essay reflection about

How to Write a Reflective Essay: Easy Guide with Pro Tips

essay reflection about

Defining What is a Reflective Essay: Purpose + Importance

Being present is a cornerstone of mindfulness and meditation. You must have often heard that staying in the moment helps you appreciate your surroundings, connects you with people and nature, and allows you to feel whatever emotions you must feel without anxiety. While this is helpful advice as you become more focused and avoid getting lost in thought, how can you truly appreciate the present without reflecting on your past experiences that have led you to the current moment?

We don't say that you should dwell on the past and get carried away with a constant thought process, but hey, hear us out - practice reflective thinking! Think back on your previous life events, paint a true picture of history, and make connections to your present self. This requires you to get a bit analytical and creative. So you might as well document your critical reflection on a piece of paper and give direction to your personal observations. That's when the need for reflective essays steps in!

In a reflective essay, you open up about your thoughts and emotions to uncover your mindset, personality, traits of character, and background. Your reflective essay should include a description of the experience/literature piece as well as explanations of your thoughts, feelings, and reactions. In this article, our essay writer service will share our ultimate guide on how to write a reflective essay with a clear format and reflective essay examples that will inspire you.

How to Write a Reflective Essay with a Proper Reflective Essay Outline

To give you a clear idea of structuring a reflective essay template, we broke down the essential steps below. Primarily, the organization of a reflective essay is very similar to other types of papers. However, our custom writers got more specific with the reflective essay outline to ease your writing process.

Reflective Essay Introduction

When wondering how to start a reflective essay, it is no surprise that you should begin writing your paper with an introductory paragraph. So, what's new and different with the reflection essay introduction? Let's dissect:

  • Open your intro with an attention-seizing hook that engages your audience into reflective thinking with you. It can be something like: 'As I was sitting on my bed with my notebook placed on my shaky lap waiting for the letter of acceptance, I could not help but reflect, was enrolling in college the path I wanted to take in the future?'
  • Provide context with a quick overview of the reflective essay topic. Don't reveal too much information at the start to prevent your audience from becoming discouraged to continue reading.
  • Make a claim with a strong reflective essay thesis statement. It should be a simple explanation of the essay's main point, in this example, a specific event that had a big impact on you.

Reflective Essay Body Paragraphs

The next step is to develop the body of your essay. This section of the paper may be the most challenging because it's simple to ramble and replicate yourself both in the outline and the actual writing. Planning the body properly requires a lot of time and work, and the following advice can assist you in doing this effectively:

  • Consider using a sequential strategy. This entails reviewing everything you wish to discuss in the order it occurred. This method ensures that your work is structured and cohesive.
  • Make sure the body paragraph is well-rounded and employs the right amount of analysis. The body should go into the effects of the event on your life and the insights you've gained as a consequence.
  • Prioritize reflecting rather than summarizing your points. In addition to giving readers insight into your personal experience, a reflective stance will also show off your personality and demonstrate your ability to handle certain challenges.

Reflective Essay Conclusion

The goal of your reflective essay conclusion should be to tie everything together by summarizing the key ideas raised throughout, as well as the lessons you were able to take away from experience.

  • Don't forget to include the reasons for and the methods used to improve your beliefs and actions. Think about how your personality and skills have changed as well.
  • What conclusions can you draw about your behavior in particular circumstances? What could you do differently if the conditions were the same in the future?

Remember that your instructor will be searching for clear signs of reflection.

Understanding a Reflection Paper Format

The format of reflective essay greatly differs from an argumentative or research paper. A reflective essay is more of a well-structured story or a diary entry rife with insight and reflection. You might be required to arrange your essay using the APA style or the MLA format.

And the typical reflection paper length varies between 300 and 700 words, but ask your instructor about the word length if it was assigned to you. Even though this essay is about you, try to avoid too much informal language.

If your instructor asks you to use an APA or MLA style format for reflective essay, here are a few shortcuts:

Reflective Essay in MLA Format

  • Times New Roman 12pt font double spaced;
  • 1" margins;
  • The top right includes the last name and page number on every page;
  • Titles are centered;
  • The header should include your name, your professor's name, course number, and the date (dd/mm/yy);
  • The last page includes a Works Cited.

Reflective Essay in APA Style

  • Include a page header on the top of every page;
  • Insert page number on the right;
  • Your reflective essay should be divided into four parts: Title Page, Abstract, Main Body, and References.

Reflective Essay Writing Tips

You may think we've armed you with enough tips and pointers for reflective writing, but it doesn't stop here. Below we gathered some expert-approved tips for constructing uncontested reflection papers.

tips reflective essay

  • Be as detailed as possible while writing. To make your reflective essay writing come to life, you should employ several tactics such as symbolism, sentence patterns, etc.
  • Keep your audience in mind. The reader will become frustrated if you continue writing in the first person without taking a moment to convey something more important, even though you will likely speak about something from your own perspective.
  • Put forth the effort to allow the reader to feel the situation or emotion you are attempting to explain.
  • Don't preach; demonstrate. Instead of just reporting what happened, use description appropriately to paint a clear picture of the event or sensation.
  • Plan the wording and structure of your reflective essay around a central emotion or subject, such as joy, pleasure, fear, or grief.
  • Avoid adding dull elements that can lessen the effect of your work. Why include it if it won't enhance the emotion or understanding you wish to convey?
  • There must be a constant sense of progression. Consider whether the event has transformed you or others around you.
  • Remember to double-check your grammar, syntax, and spelling.

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Reflective Essay Topic Ideas

As a reflective essay should be about your own views and experiences, you generally can't use someone else's ideas. But to help you get started, here are some suggestions for writing topics:

  • An experience you will never forget.
  • The moment you overcame a fear.
  • The most difficult choice you had to make.
  • A time your beliefs were challenged.
  • A time something changed your life.
  • The happiest or most frightening moment of your life so far.
  • Ways you think you or people can make the world a better place.
  • A time you felt lost.
  • An introspective look at your choices or a time you made the wrong choice.
  • A moment in your life you would like to relive.

You may find it convenient to create a chart or table to keep track of your ideas. Split your chart into three parts:

Reflective Essay Topic Ideas

  • In the first column, write key experiences or your main points. You can arrange them from most important to least important.
  • In the second column, list your response to the points you stated in the first column.
  • In the third column, write what, from your response, you would like to share in the essay.

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Reflective Essay Sample

Referring to reflective essay examples can help you a lot. A reflective essay sample can provide you with useful insight into how your essay should look like. You can also buy an essay online if you need one customized to your specific requirements.

How to Conclude a Reflective Essay

As we come to an end, it's only logical to reflect on the main points discussed above in the article. By now, you should clearly understand what is a reflective essay and that the key to writing a reflective essay is demonstrating what lessons you have taken away from your experiences and why and how these lessons have shaped you. It should also have a clear reflective essay format, with an opening, development of ideas, and resolution.

Now that you have the tools to create a thorough and accurate reflective paper, you might want to hand over other tasks like writing definition essay examples to our experienced writers. In this case, feel free to buy an essay online on our platform and reflect on your past events without worrying about future assignments!

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How to Write a Reflection Paper

Last Updated: July 8, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Alicia Cook . Alicia Cook is a Professional Writer based in Newark, New Jersey. With over 12 years of experience, Alicia specializes in poetry and uses her platform to advocate for families affected by addiction and to fight for breaking the stigma against addiction and mental illness. She holds a BA in English and Journalism from Georgian Court University and an MBA from Saint Peter’s University. Alicia is a bestselling poet with Andrews McMeel Publishing and her work has been featured in numerous media outlets including the NY Post, CNN, USA Today, the HuffPost, the LA Times, American Songwriter Magazine, and Bustle. She was named by Teen Vogue as one of the 10 social media poets to know and her poetry mixtape, “Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately” was a finalist in the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 3,780,114 times.

Reflection papers allow you to communicate with your instructor about how a specific article, lesson, lecture, or experience shapes your understanding of class-related material. Reflection papers are personal and subjective [1] X Research source , but they must still maintain a somewhat academic tone and must still be thoroughly and cohesively organized. Here's what you need to know about writing an effective reflection.

Things You Should Know

  • Write an introduction that outlines the expectations you had and provide a thesis statement in the last sentence.
  • State your conclusions in the body paragraphs of the paper. Explain how you arrived at your conclusions using logic and concrete details.
  • Conclude the paper with a concise summary of your overall experience.

Sample Outline and Paper

essay reflection about


Step 1 Identify the main themes.

  • These sentences should be both descriptive yet straight to the point.

Step 2 Jot down material that stands out in your mind.

  • For lectures or readings, you can write down specific quotations or summarize passages.
  • For experiences, make a note of specific portions of your experience. You could even write a small summary or story of an event that happened during the experience that stands out. Images, sounds, or other sensory portions of your experience work, as well.

Alicia Cook

  • In the first column, list the main points or key experiences. These points can include anything that the author or speaker treated with importance as well as any specific details you found to be important. Divide each point into its own separate row.
  • In the second column, list your personal response to the points you brought up in the first column. Mention how your subjective values, experiences, and beliefs influence your response.
  • In the third and last column, describe how much of your personal response to share in your reflection paper.

Step 4 Ask yourself questions to guide your response.

  • Does the reading, lecture, or experience challenge you socially, culturally, emotionally, or theologically? If so, where and how? Why does it bother you or catch your attention?
  • Has the reading, lecture, or experience changed your way of thinking? Did it conflict with beliefs you held previously, and what evidence did it provide you with in order to change your thought process on the topic?
  • Does the reading, lecture, or experience leave you with any questions? Were these questions ones you had previously or ones you developed only after finishing?
  • Did the author, speaker, or those involved in the experience fail to address any important issues? Could a certain fact or idea have dramatically changed the impact or conclusion of the reading, lecture, or experience?
  • How do the issues or ideas brought up in this reading, lecture, or experience mesh with past experiences or readings? Do the ideas contradict or support each other?

Organizing a Reflection Paper

Step 1 Keep it short and sweet.

  • Verify whether or not your instructor specified a word count for the paper instead of merely following this average.
  • If your instructor demands a word count outside of this range, meet your instructor's requirements.

Step 2 Introduce your expectations.

  • For a reading or lecture, indicate what you expected based on the title, abstract, or introduction.
  • For an experience, indicate what you expected based on prior knowledge provided by similar experiences or information from others.

Step 3 Develop a thesis statement.

  • This is essentially a brief explanation of whether or not your expectations were met.
  • A thesis provides focus and cohesion for your reflection paper.
  • You could structure a reflection thesis along the following lines: “From this reading/experience, I learned...”

Step 4 Explain your conclusions in the body.

  • Your conclusions must be explained. You should provide details on how you arrived at those conclusions using logic and concrete details.
  • The focus of the paper is not a summary of the text, but you still need to draw concrete, specific details from the text or experience in order to provide context for your conclusions.
  • Write a separate paragraph for each conclusion or idea you developed.
  • Each paragraph should have its own topic sentence. This topic sentence should clearly identify your major points, conclusions, or understandings.

Step 5 Conclude with a summary.

  • The conclusions or understandings explained in your body paragraphs should support your overall conclusion. One or two may conflict, but the majority should support your final conclusion.

As You Write

Step 1 Reveal information wisely.

  • If you feel uncomfortable about a personal issue that affects the conclusions you reached, it is wisest not to include personal details about it.
  • If a certain issue is unavoidable but you feel uncomfortable revealing your personal experiences or feelings regarding it, write about the issue in more general terms. Identify the issue itself and indicate concerns you have professionally or academically.

Step 2 Maintain a professional or academic tone.

  • Avoid dragging someone else down in your writing. If a particular person made the experience you are reflecting on difficult, unpleasant, or uncomfortable, you must still maintain a level of detachment as you describe that person's influence. Instead of stating something like, “Bob was such a rude jerk,” say something more along the lines of, “One man was abrupt and spoke harshly, making me feel as though I was not welcome there.” Describe the actions, not the person, and frame those actions within the context of how they influenced your conclusions.
  • A reflection paper is one of the few pieces of academic writing in which you can get away with using the first person pronoun “I.” That said, you should still relate your subjective feelings and opinions using specific evidence to explain them. [8] X Research source
  • Avoid slang and always use correct spelling and grammar. Internet abbreviations like “LOL” or “OMG” are fine to use personally among friends and family, but this is still an academic paper, so you need to treat it with the grammatical respect it deserves. Do not treat it as a personal journal entry.
  • Check and double-check your spelling and grammar after you finish your paper.

