Easy Guide to APA Essay Format

Easy Guide to APA Essay Format

Need advice on how to write an essay in APA format? Don’t know 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 latest APA style version – the 6th edition. Looking for information about other citation styles - check more articles on our blog.

What Is APA Essay Format?

Wondering what is APA 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. What is their purpose?

These rules are important to ensure that scholarly writings and student works meet a professional standard of academic integrity. APA is used in social sciences, psychology, sociology, education. and 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 academic content in APA style? There are two aspects you should focus on: 

  • Formatting visual text elements on pages such as headings, titles, charts, graphs, page numbers, and more to organize your writings for readability.
  • In-text citations to give credit to your sources and avoid plagiarism when summarizing, quoting, and paraphrasing.

General APA Guidelines

Have a look at basic tips you should follow. They will give you a general idea how to present your APA essay but you should check 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 of how APA papers should look like, you can buy a good paper sample. Follow these rules.

  • Type your piece of writing on a piece of paper with a standard size of 8.5” x 11”.
  • Your document should be double-spaced with 1” margins.
  • APA Manual recommends using a readable font like Times New Roman 12 pt.
  • Indent the first word in your paragraphs.
  • At the top of all pages, you have to include a running head which should be not 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

  • Title Page
  • Abstract
  • Main Body
  • References  

Title Page

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. It should be 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.


The Abstract begins on the next page. It should include the header without the words “Running head”. Center the word “Abstract” on the first line. On the next line, start writing a brief summary of the research you have made and mention the key findings and results. Don’t indent this paragraph. Make it no more than 250 words.

After your summary, you can write a list of keywords, to help other people find your APA paper in the databases. Indent and type the word ‘Keywords” in italics.

Main Body

The pages of the main body should include the running head and the number. Type the full title at the top center; start paragraphs with indent; write an introduction and if your project is long, use headings for different sections.

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.


Center the word “References” – no italics, no bold. List your sources alphabetically according to the last name of the author. Use a hanging indent. This section should include sources that you actually read and cited in your work.

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

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 standard.

  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 paper title before the body paragraphs.
  4. Make in-text citations for your summaries, direct quotations, and paraphrased material.
  5. Make references list and include all in-text citations.
  6. Compare your academic paper with APA format example essay.
  7. Proofread your work to make sure that everything corresponds to the required style and fix mistakes if you find 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 what you should do to organize the structure of your college project in APA essay format on different topics. As you see it is time-consuming and requires some practice before you will be able to control the entire process and avoid mistakes in citing sources to avoid plagiarism and ensure 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 will a perfect sample of a college work which you can use to master the complexities of English academic style and boost your writing skills.