. They will give you a general idea of how to present your APA essay. We also suggest checking specific guidelines given by your instructor because they may have some requirements not included in the official APA Publication Manual. To get a better idea and good examples of how APA papers should look like, you can buy a good paper sample. Follow the rules below:

  • Type your piece of writing on a sheet of paper with a standard size of 8.5” x 11”.
  • Your document should be double-spaced with 1-inch margins.
  • APA Manual recommends using a well-readable font like Times New Roman 12 pt.
  • Indent the first word in all your paragraphs.
  • At the top of all pages, you have to include a running head which should be no more than 50 characters with spaces in length. It’s a shortened version of your paper’s title. Note that on the Title Page, your header should contain the term “Running head” and after the colon – the “TITLE OF YOUR PROJECT” in capital letters. The running head has to be left-justified.

Major APA Paper Sections

The structure of your research essay format APA should consist of the next parts:

  • Title Page
  • Abstract
  • Main Body
  • References  

Title Page

Please be informed that APA 7 gives various guides for the title page of professional documents intended for publication and student manuscripts for college or high school. 

The Title Page contains four pieces of information: the running head, the title of your work, the name of the author, and the institutional affiliation. A student document also contains the number of the course, the name of the instructor, and the deadline for this task. The page header should be included flush left and the page number flush right at the page top. 

The word "title" should be typed centered in the upper half of your page in upper and lowercase. The title itself must be typed in boldface and centered in the upper half of your page, may take up two lines, and have no more than 12 words. Don’t include any abbreviations. It should inform readers what your APA article is about. You should make it concise and clear and don’t use any words that have no purpose. Please remember you should double-space all the text on this page.

Under the title, you have to write the name of the author, including the first, middle, and last name. Don't use any titles like Dr. or any degrees like Ph.D. here.

Beneath, you should mention the institutional affiliation to indicate the author's location. Your readers will understand where your research was conducted. 

As for a professional paper, it must have the author note written after the institutional affiliation. It should be placed in the bottom half of the page and separated into several parts. The first part must include the name of the author, and both the symbol and URL for the ORCID iD. Omit authors who don't have an ORCID iD. The second part must contain any changes in affiliation or any authors' deaths. In the third part, you should place acknowledgments or disclosures. This might be an acknowledgment of finances and any other activity, registration of your work, disclosure of reports, open practices, etc. In the fourth part, you should place all the needed information for readers to contact the author.  

Please remember that if you're making a student document, an author note isn't required.


The Abstract begins on the new page. It should include the page header without the words “Running head”. Center and bold the word “Abstract” on the first line. Remember you don't need any quotation marks, underlining, or italics here. On the next line, start writing a summary of the research you have made and mention the key findings and results. Don’t indent this paragraph. Please double-space it and make sure you have written no more than 250 words. The abstract must contain the next things: a research topic and questions, its participants, methods, data analysis, results, and conclusions. Here you can write any implications of your work and any future research that may be provided on your results. Remember the whole abstract should look like a single paragraph. 

After your summary, you can write a list of keywords, to help other people find your APA paper in the databases. Indent to start a new paragraph and type the word ‘Keywords” in italics. Then list all the keywords, and other researchers will be able to find your work easily. 

Main Body

Follow the next requirements if you're writing a student paper:

  1. Write a page number in the right upper corner of all pages, starting from the title page. The pages of the main body should include the running head and the number.
  2. Write your title in the center of the page in bold font. Please do not italicize or underline it.
  3. Start your introduction and indent your paragraph's first line. Make sure all the paragraphs in your main body are indented. If your project is long, use headings for different sections.

The APA essay format has 5 levels of headings, and each level has specific requirements. Don’t forget to cite your sources - include the author’s name and the year of publication. If your quote is longer than 40 words, you need to make a block quotation.

If you're making a professional document, follow these guidelines:

  1. Write your running head (the title and a page number). Type the heading title in capital letters. Make sure the abstract is placed on the second page.
  2. In the introduction, you have to present a certain problem for readers. It should contain more details than in the abstract. 
  3. Start a new section with the centered and bold subtitle Method. This part shows how your research was conducted. You have to describe the methods you have used for research.
  4. Start a new section with the centered and bold subtitle Results. Here you have to make a summary of your data. Feel free to place graphs and charts to display the data to your readers.
  5. Start a new section with the centered and bold subtitle Discussion. In this part, you need to analyze your results.
  6. Make conclusions and summarize how your results led to the conclusions.
  7. Analyze if your hypothesis was confirmed or disproved by the received results. 
  8. Define the study limitations and write about the next steps that can improve your research in future papers.


Center the word “References” and make sure it's not italicized and not bold. List your sources alphabetically according to the last name of the author. Use a hanging indent. This section should include all the sources that you read and cited in your work.

Remember that you should make an entry for every article or other scholarly sources that you have mentioned in your document to avoid plagiarism.  

All the citations in APA format consist of a parenthetical citation and the full reference. You have to follow the particular instructions for each book, webpage, article, or any other source. Of course, you may simplify your life and use an online citation generator to cite all your sources without problems. Just find a reliable APA citation generator, enter the ISBN or URL, and both in-text citation and full reference will be generated automatically.   

APA Essays Checklist for College Students.

Use this easy checklist for formatting your APA projects. Follow these steps to ensure that all APA papers you have to complete are written and organized to meet the highest standards.

  1. Create a Title Page for your essay or a research paper.
  2. Create headers and page numbers in the entire text.
  3. Include the title of your paper before the body paragraphs.
  4. Make in-text citations for your summaries, direct quotations, and any paraphrased material.
  5. Make the list of references and include there all in-text citations.
  6. Compare your completed academic paper with APA format example essay.
  7. Proofread your work to make sure that everything fits the required style. Fix all the mistakes if you've found them.

Use this checklist every time you prepare your document for publication or submission. It will help you stay focused.

Now you have an idea on how to organize the structure of your college project in APA essay format on different essay topics. As you see it is time-consuming and requires some practice before you will learn to control the entire process and avoid mistakes in citing sources to omitting plagiarism. Make sure that your piece of writing is flawless and deserves a high grade.

Do you think this is complicated? Then you may need to take advantage of a well-written APA format essay template on your topic that you can order on our website. Our professional writers can provide you with a perfect sample of a college work that you can use to master the complexities of English academic style and boost your writing skills.