Step 3 Review your reflection paper at the sentence level.

  • Keep your sentences focused. Avoid squeezing multiple ideas into one sentence.
  • Avoid sentence fragments. Make sure that each sentence has a subject and a verb.
  • Vary your sentence length. Include both simple sentences with a single subject and verb and complex sentences with multiple clauses. Doing so makes your paper sound more conversational and natural, and prevents the writing from becoming too wooden. [9] X Research source

Step 4 Use transitions.

  • Common transitional phrases include "for example," "for instance," "as a result," "an opposite view is," and "a different perspective is."

Step 5 Relate relevant classroom information to the experience or reading.

  • For instance, if reflecting on a piece of literary criticism, you could mention how your beliefs and ideas about the literary theory addressed in the article relate to what your instructor taught you about it or how it applies to prose and poetry read in class.
  • As another example, if reflecting on a new social experience for a sociology class, you could relate that experience to specific ideas or social patterns discussed in class.

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About This Article

Alicia Cook

To write a reflection paper, start with an introduction where you state any expectations you had for the reading, lesson, or experience you're reflecting on. At the end of your intro, include a thesis statement that explains how your views have changed. In the body of your essay, explain the conclusions you reached after the reading, lesson, or experience and discuss how you arrived at them. Finally, finish your paper with a succinct conclusion that explains what you've learned. To learn how to brainstorm for your paper, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Table of Contents

Collaboration, information literacy, writing process, reflection essay.

  • CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 by Kristen Gay

At first glance, academic and reflection can sound like contradictory concepts. Writing an academic reflection essay often involves striking a balance between a traditional, academic paper and a reflective essay. In order to find this balance, consider the terms that encompass the title of the assignment

The term “academic” suggests that the writer will be expected to observe conventions for academic writing, such as using a professional tone and crafting a thesis statement. On the other hand, the term “reflection” implies that the writer should critically reflect on their work, project, or writing process, depending on the assignment, and draw conclusions based on these observations.

In general, an academic reflection essay is a combination of these two ideas: writers should observe conventions for academic writing while critically reflecting on their experience or project. Note that the term “critically” suggests that the writing should not merely tell the reader what happened, what you did, or what you learned. Critical reflection takes the writing one step further and entails making an evaluative claim about the experience or project under discussion. Beyond telling readers what happened, critical reflection tends to discuss why it matters and how it contributed to the effectiveness of the project.

Striking the proper balance between critical reflection and academic essay is always determined by the demands of the particular writing situation, so writers should first consider their purpose for writing, their audience, and the project guidelines. While the subject matter of academic reflections is not always “academic,” the writer will usually still be expected to adapt their arguments and points to academic conventions for thesis statements, evidence, organization, style, and formatting.

Several strategies for crafting an academic reflection essay are outlined below based on three important areas: focus, evidence, and organization.

A thesis statement for an academic reflection essay is often an evaluative claim about your experiences with a process or assignment. Several strategies to consider for a thesis statement in an academic reflection essay include:

  • Being Critical: It is important to ensure that the evaluative claim does not simply state the obvious, such as that you completed the assignment, or that you did or did not like it. Instead, make a critical claim about whether or not the project was effective in fulfilling its purpose, or whether the project raised new questions for you to consider and somehow changed your perspective on your topic.
  • Placement: For some academic reflection essays, the thesis may not come in the introduction but at the end of the paper, once the writer has fully explained their experiences with the project. Think about where the placement of your thesis will be most effective based on your ideas and how your claim relates to them.

Consider the following example of a thesis statement in an academic reflection essay:

By changing my medium from a picture to a pop song, my message that domestic violence disproportionately affects women was more effectively communicated to an audience of my classmates because they found the message to be more memorable when it was accompanied by music.

This thesis makes a critical evaluative claim (that the change of medium was effective) about the project, and is thus a strong thesis for an academic reflection paper.

Evidence for academic reflection essays may include outside sources, but writers are also asked to support their claims by including observations from their own experience. Writers might effectively support their claims by considering the following strategies:

  • Incorporating examples: What examples might help support the claims that you make? How might you expand on your points using these examples, and how might you develop this evidence in relation to your thesis?
  • Personal anecdotes or observations: How might you choose relevant personal anecdotes/observations to illustrate your points and support your thesis?
  • Logical explanations: How might you explain the logic behind a specific point you are making in order to make it more credible to readers?

Consider the following example for incorporating evidence in an academic reflection essay:

Claim: Changing the medium for my project from a picture to a pop song appealed to my audience of fellow classmates.

Evidence: When I performed my pop song remediation for my classmates, they paid attention to me and said that the message, once transformed into song lyrics, was very catchy and memorable. By the end of the presentation, some of them were even singing along.

In this example, the claim (that the change of medium was effective in appealing to the new audience of fellow classmates) is supported because the writer reveals their observation of the audience’s reaction. (For more about using examples and anecdotes as examples, see “Nontraditional Types of Evidence.”)


For academic reflection essays, the organizational structure may differ from traditional academic or narrative essays because you are reflecting on your own experiences or observations. Consider the following organizational structures for academic reflection essays:

  • Chronological Progression: The progression of points will reflect the order of events/insights as they occurred temporally in the project.

Sample Chronological Organization for a Remediation Reflection:

Paragraph 1: Beginning of the project

Paragraph 2: Progression of the remediation process

Paragraph 3: Progression of the remediation process

Paragraph 4: Progression of the remediation process

Paragraph 5: Progression of the remediation process

Paragraph 6: Conclusion—Was the project effective. How and why? How did the process end?

  • By Main Idea/Theme: The progression of points will centralize on main ideas or themes of the project.

Sample Organization By Main Idea/Theme for a Remediation Reflection:

Paragraph 1: Introduction

Paragraph 2: Discuss the message being translated

Paragraph 3: Discuss the change of medium

Paragraph 4: Discuss the change of audience

Paragraph 5: Was the change effective? Explain.

Paragraph 6: Conclusion

Remember that while these strategies are intended to help you approach an academic reflection paper with confidence, they are not meant to be prescriptive. Academic reflection essays are often unique to the writer because they ask the writer to consider their observations or reactions to an experience or project. You have distinctive ideas and observations to discuss, so it is likely that your paper will reflect this distinctiveness. With this in mind, consider how to most effectively compose your paper based on your specific project guidelines, instructor suggestions, and your experiences with the project.

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Reflective essays

Reflective essays are academic essays; what makes an essay "good" will work for a reflective essay. What is different about a reflective essay is that the essay is about you and your thinking. However, you will need evidence from your course to back up your reflections.

You should structure a reflective essay as an essay, that is write to persuade your reader of your key reflections (or argument). The diagram above, details how to stucture your reflections through the essay. To find out more see the section on essay writing .

Business example

The following example comes from business. Thanks to Dr Colleen Hayes for the three samples.

Students were asked to write a reflective essay on their learning in the course by responding to the following question:

What key thing have you learned about corporate social responsibility in the course?

Example 1: Retelling

This writing is (1) descriptive/listing of content, not reflective and (2) not properly referenced (the definition of stakeholders is directly copied from Freeman in the lecture slides.

Example 2: Relating

This writing involves relating to personal experience and has some integration of course concepts (stakeholders).

Example 3: Reflecting

More reflective (forward-looking), better citation and integration of multiple course concepts, and reflection that links with personal experience.

An anthropology marking rubric

For this assessment, students were required to write a 1500-1800 word essay building on the themes of the course to address the question "We are all pirates". Attached under reference documents is the rubric used to mark the essay (thanks to Dr Caroline Schuster). Notice that it requires both the reflection (reflect, relate and retell) as well as the poor traditional requirements of an essay (Writing and organisation, Supporting claims with scholarly sources).

Reflective writing

Learning journals

Reference Documents

  • Sample rubric from Anthropology (PDF, 243.24 KB)

Use contact details to request an alternative file format.

  • ANU Library Academic Skills
  • +61 2 6125 2972

Apr 16, 2023

How to Write a Reflection Essay | Outlines and Examples

Do you ever struggle to put your thoughts into words? If you've ever felt stumped by a reflective essay assignment, you're not alone. In this article, we'll explore some strategies for writing effective reflection essays that will help you communicate your ideas clearly and powerfully!

Reflective Essays take a look at a piece of writing or an experience in your life and write down how you feel about it. This strategy not only reveals fascinating insights about your perspective and personality, but it also makes for entertaining reading. Examining some model papers is a great way to hone your skills in outlining introspective essays.

What Is a Reflective Essay?

Reflection isn't something that comes naturally to everyone. Whether one is contemplating one's own life experiences or a piece of literature, it can be challenging to put one's thoughts into words and express them adequately. Because of this, utilising this ability effectively when writing is necessary. The more time you devote to contemplating and learning about a topic, the more straightforward and understandable it will become. This situation is more complex than it initially appears to be.

What is the Purpose of Reflective Writing?

Reflective writing is another way to convey both your growth and the feelings you've experienced. You can discover a lot about yourself and how you function by conducting an in-depth investigation of your interior workings. It is interesting to watch how they mature and change over time. The initial move is always the one that presents the greatest challenge. Because of this, developing a strategy for your reflective essay is a fantastic way to kick off the writing process.

How to Create a Reflective Essay Outline?

The first part of an essay, known as the introduction, is generally composed of three parts. On the other hand, as was stated earlier, a conventional formula might experience significant shifts when written down in this manner.


The introduction needs to be so captivating to the reader that they feel compelled to keep going with the story. To achieve this, writers will often include ambiguities, sarcastic circumstances, and tense situations in their works. An outline can be used for any kind of essay, but it is especially helpful for introspective writing because it organizes your thoughts and makes it easier to read. The abstract, just like the remainder of the essay, should be broken up into three main sections that are presented in the same order as the rest of the essay. On the other hand, as was stated earlier, a conventional formula might experience significant shifts when written down in this manner.

An engaging and interesting opening statement will pique the interest of the audience and encourage them to continue reading. To achieve this, authors will often include ambiguities, irony, and conflict within their works. The expression "my first bachelor celebration" is a good example of this concept in action.

Reflection Essay Example:

This past weekend I attended my first college frat party thanks to some friends who invited me.

That one phrase perfectly exemplifies an attention-grabbing opening to a reflective essay. In just one phrase, you've hooked the reader and set the stage for what you'll be discussing. Your essay's opening should always provide a teaser for the more in-depth explanation that follows in the essay's body.

The conclusion of your reflective essay, which you'll write based on the most significant event, should be the last line of the introduction. This sentence effectively summarises the changes brought about by the catalytic event and their importance in the grand scheme of things. 

Body Paragraphs

The body of an introspective essay needs to expand on the topic presented in the essay's thesis. Students' first challenge in writing such essays is expressing their thoughts uninhibitedly. It's simple to get sidetracked and leap from one thought to the next. This leads us to a useful piece of advice: be consistent with the story arc you've established. If possible, create a distinct outline for the paragraphs in the main body.

You're free to include as many or as few body lines as you like. The text may have a one-sentence introduction and a secret closing, for instance, but the body will always be the largest section. Put your viewpoint on display as much as possible in the middle section. Put forth justifications to back up your claim or corroborating details to back up your statements. Examples, facts, occurrences of public life, events, real-life circumstances and experiences, scientific proof, references to scholars and scientists, etc., can all serve as argumentative points.

If you don't want to appear uncertain of your views, avoid giving too many examples. A personal reflective essay only needs one piece of proof. For reflective essays, interacting aspects of literary analysis, or speculative writing about a variety of phenomena, two examples will suffice. Overloading a free reflective essay with more than three examples of the facts to be discussed will be apparent.

For Example:

My weekend at a house party made it clear that the vast majority of my fellow college students have no tolerance for alcohol.

An effective introduction to a body paragraph is provided above. Your paragraph's subject sentence should tell the reader exactly what the paragraph is going to be about. The first line of each paragraph in the body of your writing should do what the introductory paragraph did: make the reader want to keep reading. Body paragraphs are where you can bring the essay to life with specific descriptions and examples.

In other terms, immerse the reader by providing relatable examples of circumstances and describing minor details with great care. A reader's excitement and interest will increase in proportion to the originality and literary charm of each phrase.

An independent closing paragraph is optional in reflective essays. If you choose an essay format that calls for a conclusion with supporting notes, keep it brief. The end must not be overly formal, however. The paragraphs in the body of the essay need to be supervised naturally by this section.

If you look for a model reflective essay online, you will most likely find one that has a complete, detailed conclusion. You could, of course, use them as models for your essays. However, if you want your viewers to be impressed and reflect deeper on your work, you shouldn't spoon-feed them your observations. Get your readers to ignore the surface-level explanations and focus on the meat of the text where your ideas and feelings are revealed.

As I reflect on my time spent at a college party, I realize that I can no longer advocate for the consumption of alcoholic beverages by minors.

As you probably know by now, the end of your essay is where you restate your thesis and discuss its significance. Then, using the details from the body paragraph, you should draw a conclusion in which you quickly restate how this experience changed you physically and/or mentally. Conclude by giving the reader your concluding thoughts on the subject.

What is the Format of a Reflective Essay?

There is a unique structure for reflective writing. In this form of writing, the author employs a specific style, such as the Modern Language Association (MLA) or the American Psychological Association (APA).

There are a few things to keep in mind when writing in APA style:

Use Time New Roman Font 

Double-space your work and use a font height of 12 points.

The page number appears in the upper right-hand area.

The major sections of an essay are the introduction, the body, and the bibliography or list of sources.

Equally to APA, there are a few things to keep in mind when using MLA format:

Use Time New Roman Font

Select 12 as a font size

Make sure to center all of your essay's names.

Include your name, the course number, the instructor's name, and the date in the header of your work.

On the last page of the essay, include the cited work.

Some Tips on Writing the Reflective Essay

The essay's structure serves as the paper's framework. You can't write a winning essay without first crafting a plan. If you have to write a reflective essay, here are some tips to follow.

References should be listed on the final page of the writing.

In the essay, try to avoid using the same phrase multiple times.

Give your take on the topic in the writing.

Verify that you have explained everything that was previously unclear.

Connect your parts with appropriate transitional language.

Make sure your plan covers everything important.

Avoid using difficult language and provide an argument to support your position.

Learn to identify your best qualities and highlight them in the writing.

Before sending or publishing the essay, make sure it has been thoroughly proofread.

Writing a reflective essay can be challenging, but you can make your way through the process with the help of a good plan. Some pupils simply don't have enough time to complete all of the required essay writing assignments. They lack the time necessary to offer essay writing their full attention.

3 Reflective Essay Examples

Impact of social media on students

Social media has become an integral part of our lives in recent years. With the advent of smartphones and the internet, social media platforms have become more accessible to everyone, including students. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, and others have had a profound impact on the way students interact with each other, access information, and learn.

Social media has created a platform for students to interact with their peers, teachers, and other individuals from different parts of the world. Social media platforms provide students with the opportunity to express their thoughts, share their experiences, and discuss topics that interest them. Through social media, students can participate in discussions, exchange ideas, and learn from others.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Media on Students’ Life

One of the primary benefits of social media is its ability to provide students with access to information. Social media platforms have become a significant source of news, information, and educational resources for students. Students can learn about various topics, including history, science, literature, and more, from different social media platforms. For instance, Twitter provides students with the latest news on various topics, while Facebook and LinkedIn provide them with access to professional networks and job opportunities.

However, the impact of social media on students is not all positive. Social media has become a distraction for students, and many students spend more time on social media than they do studying. Social media platforms are designed to be addictive, and many students find themselves spending hours scrolling through their feeds and interacting with their peers. As a result, many students experience a decline in their academic performance and find it difficult to focus on their studies.

Moreover, social media has also had a significant impact on the mental health of students. Social media platforms can be a breeding ground for cyberbullying and online harassment, which can have a profound impact on a student's mental health. Additionally, social media platforms have been linked to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues in students. Many students feel pressured to present a perfect image of themselves on social media, which can lead to low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy.

Furthermore, social media has also affected the way students interact with each other. Many students now prefer to communicate through social media rather than in person, which can lead to a lack of social skills and interpersonal communication skills. This can make it challenging for students to form meaningful relationships and communicate effectively in the workplace and other settings.

In conclusion, social media has had a significant impact on students, both positive and negative. While social media provides students with access to information and a platform to express themselves, it has also become a significant distraction and can hurt their mental health and social skills. Therefore, students need to use social media responsibly and balance their time between social media and other activities. Additionally, educators and parents can play a significant role in guiding students on how to use social media effectively and responsibly.

Taking a Hike Through Forest


Nature is a therapeutic and rejuvenating element in our lives. Walking through a forest is an excellent way to connect with nature, relieve stress, and experience a sense of calmness. A hike through the forest provides a sense of freedom, and the tranquillity of the trees helps to reconnect with oneself. In this essay, I will reflect on my experience of taking a hike through a forest.

I woke up early one morning, feeling the need to get out of the city and spend some time in nature. I packed my bag with essentials and set off on a drive to a nearby forest. Upon arriving, I took a deep breath and took in the fresh air, which filled my lungs with a sense of peace.

The path was lined with tall trees, and the forest floor was soft and covered with leaves. As I walked, I could hear the rustling of leaves and the chirping of birds. The serenity of the forest made me forget about the outside world and its pressures.

I kept walking deeper into the forest, and soon enough, I came across a stream. The sound of the water flowing over the rocks was soothing, and I sat down by the bank to take it all in. The quietness of the forest made me feel like I was in a different world altogether, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

As I continued my hike, I came across a clearing, and there, I saw a herd of deer grazing. I stood there, frozen, watching the beauty of nature unfold in front of my eyes. It was a moment of pure bliss, and I felt grateful for the opportunity to witness it.

I reached a hilltop, and from there, I could see the entire forest. The view was breathtaking, and it made me realize how small we are in the grand scheme of things. It also made me appreciate the beauty of the earth and the environment around us.


Taking a hike through the forest was a humbling and rejuvenating experience for me. The calmness of the trees, the sound of the water, and the sight of the animals made me feel connected to nature. It reminded me that we are all a part of this beautiful planet and that it's our responsibility to take care of it. The forest gave me the space to reflect and connect with myself, and it was a reminder that sometimes, the best therapy is found in nature.

The role of Friendship in my Life

Friendship is one of the most essential aspects of human life. It is an integral part of our social fabric, as it provides a sense of belonging, support, and joy. Friendship is not just about having someone to talk to or hang out with; it is about having a deep and meaningful connection with someone who accepts and loves us for who we are. In my life, friendship has played a crucial role in shaping my personality and helping me navigate through different phases of life. This essay aims to explore the role of friendship in my life, its significance, and how it has impacted me.

The significance of friendship:

Friendship is essential for our well-being and mental health. It is a bond that helps us feel connected and loved , even in the most challenging times. A good friend can help us navigate through difficult situations, offer us a fresh perspective on our problems, and provide us with emotional support. Friends also provide us with a sense of belonging, a feeling that we are part of something greater than ourselves. The sense of community and companionship that comes with friendship can help us develop a positive outlook toward life and a strong sense of self-esteem.

Friendship in my life:

In my life, friendship has played a vital role in shaping my personality and helping me grow as an individual. Growing up, I was a shy and introverted child who struggled to make friends. However, I was fortunate enough to find a group of friends who accepted me for who I was and helped me come out of my shell. They encouraged me to pursue my passions and interests and supported me through the ups and downs of life.

As I grew older, I realized the true value of friendship. I have made many friends over the years, and each one of them has played a unique role in my life. Some have been there for me through thick and thin, while others have helped me discover new interests and passions. Some have challenged me to step out of my comfort zone, while others have offered me a shoulder to cry on. Regardless of the role they played, all my friends have helped me grow as a person and provided me with a sense of belonging.

Impact of friendship on my life:

The impact of friendship on my life has been profound. My friends have helped me develop a positive outlook toward life and have taught me to appreciate the little things. They have taught me to be more empathetic, kind, and compassionate toward others, and have helped me develop a strong sense of self-worth. They have been a source of strength and inspiration, and have helped me navigate through difficult times.

In conclusion, friendship is an essential aspect of human life. It provides us with a sense of belonging, support, and joy, and helps us grow as individuals. In my life, friendship has played a vital role in shaping my personality and helping me navigate through different phases of life. My friends have been there for me through thick and thin, and have taught me valuable life lessons. I am grateful for their presence in my life, and I believe that everyone should have a good friend or a group of friends who accept and love them for who they are.

Final Words

In conclusion, writing a reflection essay is a powerful tool for gaining self-awareness and insight into our experiences. By following a few simple steps, such as choosing a meaningful experience to reflect on, asking yourself critical questions, and structuring your thoughts into a clear and organized essay, you can effectively convey your thoughts and emotions to your reader. Essay topics like composing a reflective essay are a great opportunity to delve deeper into your own thoughts and feelings, and to connect with your readers on a deeper level.

However, we understand that the process of writing can sometimes be challenging, and that's where comes in. Our AI-powered software can help you streamline the writing process, with features such as autocomplete and citation assistance that make it easier to create high-quality content efficiently.

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How to Write a Reflective Essay?

07 August, 2020

17 minutes read

Author:  Elizabeth Brown

A reflective essay is a personal perspective on an issue or topic. This article will look at how to write an excellent reflexive account of your experience, provide you with reflexive essay framework to help you plan and organize your essay and give you a good grounding of what good reflective writing looks like.

Reflective Essay

What is a Reflective Essay?

A reflective essay requires the writer to examine his experiences and explore how these experiences have helped him develop and shaped him as a person.  It is essentially an analysis of your own experience focusing on what you’ve learned.

Don’t confuse reflexive analysis with the rhetorical one. If you need assistance figuring out how to write a rhetorical analysis , give our guide a read!

Based on the reflective essay definition, this paper will follow a logical and thought-through plan . It will be a discussion that centers around a topic or issue. The essay should strive to achieve a balance between description and personal feelings.

It requires a clear line of thought, evidence, and examples to help you discuss your reflections. Moreover, a proper paper requires an analytical approach . There are three main types of a reflective essay: theory-based, a case study or an essay based on one’s personal experience.

How to choose reflective essay topics

Unlike most academic forms of writing, this writing is based on personal experiences and thoughts. As such, first-person writing position where the writer can refer to his own thoughts and feelings is essential. If the writer talks about psychology or medicine, it is best to use the first-person reference as little as possible to keep the tone objective and science-backed.

To write this paper, you need to recollect and share personal experience . However, there is still a chance that you’ll be asked to talk about a more complex topic.

By the way, if you are looking for good ideas on how to choose a good argumentative essay topic , check out our latest guide to help you out!

The Criteria for a Good Reflective Essay

The convention of an academic reflective essay writing will vary slightly depending on your area of study. A good reflective essay will be written geared towards its intended audience. These are the general criteria that form the core of a well-written piece:

  • A developed perspective and line of reasoning on the subject.
  • A well-informed discussion that is based on literature and sources relevant to your reflection.
  • An understanding of the complex nuance of situations and the tributary effects that prevent them from being simple and clear-cut.
  • Ability to stand back and analyze your own decision-making process to see if there is a better solution to the problem.
  • A clear understanding of h ow the experience has influenced you.
  • A good understanding of the principles and theories of your subject area.
  • Ability to frame a problem before implementing a solution.

These seven criteria form the principles of writing an excellent reflective essay.

Still need help with your essay? Handmade Writing is here to assist you!

What is the Purpose of Writing a Reflective Essay?

The purpose of a reflective essay is for a writer to reflect upon experience and learn from it . Reflection is a useful process that helps you make sense of things and gain valuable lessons from your experience. Reflective essay writing allows you to demonstrate that you can think critically about your own skills or practice strategies implementations to learn and improve without outside guidance.

Another purpose is to analyze the event or topic you are describing and emphasize how you’ll apply what you’ve learned.

How to Create a Reflective Essay Outline

  • Analyze the task you’ve received
  • Read through and understand the marking criteria
  • Keep a reflective journal during the experience
  • Use a reflective framework (Schon, Driscoll, Gibbs, and Kolb) to help you analyze the experience
  • Create a referencing system to keep institutions and people anonymous to avoid breaking their confidentiality
  • Set the scene by using the five W’s (What, Where, When, Who and Why) to describe it
  • Choose the events or the experiences you’re going to reflect on
  • Identify the issues of the event or experience you want to focus on
  • Use literature and documents to help you discuss these issues in a wider context
  • Reflect on how these issues changed your position regarding the issue
  • Compare and contrast theory with practice
  • Identify and discuss your learning needs both professionally and personally

Don’t forget to adjust the formatting of your essay. There are four main format styles of any academic piece. Discover all of them from our essay format guide!

Related Posts: Essay outline | Essay format Guide

Using Reflective Frameworks

Reflective writing frameworks

A good way to develop a reflective essay plan is by using a framework that exists. A framework will let help you break the experience down logical and make the answer easier to organize. Popular frameworks include: Schon’s (1983) Reflection in action and reflection on action .

Schon wrote ‘The Reflective Practitioner’ in 1983 in which he describes reflection-in-action and reflection-on-action as tools for learning how to meet challenges that do not conform to formulas learned in school through improvisation.  He mentioned two types of reflection : one during and one after. By being aware of these processes while on a work-experience trail or clinical assignment you have to write a reflective account for, you get to understand the process better. So good questions to ask in a reflective journal could be:

<td “200”>Reflection-pre-action <td “200”>Reflection-in-action <td “200”>Reflection-on-Action<td “200”>What might happen? <td “200”>What is happening in the situation? <td “200”>What were your insights after?<td “200”>What possible challenges will you face? <td “200”>Is it working out as you expected? <td “200”>How did it go in retrospect?<td “200”>How will you prepare for the situation? <td “200”>What are the challenges you are dealing with? <td “200”>What did you value and why?<td “200”>  <td “200”>What can you do to make the experience a successful one? <td “200”>What would you do differently before or during a similar situation?<td “200”>  <td “200”>What are you learning? <td “200”>What have you learned?

This will give you a good frame for your paper and help you analyze your experience.

Kolb’s (1984) Learning Cycle

Kolb’s reflective framework works in four stages:

  • Concrete experience. This is an event or experience
  • Reflective observation. This is reflecting upon the experience. What you did and why.
  • Abstract conceptualization. This is the process of drawing conclusions from the experience. Did it confirm a theory or falsify something? And if so, what can you conclude from that?
  • Active experimentation. Planning and trying out the thing you have learned from this interaction.

Gibb’s (1988) Reflection Cycle

Gibbs model is an extension of Kolb’s. Gibb’s reflection cycle is a popular model used in reflective writing. There are six stages in the cycle.

  • Description. What happened? Describe the experience you are reflecting on and who is involved.
  • Feelings. What were you thinking and feeling at the time? What were your thoughts and feelings afterward?
  • Evaluation. What was good and bad about the experience? How did you react to the situation? How did other people react? Was the situation resolved? Why and how was it resolved or why wasn’t it resolved? Could the resolution have been better?
  • Analysis. What sense can you make of the situation? What helped or hindered during the event? How does this compare to the literature on the subject?
  • Conclusion. What else could you have done? What have you learned from the experience? Could you have responded differently? How would improve or repeat success? How can you avoid failure?
  • Action plan. If it arose again what would you do? How can you better prepare yourself for next time?

Driscoll’s Method (1994) and Rolfe et al (2001) Reflexive Learning

The Driscoll Method break the process down into three questions. What (Description), So What (Analysis) and Now What (Proposed action). Rolf et al 2001 extended the model further by giving more in-depth and reflexive questions.

  • What is the problem/ difficulty/reason for being stuck/reason for feeling bad?
  • What was my role in the situation?
  • What was I trying to achieve?
  • What actions did I take?
  • What was the response of others?
  • What were the consequences for the patient / for myself / for others?
  • What feeling did it evoke in the patient / in myself / in others?
  • What was good and bad about the experience?
  • So, what were your feelings at the time?
  • So, what are your feelings now? Are there any differences? Why?
  • So, what were the effects of what you did or did not do?
  • So, what good emerged from the situation for yourself and others? Does anything trouble you about the experience or event?
  • So, what were your experiences like in comparison to colleagues, patients, visitors, and others?
  • So, what are the main reasons for feeling differently from your colleagues?
  • Now, what are the implications for you, your colleagues and the patients?
  • Now, what needs to happen to alter the situation?
  • Now, what are you going to do about the situation?
  • Now, what happens if you decide not to alter anything?
  • Now, what will you do differently if faced with a similar situation?
  • Now, what information would you need to deal with the situation again?
  • Now, what methods would you use to go about getting that information?

This model is mostly used for clinical experiences in degrees related to medicine such as nursing or genetic counseling. It helps to get students comfortable thinking over each experience and adapting to situations.

This is just a selection of basic models of this type of writing. And there are more in-depth models out there if you’re writing a very advanced reflective essay. These models are good for beginner level essays. Each model has its strengths and weaknesses. So, it is best to use one that allows you to answer the set question fully.

This written piece can follow many different structures depending on the subject area . So, check your assignment to make sure you don’t have a specifically assigned structural breakdown. For example, an essay that follows Gibbs plan directly with six labeled paragraphs is typical in nursing assignments. A more typical piece will follow a standard structure of an introduction, main body, and conclusion. Now, let’s look into details on how to craft each of these essay parts.

How to Write an Introduction?

There are several good ways to start a reflective essay . Remember that an introduction to a reflective essay differs depending on upon what kind of reflection is involved. A science-based introduction should be brief and direct introducing the issue you plan on discussing and its context.

Related post: How to write an Essay Introduction

For example, a nursing student might want to discuss the overreliance on medical journals in the industry and why peer-reviewed journals led to mistaken information. In this case, one good way how to start a reflective essay introduction is by introducing a thesis statement. Help the reader see the real value of your work.

Do you need help with your thesis statement? Take a look at our recent guide explaining what is a thesis statement .

Let’s look at some reflective essay examples.

‘During my first month working at Hospital X, I became aware just how many doctors treated peer-views journal articles as a gospel act. This is a dangerous practice that because of (a), (b) and (c) could impact patients negatively.’

The reflective essay on English class would begin differently. In fact, it should be more personal and sound less bookish .

How to Write the Main Body Paragraphs?

The main body of the essay should focus on specific examples of the issue in question. A short description should be used for the opener. Each paragraph of this piece should begin with an argument supporting the thesis statement.

The most part of each paragraph should be a reflexive analysis of the situation and evaluation . Each paragraph should end with a concluding sentence that caps the argument. In a science-based essay, it is important to use theories, other studies from journals and source-based material to argue and support your position in an objective manner.

How to Write the Conclusion?

A conclusion should provide a summary of the issues explored, remind the reader of the purpose of the essay and suggest an appropriate course of action in relation to the needs identified in the body of the essay.

This is mostly an action plan for the future. However, if appropriate a writer can call readers to action or ask questions. Make sure that the conclusion is powerful enough for readers to remember it. In most cases, an introduction and a conclusion is the only thing your audience will remember.

Reflective Essay Topics

Here are some good topics for a reflective essay. We’ve decided to categorize them to help you find good titles for reflective essays that fit your requirement.

Medicine-related topics:

  • Write a reflective essay on leadership in nursing
  • How did a disease of your loved ones (or your own) change you?
  • Write a reflection essay on infection control
  • How dealing with peer-reviewed journals interrupts medical procedures?
  • Write a reflection essay about community service
  • Write a reflective essay on leadership and management in nursing

Topics on teamwork:

  • Write a reflective essay on the group presentation
  • What makes you a good team player and what stays in the way of improvement?
  • Write a reflective essay on the presentation
  • Write about the last lesson you learned from working in a team
  • A reflective essay on career development: How teamwork can help you succeed in your career?

Topics on personal experiences:

  • Write a reflective essay on the pursuit of happiness: what it means to you and how you’re pursuing it?
  • Write a reflective essay on human sexuality: it is overrated today? And are you a victim of stereotypes in this area?
  • Write a reflective essay on growing up
  • Reflective essay on death: How did losing a loved one change your world?
  • Write a reflective essay about a choice you regret
  • Write a reflective essay on the counseling session

Academic topics:

  • A reflective essay on the writing process: How does writing help you process your emotions and learn from experiences?
  • Write a reflective essay on language learning: How learning a new language changes your worldview
  • A reflective essay about a choice I regret
Related Posts: Research Paper topics | Compare&Contrast Essay topics

Reflective Essay Example

Tips on writing a good reflective essay.

Some good general tips include the following:

Do's and don'ts of reflective essay writing

As long as you use tips by HandMade Writing, you’ll end up having a great piece. Just stick to our recommendations. And should you need the help of a pro essay writer service, remember that we’re here to help!

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Reflection Toolkit

General tips for academic reflections

An overview of key things to keep in mind for academic reflections.

Make sure you know what the assessor is asking for

Your main consideration when producing written or any kind of academic reflection is to know exactly what is expected of you. Therefore, you should ask your assessor what kind of language and structure they are expecting. With that in mind, the characteristics described here and in the sections on language and structure for academic reflections are what is often sought after.

Language of academic reflections

Structure of academic reflections

Using private reflections as foundations for academic reflections

Academic reflective writing is often used to evidence that you have done reflection. Therefore, it is often beneficial to first do a private reflection where you can be as informal and unstructured as you want, and then readapt that into a piece of academic writing.

By using a private reflection initially, you can ensure that you get the full learning opportunity without censoring yourself or being conscious of language, before deciding how best to present your reflections to your assessor. This is similar to figuring out what your argument is and taking notes before writing an essay, or to all the background work you do to solve a technical/mathematical problem that you do not include in your hand-in.

Just as developing your argument and working through each step of a problem can be essential for the final essay or hand-in, for some people doing a private reflection can be very helpful in writing an effective academic reflection. For others, writing their reflection in a formal and structured way from the outset helps them structure their thoughts.

The core elements of academic reflective writing

Academic reflective writing is a genre and just like an essay has characteristics, so does academic reflective writing.

Academic reflective writing requires critical and analytic thought, a clear line of argument, and the use of evidence through examples of personal experiences and thoughts and often also theoretical literature.

You should aim for a balance between personal experience, tone, and academic practice and rigor.

Academic reflective writing should:

  • develop a perspective or line of reasoning
  • develop a link between your experience or practice and existing knowledge (theoretical or personal)
  • show understanding and appreciation of different perspectives to your own
  • show recognition that your own understanding is likely incomplete and situations are rarely clear-cut and simplistic
  • show learning resulting from the reflection (either by discovering something new or confirming existing knowledge) and how you plan to use it
  • be written in an appropriate style with language relevant to your academic discipline
  • sometimes, but not always, use theoretical literature to inform your understanding. 

People can have misconceptions about academic reflective writing – some of the common ones are described below.

Developed from:

Ryan, M., 2011. Improving reflective writing in higher education: a social semiotic perspective. Teaching in Higher Education, 16(1), 99-111.

University of Portsmouth, Department for Curriculum and Quality Enhancement (date unavailable). Reflective Writing: a basic introduction [online].  Portsmouth: University of Portsmouth.

Queen Margaret University, Effective Learning Service (date unavailable).  Reflection. [online].  Edinburgh: Queen Margaret University.

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Critical Reflection

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Writing Critical Reflection

Reflective writing is a common genre in classrooms across disciplines. Reflections often take the form of narrative essays that summarize an experience or express changes in thinking over time. Initially, reflective writing may seem pretty straightforward; but since reflective writing summarizes personal experience, reflections can easily lose their structure and resemble stream-of-consciousness journals capturing disjointed musings focused on only the self or the past.   

Critical reflection still requires a writer to consider the self and the past but adopts an argumentative structure supported by readings, theories, discussions, demonstrated changes in material conditions, and resources like post-collaboration assessments, testimonial evidence, or other data recorded during the collaboration . Common arguments in critical reflections present evidence to demonstrate learning, contextualize an experience, and evaluate impact. While critical reflections still require authors to reflect inwardly, critical reflection go es beyond the self and examine s any relevant contexts that informed the experience. Then, writers should determine how effectively their project addressed these contexts. In other words, critical reflection considers the “impact” of their project: How did it impact the writer? How did it impact others? Why is the project meaningful on a local, historical, global, and/or societal level? H ow can that impact be assessed?  

In short: reflection and critical reflection both identify the facts of an experience and consider how it impacts the self. Critical reflection goes beyond this to conceive of the project’s impact at numerous levels and establish an argument for the project’s efficacy. In addition, critical reflection encourages self-assessment—we critically reflect to change our actions, strategies, and approaches and potentially consider these alternative methods.  

Collecting Your Data: Double-Entry Journaling

Double-entry journaling is a helpful strategy for you to document data, observations, and analysis throughout the entire course of a community-based project. It is a useful practice for projects involving primary research, secondary research, or a combination of both. In its most basic form, a double-entry journal is a form of notetaking where a writer can keep track of any useful sources, notes on those sources, observations, thoughts, and feelings—all in one place.  

For community-based projects, this might involve:  

  • Recording your observations during or after a community partner meeting in one column of the journal.  
  • Recording any of your thoughts or reactions about those observations in a second column.   
  • Writing any connections you make between your observations, thoughts, and relevant readings from class in a third column.  

This allows you to document both your data and your analysis of that data throughout the life of the project. This activity can act as a blueprint for your critical reflection by providing you with a thorough account of how your thinking developed throughout the life of a project.   

The format of a double-entry journal is meant to be flexible, tailored to both your unique notetaking practice and your specific project. It can be used to analyze readings from class, observations from research, or even quantitative data relevant to your project.  

Just the Facts, Please: What, So What, Now What

Getting started is often the hardest part in writing. To get your critical reflection started, you can identify the What , So What , and Now What? of your project. The table below presents questions that can guide your inquiry . If you’re currently drafting, we have a freewriting activity below to help you develop content.  

Freewrite your answers to these questions; that is, respond to these questions without worrying about grammar, sentence structure, or even the quality of your ideas. At this stage, your primary concern is getting something on the page. Once you’re ready to begin drafting your critical reflection, you can return to these ideas and refine them.  

Below are some additional prompts you can use to begin your freewriting. These reflection stems can organize the ideas that you developed while freewriting and place them in a more formal context.  

  • I observed that...  
  • My understanding of the problem changed when...  
  • I became aware of (x) when....  
  • I struggled to...  
  • The project's biggest weakness was…  
  • The project's greatest strength was…   I learned the most when...  
  • I couldn't understand...  
  • I looked for assistance from...  
  • I accounted for (x) by...  
  • I connected (concept/theory) to...  
  • (Specific skill gained) will be useful in a professional setting through…  

Analyzing Your Experience: A Reflective Spectrum

Y our critical reflection is a space to make an argument about the impact of your project . This means your primary objective is to determine what kind of impact your project had on you and the world around you. Impact can be defined as the material changes, either positive or negative, that result from an intervention , program , or initiative . Impact can be considered at three different reflective levels: inward, outward, and exploratory.

Image portraying types of reflection (inward, outward, exploratory)

Inward reflection requires the writer to examine how the project affected the self. Outward reflection explores the impact the project had on others. Additionally, you can conceptualize your project’s impact in relation to a specific organization or society overall, depending on the project’s scope. Finally, exploratory reflection asks writers to consider how impact is measured and assessed in the context of their project to ultimately determine: What does impact look like for the work that I’m doing? How do I evaluate this? How do we store, archive, or catalog this work for institutional memory? And what are the next steps?  

This process is cyclical in nature; in other words, it’s unlikely you will start with inward reflection, move to outward reflection, and finish with exploratory reflection. As you conceptualize impact and consider it at each level, you will find areas of overlap between each reflective level.   

Finally, if you’re having trouble conceptualizing impact or determining how your project impacted you and the world around you, ask yourself:   

  • What metrics did I use to assess the "impact" of this project? Qualitative? Quantitative? Mixed-methods? How do those metrics illustrate meaningful impact?  
  • How did the intended purpose of this project affect the types of impact that were feasible, possible, or recognized?  
  • At what scope (personal, individual, organizational, local, societal) did my outcomes have the most "impact"?  

These questions can guide additional freewriting about your project. Once you’ve finished freewriting responses to these questions, spend some time away from the document and return to it later. Then, analyze your freewriting for useful pieces of information that could be incorporated into a draft.  

Drafting Your Critical Reflection

Now that you have determined the “What, So What, Now What” of your project and explored its impact at different reflective levels, you are ready to begin drafting your critical reflection.  

If you’re stuck or find yourself struggling to structure your critical reflection, the OWL’s “ Writing Process ” [embe ded link ] resource may offer additional places to start. That said, another drafting strategy is centering the argument you intend to make.  

Your critical reflection is an argument for the impact your project has made at multiple levels; as such, much of your critical reflections will include pieces of evidence to support this argument. To begin identifying these pieces of evidence, return to your “reflection stem” responses . Your evidence might include :  

  • H ow a particular reading or theory informed the actions during your partnership ;  
  • How the skills, experiences, or actions taken during this partnerhsip will transfer to new contexts and situations;  
  • Findings from y our evaluation of the project;  
  • Demonstrated changes in thoughts, beliefs, and values, both internally and externally;  
  • And, of course, specific ways your project impacted you, other individuals, your local community, or any other community relevant to the scope of your work.  

As you compile this evidence, you will ulti mately be compiling ways to support an argument about your project’s efficacy and impact .  

Sharing Your Critical Reflection

Reflective writing and critical reflections are academic genres that offer value to the discourse of any field. Oftentimes, these reflective texts are composed for the classroom, but there are other venues for your critical reflections, too.  

For example, Purdue University is home to the Purdue Journal of Service-Learning and International Engagement ( PJSL ) which publishes student reflective texts and reflections with research components. Although PJSL only accepts submissions from Purdue students, other journals like this one may exist at your campus. Other venues like the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Impact publish reflective essays from scholars across institutions, and journals in your chosen discipline may also have interest in reflective writing.  

Document explaining the theories, concepts, literature, strategies that informed the creation of this content page.  

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Reflective Writing

“Reflection is a mode of inquiry: a deliberate way of systematically recalling writing experiences to reframe the current writing situation. It allows writers to recognize what they are doing in that particular moment (cognition), as well as to consider why they made the rhetorical choices they did (metacognition). The combination of cognition and metacognition, accessed through reflection, helps writers begin assessing themselves as writers, recognizing and building on their prior knowledge about writing.” —Kara Taczak, “Reflection is Critical for Writers’ Development” (78) Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies

Reflective writing assignments are common across the university. You may be asked to reflect on your learning, your writing, your personal experiences in relation to a theory or text, or your personal experiences in an internship or other type of experience in relation to course readings. These are assignments, as Kara Taczak notes, that offer opportunities to solidify knowledge about our experiences and how they might relate to others’ experiences and existing research. Moreso, reflection can lead to more informed understandings of our own experiences and course content in ways that may make that knowledge more useful in future classes and practice. However, often  reflective writing  is not taught as an explicit writing skill and can be problematically treated as a less rigorous form of writing. Below are some broad writing tips that can help not only your reflective writing to be stronger, but also the reflective inquiry to be more meaningful.

Collect relevant evidence before you start writing.

Yes–we recommend using  evidence  in reflective writing! When connecting personal experiences to the readings, that means selecting quotes from the readings and then coming up with specific moments in your life that relate to those quotes. When reflecting on learning or growth, that might mean locating evidence (quotes) from your previous papers that showcase growth.

Be specific.

It’s really easy to see reflective writing as more informal or casual, and thus, as requiring less attention to details; however, strong reflective writing is very precise and specific. Some examples of statements that are too vague and meaningless include, “I learned a lot about writing this semester.” Or, “I feel like my experiences are exactly as Author B says in this quote.” Neither of these statements tells us much–they are a bit devoid of content. Instead, try to name exactly what you learned about writing or exactly how your experiences are related to the quote. For example, you might reflect, “At the beginning of the semester, unsure of how to summarize a text well, I was just describing the main the idea of the text. However, after learning about Harris’ concept of capturing a writer’s “project,” I believe I have become better at really explaining a text as a whole. Specifically, in my last essay, I was able to provide a fully developed explanation of Author A’s argument and purpose for the essay as well as their materials and methods (that is, how they made the argument). For example, in this quote from my last essay,...”

Focus on a small moment from your experiences.

It’s hard to not want to recap our entire childhood or the full summer before something happened for context when sharing a personal story. However, it’s usually more effective to select a very specific moment in time and try to accurately describe what happened, who was involved, and how it made you feel and react. When writing about a moment, try to place readers there with you–help readers to understand what happened, who was involved, where it happened, why it happened, and what the results were. If this is a more creative assignment, you might even include some sensory descriptions to make the moment more of an experience for readers.

Fully explain the quote or focus of each point.

In reflective writing, you are usually asked to share your experiences in relation to something–a perspective in a text, learning about writing, the first-year experience, a summer internship, etc. When introducing this focal point, make sure you fully explain it. That is, explain what you think the quote means and provide a little summary for context. Or, if you’re reflecting on writing skills learned, before you jump to your learning and growth, stop to explain how you understand the writing skill itself–”what is analysis?,” for example. Usually, you want to fully explain the focus, explain your personal experiences with it, and then return to the significance of your experiences.

Use “I” when appropriate.

Often, in high schools, students are taught to abandon the first-person subject altogether in order to avoid over-use. However, reflective writing requires some use of “I.” You can’t talk about your experiences without using “I”! That being said, we’ve saved this advice for the bottom of the list because, as we hope the above tips suggest, there are a lot of important things that likely need explaining in addition to your personal experiences. That means you want to use “I” when appropriate, balancing your use of “I” with your explanation of the theory, quote, or situation you were in, for example.

Reflection conclusions can look forward to the future.

In the conclusion, you may want to ask and answer questions like:

  • What is the significance of my experiences with X?
  • What did I learn from reflecting on my experiences with Y?
  • How might this reflective work inform future decisions?
  • What specific tools or strategies did this activity use that might be employed in the future? When and why?

Write the reflection introduction last.

We always recommend writing introductions after you’ve drafted your entire essay–this allows you to actually introduce the specific essay you’ve already written (it’s easier to do and more likely to be strong). Reflective introductions have a little bit more flexibility. You do want to introduce the focus of your essay right away–and you might do that by naming it, by sharing a related anecdote, by naming a previously held idea/belief that has changed through learning happening during this course, or by explaining a reading or class discussion that make you curious about the focus you selected.

A Link to a PDF Handout of this Writing Guide

How to Write a Reflective Essay: Your Guide to Self-Discovery

reflective essay

moment when you decide to put pen to paper, not just to tell a story, but to explore the layers of your own experiences. Think of it as an inward journey, where each word becomes a stepping stone, uncovering the unique narrative of your thoughts and feelings.

In this comprehensive guide, our online essay writing service experts will unravel the art of writing a reflective essay and explore valuable tips to make your narrative truly shine. From outlining the key elements to understanding the format, we'll equip you with the tools you need. And what better way to solidify your understanding than by delving into practical examples that showcase the beauty of this personal storytelling format? So, grab a cup of coffee, find a cozy corner, and let's embark on this exploration of introspection and storytelling together.

essay reflection about

What Is Reflective Essay in Academic Writing

In the realm of academic writing, a definition of reflective essay encompasses a unique and personal piece that goes beyond the conventional boundaries of research papers and essays. It's not about presenting facts or arguing a thesis; instead, it's a canvas where you paint your experiences, thoughts, and emotions. Think of it as a thoughtful conversation with your readers, offering them a glimpse into your personal journey. Unlike traditional academic writing, reflective essay writing doesn't follow a rigid structure; it thrives on your voice, allowing you to share your insights and reflections on a particular topic or experience. Reflective essay meaning also involves storytelling that invites your audience to connect with your narrative on a more personal level, making it a powerful tool for self-expression within the academic landscape.

Reflection Essay Format

Writing a reflective essay involves a flexible format that can adapt to different purposes. Whether you're composing an academic piece or contributing to a magazine, the structure may vary. In academic contexts, the primary objective is consistent: instructors want students to engage in profound and critical thinking about specific learning experiences. Knowing how to write a good reflection essay may follow various formats, and here are a couple of examples from our college admission essay writing service :

  • Exploring Personal Growth : This essay style serves as a tool for self-discovery. Imagine recounting a pivotal life moment, like overcoming a fear of public speaking. By analyzing this experience, you not only gain insights into your personal growth but also offer readers a glimpse into your journey of overcoming challenges.
  • Literary Reflection : Here, you'll delve into the world of literature by reflecting on how a specific character or storyline impacted you personally. Consider writing about a character's resilience in the face of adversity and draw connections to your own life experiences. This reflective essay format allows for a creative blend of personal narrative and literary analysis.

Remember, when you write a reflective essay, the beauty lies in its adaptability. Unlike more rigid academic styles, you have the freedom to let your personal voice shine through, creating a narrative that resonates with your unique experiences.

  • You should use Times New Roman, 12 font, and double-spaced.
  • 1" margins.
  • All of your titles must be centered.
  • The top right of every page includes your last name and the page number.
  • The header on your paper should have your name, the professor's name, the course number, and the date.
  • The last page must include a Works Cited.
  • Have a header on top of every page.
  • Make sure every page is numbered in the top right corner.
  • Your essay must be divided into four parts: title page, Abstract, Main Body, and References.

Reflective Essay Outline

Alright, imagine crafting an essay is like going on a road trip. Now, think of the essay outline as your trusty map. It's not about restricting your storytelling—it's more like having a game plan before you hit the road. This outline is your backbone, making sure your essay has a solid structure and flows smoothly. It's there to guide you, not fence you in, as you share your personal journey and reflections.

So, what are the parts of a typical reflective essay?

  • The introduction for reflection paper is where you set the stage for your reflection. Introduce the topic or experience you'll be reflecting upon. Consider a hook in your intro for reflective essay to grab your reader's attention and end with a clear thesis statement that outlines the main points of your reflection.
  • Each paragraph in the body is dedicated to a specific aspect of your reflection. These paragraphs delve into the details of your experiences, thoughts, and feelings. They can follow a chronological order or be organized thematically, depending on your preference and the nature of your reflection.
  • Personal insights are all about digging deep into your thoughts and drawing out meaningful insights. Here, you explore the significance of your experiences and how they've contributed to your personal growth or understanding.
  • The conclusion is for wrapping things up by summarizing the key points of your reflection. Reinforce the significance of your experiences and perhaps suggest how they might influence your future actions or perspectives. It's a moment to leave a lasting impression on your reader.

Remember, the outline is flexible, and these parts are more like guideposts than strict rules. They're there to help you organize your thoughts and present them in a coherent and engaging way.


The reflective essay introduction is like the opening act of a gripping story, designed to captivate your reader's emotions. It's your opportunity to set the stage and provide a glimpse into the core theme of your reflection. Consider an experience that left a profound impact on you, perhaps overcoming a fear or embracing a new perspective. Craft your introduction with vivid details, painting a mental picture for your reader.

For instance, describe the nervous energy before a significant event, the racing heartbeat, or the tension in the air. A powerful introduction should beckon the reader into the heart of your narrative, making them eager to embark on this introspective journey with you.

Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs are the narrative chapters, each dedicated to a distinct aspect of your experience. These paragraphs should seamlessly guide your reader through the chronological or thematic evolution of your reflections. Dive deep into sensory details, emotions, and the intricacies of the journey you're recounting.

Consider breaking down your narrative into key moments or revelations, allowing each paragraph to unfold like a scene in a movie. This is where you lay bare the highs, lows, and transformative moments, fostering a connection between your reader and the essence of your reflection.

Lastly, let's touch on how to conclude a reflective essay. It is the resolution of your writing, akin to the closing scene of a movie. It's your chance to leave a lasting impression, wrapping up the narrative with a sense of reflection and insight. Revisit the central theme of your essay, reinforcing its significance in your personal growth or understanding. You might also hint at how this experience will influence your future actions or perspectives. A compelling conclusion should linger in the reader's mind, inviting them to carry the essence of your reflection beyond the final words.

5 Essential Reflective Essay Writing Tips

Now, let our experts, who professionally handle your ' write my essay online ' requests, share 5 essential tips to guide you on this writing journey:

Connect Emotionally: When unsure how to write a good reflective essay, don't shy away from emotions. Readers connect deeply with personal stories infused with genuine feelings. Share your joys, struggles, and moments of realization in a way that makes your readers feel the heartbeat of your experiences.

Be Authentic: Your reflective essays are your personal narratives, so embrace authenticity. Don't try to fit into a mold or adhere to expectations. Speak from the heart, use your voice, and let your unique perspective shine through. Authenticity adds a powerful layer to your storytelling.

Show, Don't Just Tell: Instead of merely stating facts, show the reader your experiences through vivid descriptions. Engage the senses and paint a picture with your words. Take your readers on a sensory journey, allowing them to visualize and immerse themselves in your reflections.

Reflect, Don't Recap: A reflective writing essay isn't just a summary of events; it's an exploration of their impact on you. Instead of merely recounting what happened, delve into why it mattered. Reflect on how these experiences shaped your thoughts, beliefs, or actions, offering deeper insights to your readers.

Organize Your Thoughts: Structure is key when it comes to knowing how to make a reflective essay successfully. Outline your ideas before you start writing, creating a roadmap for your essay. Consider the chronological order of events or organize them thematically. A well-organized essay helps your readers follow the flow of your reflections seamlessly.

how to write a reflective essay

Reflective Essay Examples

Understanding the intricacies of the writing process is challenging without practical examples, regardless of theoretical knowledge. With our existing outline in place, let's delve into the creation of an engaging example of a reflective essay.

Final Thoughts

As you start your reflective essay writing, think of it as a conversation with a friend. Be genuine, share the highs and lows, and don't worry about sounding perfect. The beauty lies in your authenticity. Much like when learning how to write a personal essay , reflect on your experiences with an open heart and let your words flow naturally. This isn't just about writing; it's about discovering more about yourself and inviting others into your world. So, enjoy the ride, be true to yourself, and let the storytelling unfold.

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What Should Be Avoided When Writing a Reflective Essay?

What is the meaning of reflective essay, what is a good reflective essay example.

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Reflective Essay

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Reflective Essay - Writing Steps with Examples, Tips, and Topics

Published on: Sep 21, 2020

Last updated on: Jan 29, 2024

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A reflective essay is a form of writing where the writer reflects on a personal experience. Have you been assigned one but don’t know how to write? 

Don’t fret! 

Read on to learn in simple steps and follow the useful tips and examples given below. By the end of the blog, you will know everything you need to write an excellent reflective essay.

So let’s dive in!

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What is a Reflective Essay?

A reflective essay is a type of essay where the writer describes a personal experience or event that they observed or examined. Reflective writing involves thinking or pondering about a specific topic and writing your thoughts.

The content of a reflective essay is subjective. This means, the writer discusses the topic from their own personal point of view.  

The writer presents their thoughts and reflections in a structured and coherent manner. It combines elements of storytelling, analysis, and introspection to create a narrative that engages the reader and offers valuable insights.

What is the Purpose of Reflective Writing? 

Self-reflective essays are often used as an opportunity to explore your thoughts and feelings more deeply. The main goals of reflective writing are to;

  • Make a connection between yourself and the text 
  • Analyze what you have heard, read, or seen
  • Write subjectively and help identify your interests
  • Think about what you have learned.
  • Develop your critical and narrative skills

Here is a video that reflective writing in simple terms:

How to Write a Reflective Essay? 

Reflective essays can be very difficult to write. However, following the steps below can make your writing process easier and more effective.

  • Select a Meaningful Topic

The first step in writing a great reflective essay is to choose a good topic. You need to do a lot of brainstorming, mind mapping , and a bit of research to come up with a good topic. 

Choose a topic that holds personal significance for you. It could be a specific event, a challenging situation, a memorable encounter, or a period of personal growth. Select a topic that allows for deep introspection and provides ample material for reflection.

  • Reflect and Introspect

Ponder on your chosen topic and explore your thoughts, feelings, and reactions associated with it. 

Ask yourself probing questions, such as " How did this experience impact me? " or " What did I learn from this situation? " This introspective phase forms the foundation of your essay, allowing you to dig deep and extract valuable insights.  

  • Develop a Clear Thesis Statement

Craft a concise and focused thesis statement that encapsulates the main point or lesson learned from your reflection. 

This statement will serve as a guiding principle for your essay, ensuring that your writing remains coherent and purposeful. 

  • Chart an Outline

Create an outline that organizes your thoughts and provides a logical structure for your essay. 

Divide your essay into sections including the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Outline the main ideas, experiences, and reflections you plan to include in each section.

Want to learn more about how to create an outline? Here is our comprehensive reflective essay outline guide for you.

  • Write a Catchy Introduction

Start your essay with an attention-grabbing opening that sets the tone and introduces the topic to the reader. 

Engage your audience by sharing a captivating anecdote, posing a thought-provoking question, or presenting a compelling quote. Clearly state your thesis to provide a roadmap for your reflective journey.

  • Write Main Body Paragraphs

In the body paragraphs, vividly describe the experiences or events that shaped your reflection. Use sensory details and specific examples to paint a clear picture for your readers.

After describing the experience, delve into the reflection and analysis phase. Explore the significance of the experience and its impact on your personal growth, beliefs, or worldview. 

Analyze the reasons behind your thoughts, emotions, and reactions. 

  • Provide a Thoughtful Conclusion

Wrap up your essay by summarizing your main points and reinforcing the significance of your reflection. Share the insights and lessons you gained from the reflection process. 

For instance, what did you learn about yourself? How did this experience contribute to your personal development? 

Be honest and authentic in your reflections, demonstrating vulnerability and self-awareness. Don't present new information here, but summarize everything that happened in the essay.

  • Revise and Edit

Once you have completed your first draft, revise and edit your essay for clarity, coherence, and grammar. Pay attention to the flow of your ideas, sentence structure, and word choice. 

Seek feedback from peers or mentors to gain different perspectives and refine your essay further. This way, your final draft will turn out to be an interesting and valuable piece of work.

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Reflective Essay Structure

The structure of the reflective essay is the same as other types of essays. It contains an introduction, several body paragraphs, and a conclusion. 

Here is the basic reflective essay format that you can use:

Let’s learn about the components of a reflective essay in depth:

Reflective Essay Introduction 

A reflective essay also starts with an introduction, like all other essays. An essay introduction should be brief but relevant to the topic. In this part, you can give a general overview of the topic to the reader.

Start your essay with a strong hook statement . The hook statement is the first thing that the reader reads in the introduction part.

In the introduction part, state the thesis statement but don’t give too much information in this statement.  

Remember that in this part, only give a brief overview and don’t write in-depth information.

Reflective Essay Body Paragraphs

Writing the body paragraphs is the hardest part of the reflective essay. Some writers spend a lot of time writing body paragraphs. If the outline is not created well, then writing the body paragraphs is a time-consuming process.

It is the most important part of the essay and follows the proper chronological order. Describe the main issues in order related to the described event.

The body paragraphs are well-focused, and it is not a summary of your experience. Each body paragraph end with a concluding sentence.     

Reflective Essay Conclusion  

The conclusion is the last part of the essay. In this part, you should provide a summary of the entire essay. Moreover, do not repeat the same point again and again.   

Make sure the conclusion of the essay is powerful and encourages the readers to do further research. In this concluding part, restate the thesis statement, and no need to add new ideas. 

Tips for Writing a Reflective Essay

Here are some writing tips that can make your reflective essay even better, so try following these in your essay:

  • Choose the right topic for the essay, make sure that you have enough information
  • Use an engaging and narrative tone throughout the essay with an overall emotion or theme in mind.
  • Try to make the essay credible and informative
  • Reflect critically on the significance of the experiences and analyze the reasons behind your thoughts, emotions, and reactions.
  • Incorporate relevant theories, concepts, or academic frameworks to deepen your analysis.
  • Be authentic and honest in sharing your insights and lessons learned from the reflection process.
  • Connect your personal experiences to broader contexts or universal themes to create a relatable and impactful essay.
  • Support your thesis statement with strong examples and arguments.

Ref lective Essay For mat

Two commonly used formatting styles for academic writing are the APA and the MLA styles. Each style has its unique guidelines for formatting, including structure, citations, and references. 

APA Style Reflective Essay Format

Formatting your essay in APA requires the following:

  • Times New Roman 
  • Double line-spacing
  • 1" margins 
  • Page number on the top-right 
  • Include the Title Page, Main Body, and References.

MLA Style Reflective Essay Format 

The MLA style recommends the following formatting guidelines:

  • 1” margins
  • Last name and page number in the top-right
  • “Works Cited” section on the last page

Reflective Essay Examples

Check out some reflective essay samples that can give you a better understanding of the reflective essay.    

Reflective Essay Example for High School

Personal Reflective Essay Example

Reflective Essay Outline

Example of Reflective Essay on Learning Experience

Reflective Essay Example About Life Experience

Reflective Essay Topics - H2

In a reflective essay, you write about your personal experience, thoughts, and significant moments of your life. Choosing the right topic for the essay sometimes becomes a challenging task, but here are some ideas that can help you out.  

  • A surprise that you prepared for someone
  • The first thing you think of in the morning
  • When someone’s words made you cry
  • When you laughed uncontrollably with someone
  • Swimming in a mountain lake
  • The experience of an earthquake or natural disasters
  • A vacation place that you liked in particular
  • Crossing a bridge and looking out over the water.
  • Your favorite persuasive essay topic
  • Place where you feel safe

Need more topics to get your thoughts running? Here are more reflective essay topics to help you out!

Writing a reflective essay can be a transformative experience as you discover your own thoughts and feelings along the way. By following the writing steps and tips, you can enhance this experience by writing an essay that is interesting, informative, and engaging. 

So don’t hesitate to start writing a reflective paper today! You’ve got everything you need.

Still, if you are in a race against time or can’t write your essay for other reasons, don’t despair. The auto essay writer at is here to help you out!

We also have a team of expert writers ready to assist you 24/7. Whether you need help with refining your ideas, structuring your essay, or polishing the final draft, we can lend our expertise.

So hire our custom writing service  to receive customized and professional reflective essays within the deadline!

Frequently Asked Questions

How many paragraphs are in a reflective essay.

In a reflective essay, you should follow a 5-paragraph format. However, you can add more paragraphs, and it depends on your chosen topic.

What is the goal of a reflective essay?

Writing a reflective essay aims to explore how they have changed and learned from their experiences.

Barbara P (Literature, Marketing)

Barbara is a highly educated and qualified author with a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university. She has spent a significant amount of time working in the medical field, conducting a thorough study on a variety of health issues. Her work has been published in several major publications.

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6 Tips to Writing a Solid Reflection Paper (With a Sample Essay)

Tonya Thompson

A reflection paper is an essay that focuses on your personal thoughts related to an experience, topic, or behavior. It can veer toward educational as a reflection of a book you've read or something you've been studying in class. It can also take a more professional slant as you reflect on a certain profession or your experiences within that profession.

A lot of students enjoy writing this type of essay, especially if they find it easy to discuss their feelings and experiences related to a topic or profession. However, some students find this type of subjective writing to be difficult and would rather a more objective writing assignment.

Whether you're the former or the latter, for this article, we're going to look at 6 tips for writing a solid reflection paper that will help you get through the outlining and writing processes. We've also provided a sample reflection paper so you can see these tips in action.

A reflection paper is an essay that focuses on your personal thoughts related to an experience, topic, or behavior.

Tip #1—Choose a topic you're passionate about

However you choose to focus your reflection paper, if you're able to choose your own topic, choose one that is highly interesting to you or that you find important. You'll find that your paper will be much easier to outline and draft if you do. There are a range of potential topics that have been used or have the potential of turning into a great reflection paper. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Describe your internship experience.
  • Discuss a recent book you read that changed you.
  • What is "family" to you and why?
  • What are some of the qualities demonstrated by your favorite employers and/or managers? What makes them your favorite?
  • Discuss music that has altered your way of thinking or made you see the world from a different perspective.
  • Reflect on your favorite memory of a pet or loved one.

Tip #2—Outline your reflection paper before you write

Be sure to outline your reflection paper first before you start to write. Even though this sort of essay is written as a personal reflection, you'll still need to make sure you stay on topic and organize your writing in a clear, logical way. As with other traditional essays, there should be an introduction with a thesis statement, a body, and a conclusion. Each paragraph within your body should focus on a different sub-topic within the scope of your overall topic.

Tip #3—Write in first-person singular

Write in first-person singular. Format the essay according to your teacher's instructions, using whatever citation style required. Your teacher will likely request that it is double-spaced, with 1" indentation in each margin, in 12 pt. font. Also keep in mind that most reflection papers will be around 750 words or less.

Tip #4—Avoid too much description

Avoiding adding too much description of events. This is not the kind of essay where you need to discuss a play-by-play of everything that happens. Rather, it is the kind of essay that focuses on your reflection of the topic and how you felt during these experiences.

Tip #5—Avoid colloquial expressions or slang

Avoid colloquial expressions or slang—this is still an academic assignment. Also, be sure to edit your essay thoroughly for any grammar or spelling mistakes. Since a reflection paper is written in first-person point of view, it's easy to mistake it for an informal essay and skip the editing. Regardless of the type of essay you submit to your professor, it should always be edited and error-free.

Tip #6—Critical reflection goes deeper

If your assignment asks you to write a critical reflection paper, it is asking for your observations and evaluations regarding an experience. You'll need to provide an in-depth analysis of the subject and your experience with it in an academic context. You might also provide a summary, if the critical reflection paper is about a book or article you've read.

Sample reflection paper

My student teaching experience with the Master's in Education program has been a great learning opportunity. Although I was nervous at first, it didn't take long to apply lessons I have been learning in my academic program to real-world skills such as classroom management, lesson planning, and instruction.

During my first week of student teaching, I was assigned a mentor who had been teaching middle school grades for over 12 years. She assured me that middle school is one of the most difficult grades to teach and that there is a high turnover rate of teachers, which worried me. However, once the week got started and I began to meet the students, my fears abated. These young people were funny, inquisitive, and eager to begin reading the assigned book, Lord of the Flies —especially after we started with a group project scenario that included kids being stranded on an island without adults.

The first few weeks of applying classroom management skills I had read about in my Master's program were a definite learning experience. I had read enough about adolescent development to know that they were not yet at the age where they were able to control all of their impulses, so there were moments when some would yell out an answer or speak without raising their hand first. So, at my mentor's suggestion, I worked with the students to create their own classroom rules that everyone would agree to abide by. Since they played a role in coming up with these rules, I believe it helped them take more personal responsibility in following them.

When we finished that initial group project, I began to see how tasks such as lesson planning—and plans that have to be turned in to the administration weekly—can easily become overwhelming if not worked out on the front-end of the semester. My mentor explained that most seasoned teachers will work on their lesson plans over the summer, using the proper state curriculum, to have them ready with the school year begins. Having scrambled to get my lesson planning done in time during the first few weeks, I saw the value in this and agreed with her that summertime preparation makes the most logical sense. When the school year gets started, it's really a whirlwind of activities, professional development and other events that make it really difficult to find the time to plan lessons.

Once the semester got well underway and I had lesson planning worked out with as little stress as possible, I was able to focus more on instructional time, which I found to be incredibly exciting. I began to see how incorporating multiple learning styles into my lesson, including visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning styles, helped the students stay more actively engaged in the discussion. They also enjoyed it when I showed them short video clips of the movie versions of the books we were reading, as well as the free-write sessions where they were able to write a scene and perform it with their classmates.

Finally, my student teaching experience taught me that above all else, I have truly found my "calling" in teaching. Every day was something new and there was never a dull moment—not when you're teaching a group of 30 teenagers! This lack of boredom and the things I learned from the students are two of the most positive things for me that resulted from the experience, and I can't wait to have my own classroom in the fall when the school year begins again.

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Essay About Reflection: Top 5 Examples and 8 Prompts

If you want to write a reflective essay for your next writing project, here are examples of an essay about reflection and helpful prompts to get started.

Because writing helps us explore and organize our thoughts better, it’s the best way to express our reflection. However, not everyone finds it easy to convey what’s in their mind through words. 

Essays about reflections are personal, and you must know how to communicate through words effectively. Below are essay examples and writing prompts to help you create an eye-catching essay about reflection:

1. My Portfolio by Andrew Duffy

2. a community learning reflection by celeste angeles, 3. self reflection by lamar walton, 4. self-reliance by ralph waldo emerson, 5. what is value of life by jake johnson, 8 writing prompts on essay about reflection, 1. your role model and their effect on your decisions, 2. experiences you want to relive, 3. things you are grateful for, 4. your failures and how you picked yourself up , 5. memory you cherish the most, 6. the best advice someone has given you, 7. one thing you wish others knew about you, 8. your biggest personal success.

“Writing is not something that you leave behind after leaving school, so it is important that I take these skills… for the rest of my life. If I succeed in doing that, then I will always be prepared for any assignment that my field of interest throws at me.” 

In this essay, the author talks about his love for writing and how he improves his skills by taking different courses. Duffy reflects on how writing helped him develop critical thinking, comprehension, and grammar. It also taught him practical ways of drafting topics.

“…I learned that it is important to give back to our community… I learned that I enjoyed volunteering and missed doing something that I feel helps make a difference.”

Angeles shares how community services impacted her life. She mentions that it didn’t matter how much time she had to give up on volunteering. Instead, she sees volunteering as both fun and fulfilling. She says that if we love what we are doing, we always look for time to make it happen, even if it isn’t in our field of work.

“More people have to stand up and say that something has to be done. More have to come forth and show their support and cures. It was sad to read some of the things I read and saw, but one day all this will soon go to someone’s heart, causing them to either do something or make better choices.”

Walton discusses how sad he is for poor orphans with HIV/AIDS whose lives could be saved. However, since antiretrovirals are too expensive, most orphanages can’t afford the drug. He wrote the essay hoping that someday, someone would stand up to do something about this problem, and hopefully, people would at least try to prevent the spread of the disease.

“It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own, but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”

Emerson believes that we have to rely on ourselves instead of depending on others. To achieve freedom and independence, people must reflect on their thoughts and trust what is true to them.

“For decades, society has based the value of somebody’s life around the amount of money that person has and how popular the person is. That is wrong because the value of one’s life should be determined by how happy they are, the experiences they’ve had, and the relationships they’ve acquired.”

Johnson considers different viewpoints from famous individuals and literary works such as Steve Jobs and Shakespeare’s Hamlet. He concludes that the essential thing in life is attitude and thinking positively since the value of life is so much more than our social status and financial situation.

Since reflective essays can seem a daunting task, we’ve compiled interesting essay prompts to create a piece that can grab your reader’s attention. 

Read our best essay writing tips to write excellent essays. 

Essay About Reflection: Your role model and their effect on your decisions

Writing an essay about a person you look up to is an excellent subject when writing a reflective essay. First, discuss your role model and the characteristics or traits you respect and admire. Then, explain why you hope to have those unique characteristics and how the individual influenced your decision-making and who you are today.

Sometimes we make mistakes, and hopefully, we can rewind time to correct our wrongs. On the other hand, some experiences make us so happy that we want to experience them over and over. 

Reflect on those thoughts and relay them through writing. Doing so can help lessen your guilt over your mistakes and help you reminisce great memories. Picking this topic may also persuade your readers to create unforgettable memories of their own or deal with the faults they’ve made.

Writing about the things you’re grateful for is therapeutic and makes you realize the positive things in your life. Incorporating it in your essay will also sway your readers to think about what they should appreciate in their life.

The things you’re grateful for can be small or big, already happened or still happening. Share your experience and why you consider these things important to who you are today.

Everyone faces and has experienced failures. This is why writing about it will help you immediately build a connection with your readers. First, be transparent about the failure, why it happened, what you felt, how it affected your life, and what you did to move on. Then, incorporate the lessons you’ve learned. 

Our memories are part of us and play a vital role in shaping our identity. Write about a core memory you will never forget, one you cherish, and why. It can be as simple as coming home to your mother cooking dinner or a time you visited a place you’ve always dreamt of. 

It can also be a sad memory that makes you realize a life lesson, such as falling out with someone who used to be your best friend or attending a funeral. Each individual’s experience has different meanings.

In dealing with life, we handle situations the way we see fit. Sometimes, we don’t know how to handle them at all. Write about a particular time in your life when you realize you’re in that very situation. 

During those challenging times, you might have received a piece of advice that helped you overcome the difficulties that you’re using to this day. Sharing the advice can even help your readers as well.

Some experiences help us be better people, while others ruin us. But, we must always learn from life experiences, whether good or bad.

In this essay topic, you can share one great experience, practice, or something that made you who you are now. You can also focus on a trait you want to be more prominent so people can stop a notion or assumption about you.

You cannot aim for success if you don’t look for it. So, reflect on what you consider your most significant personal success and why. You can also give tips on how you achieved that success. Your essay may even inspire and motivate your readers.

Are you feeling intimidated by the thought of writing essays? Then you can start with a 5-paragraph essay first .

essay reflection about

Maria Caballero is a freelance writer who has been writing since high school. She believes that to be a writer doesn't only refer to excellent syntax and semantics but also knowing how to weave words together to communicate to any reader effectively.

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Essay #1 Reflection

FXB Center for Health & Human Rights | Harvard University

Reflections on Black History Month 2024

This oil painting depicts a bouquet of off-white roses and greenery in a brown bowl. The round bowl, done in deep brown tones, stands to the right side of the picture. In the bowl are five blooms and several sprays of greenery. Several other blossoms, a sprig of greenery and a long stem lie scattered around the bowl. Peeking from behind the bowl are a pile of darker green leaves and a cluster of bright red berries. Hanging on the left hand background wall is a textile with a yellow, red, and white plaid pattern.

In 1926, historian Carter G. Woodson established “Negro History Week,” and fifty years later, President Gerald Ford designated the month of February “Black History Month” in 1976. This year’s theme recognizes the Arts, a recognition of the significant impact of Black arts on US culture.

While the arts are essential to our wellbeing, not a frivolous addition, this year’s theme—no doubt selected way in advance—feels out of step with the current challenges. US history is full of advances of Black rights followed by subsequent pushback.

In 2020, amidst a historic pandemic and stark racial disparities, the world witnessed the brutal murder of George Floyd, prompting a willingness to recognize the persistence of US racism.

In 2024, teachers, scholars, artists, and activists—particularly those advocating for a comprehensive examination of America’s complex past—find themselves navigating tumultuous waters. Articulation of unwelcome facts may even lead to the curtailment of free speech. I read with interest and concern a commentary by Khalil Gibran Muhammad , who reflects on how scholarship that focuses on racism can enter the crosshairs.

Many Black artists lent their skills to the movement for Black rights. Here are a few examples:

  • 14 Black Artists Who Changed Art History
  • The Black Arts Movement and the Power of Resistance
  • Black Women Artists: Shattering Stereotypes and Reclaiming Narratives
  • National Gallery of Art: Black History Month
  • Kara Walker
  • Romare Bearden

In 2024, let Black History Month be a time for reflection, education, creativity, and advocacy. At FXB, our efforts are dedicated to supporting marginalized and excluded groups. By understanding the interconnectedness of historical struggles, recent challenges, and the path forward, we can contribute to an inclusive and equitable future for all.

— Mary T. Bassett, MD, MPH Director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights

Featured image: Creative Commons Still Life with Roses by Charles Ethan Porter, Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, is licensed under CC0 .


Essay on Teenage Pregnancy Reflection

Students are often asked to write an essay on Teenage Pregnancy Reflection in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.

Let’s take a look…

100 Words Essay on Teenage Pregnancy Reflection

Understanding teenage pregnancy.

Teenage pregnancy is when a girl becomes a mother before she turns 20. This event changes her life a lot. She might have to stop going to school and might find it hard to get a good job later. This situation also affects the baby, who might not get enough care and love.

Reasons Behind Teenage Pregnancy

Many teenagers become pregnant because they don’t know much about how babies are made or how to avoid getting pregnant. Sometimes, they feel pressure from friends or partners. In some cases, they might not have the support of their family.

Effects on Education and Health

Teenage mothers often leave school, which makes it hard for them to get good jobs. This can make life difficult for them and their children. Also, being a young mother can be hard on a girl’s health. The babies might also face health problems.

Support and Advice

Teenagers need good advice and support from their families and schools to avoid pregnancy. They should learn about how to stay safe and make smart choices. If a teenager does become pregnant, it’s important that she gets care and help so she and her baby can be healthy.

250 Words Essay on Teenage Pregnancy Reflection

Teenage pregnancy is when a girl becomes a mother before she turns 20. This event changes her life in many ways. It is a topic that needs attention because it affects not only the young mother but also her child, family, and society.

Challenges Faced

Young mothers face several challenges. First, their education may be interrupted. Going to school becomes hard when you have a baby to take care of. Second, their health can be at risk. Being young and pregnant can lead to health problems for both the mother and the baby. Lastly, they might feel alone. Friends might not understand, and sometimes family support is not strong.

Impact on Society

Teenage pregnancy also affects the community. It can lead to higher costs for healthcare and social services. It might also increase the number of children who need foster care. Moreover, it can contribute to a cycle of poverty. Young mothers might find it hard to get good jobs because they had to stop their education.

Support and Education

Support and education are crucial. Schools and communities should teach young people about the responsibilities and challenges of becoming parents too early. Families should talk openly about these issues. Support groups and programs can help young mothers cope and build a better future for themselves and their children.

In conclusion, teenage pregnancy is a complex issue. It requires understanding, support, and education to help young mothers and their children lead healthy and successful lives.

500 Words Essay on Teenage Pregnancy Reflection

Teenage pregnancy: a profound reflection.

Teenage pregnancy carries significant implications, shaping the lives of both the young mothers and the children they bring into the world. It is a complex issue that demands our attention, understanding, and collective action. Reflecting on teenage pregnancy can provide valuable insights that inform policies, programs, and interventions aimed at preventing and addressing this societal challenge.

Consequences for Young Mothers

Teenage pregnancy can have far-reaching consequences for young mothers. Often, they are faced with limited educational opportunities, economic hardship, and social stigma. The physical and emotional demands of parenting at a young age may strain their health and well-being. Moreover, they may struggle with balancing motherhood with their personal aspirations and life goals.

Impact on Children

Children born to teenage mothers may also face challenges. Research indicates that they are more likely to experience health problems, cognitive difficulties, and behavioral issues compared to children born to older mothers. These disparities emphasize the need for comprehensive support systems that address the unique needs of both teen mothers and their children.

Challenges and Opportunities

Addressing teenage pregnancy requires a multifaceted approach that encompasses prevention, support, and education. Comprehensive sex education programs can empower young people with the knowledge and skills to make informed choices about their sexual health. Accessible reproductive healthcare services, including contraception and counseling, can help prevent unintended pregnancies. Additionally, providing supportive environments at home, school, and within the community can mitigate the risks associated with teenage pregnancy.

Role of Education and Empowerment

Education plays a crucial role in preventing teenage pregnancy. By equipping young people with accurate information and life skills, we can help them make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health. Furthermore, empowering young women and girls through access to education, employment opportunities, and leadership roles can contribute to a reduction in teenage pregnancy rates.

Teenage pregnancy is a multifaceted issue with profound implications for young mothers, their children, and society as a whole. By reflecting on the challenges and opportunities associated with teenage pregnancy, we can foster a deeper understanding of this issue and develop effective strategies to prevent it.

That’s it! I hope the essay helped you.

If you’re looking for more, here are essays on other interesting topics:

  • Essay on Teenage Pregnancy In The Philippines
  • Essay on Teenage Pregnancy Awareness
  • Essay on Teenage Marriage

Apart from these, you can look at all the essays by clicking here .

Happy studying!

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NBC New York

What is Ash Wednesday and why do Christians give things up for Lent?

This year, ash wednesday will be observed on feb. 14, 2024, by staff • published february 14, 2024 • updated on february 14, 2024 at 8:17 am.

On Wednesday, many Christians will show up to work with ashes smudged on their foreheads. Many more will head to church on their lunch break or after work to receive a cross of ashes on their face.

This year, Ash Wednesday — a solemn day of fasting and reflection to mark the start of Christianity's most penitent season — falls on Valentine's Day , the fixed annual celebration of love and friendship, marked by couples, flowers and candy — and critics who deride its commercialization.

But what exactly is the purpose of the centuries-old Christian tradition?

What is Ash Wednesday?

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In the Christian tradition, Ash Wednesday marks the start of the holy season of Lent, a time for reflection and repentance in preparation for the celebration of Easter.

Christians from many denominations recognize the holy season for 40 days leading up to Easter. For centuries, Christians have received a sign of the cross with ashes on their forehead at the beginning of that season as a reminder of mortal failings and an invitation to receive God’s forgiveness. The tradition has its origins in the Old Testament where sinners performed acts of public penance.

The use of ashes is to remind parishioners of their mortality. During Ash Wednesday service, the phrase, "Remember, man, that you are dust and to dust you shall return,” from the Book of Genesis is traditionally employed.

Rev. Gregory Wilson, pastor at St. Mary’s Help of Christians Catholic church in Aiken, South Carolina, offers believers two things to consider when observing Ash Wednesday: prayer and sacrifice.

“Prayer,” Wilson said, “purifies intentions and relates everything back to God. Fasting detaches people from comfort and themselves, in turn, making them ‘hungry for God’ and his righteousness and holiness."

Wilson urges Christians to make time for prayer, nothing that "people always have time for what they want to do."

“We make time for these things because they are a priority and they are necessary in life and guess what? So is prayer. Prayer is like the air for the lungs of the Christian. So do not try to find time – make it.”

essay reflection about

Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday: Is it a dilemma to go on a date with a cross sign on your forehead?

essay reflection about

Valentine's Day 2024: Gift ideas for lovers, family & friends

When is ash wednesday 2024.

Ash Wednesday is not a fixed date. Its timing is tied to Easter Sunday, and for most Christians, Easter will fall on March 31 this year.

Easter also moves annually, swinging between March 22 and April 25 based on a calendar calculation involving the moon.

This year, Ash Wednesday will fall on Feb. 14 2024.

Where do the ashes come from?

Typically, the ashes are from the palms used on Palm Sunday, which falls a week before Easter, according to the  Evangelical Lutheran Church in America .

Ashes can be purchased, but some churches make their own by burning the palms from prior years. For example, several parishes and schools in the Chicago Catholic Archdiocese plan to hold palm burning ceremonies this year.

Can Catholics celebrate Valentine's Day on Ash Wednesday?

In addition to the candy heart and chocolate-fueled secular celebrations, Feb. 14 is also the Feast of St. Valentine. But Ash Wednesday with its fasting and abstinence requirements is far more significant and should be prioritized, said Catholic Bishop Richard Henning of Providence, Rhode Island, in the diocese’s official newspaper.

“Ash Wednesday is the much higher value and deserves the full measure of our devotion,” he said. “I ask with all respect that we maintain the unique importance of Ash Wednesday. If you would like to wine and dine your Valentine, please do so on the Tuesday before. February 13 is Mardi Gras, ‘Fat Tuesday,’ a perfect day to feast and celebrate!”

What is Lent?

Lent is the annual period of Christian observance that precedes Easter. The dates of Lent are defined by the date of Easter, which is a moveable feast, meaning that it falls on a different date each year. Lent starts on Ash Wednesday, and its observance lasts for 40 days, excluding Sundays. Lent ends this year on Thursday, April 6.

Catholics started the tradition of Lent around the year 325, during the Council of Nicea, but it has spread through other Christian denominations, including Western Orthodox churches, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians and Anglicans, among others.

During lent, Christians give up things like habits or food and drink items. The tradition’s origins go back to Jesus’ 40 days of temptation in the desert.

Lent comes from the Middle English word “lente,” which means springtime, and signals the coming of spring.

What is Fat Tuesday?

On the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, people tend to eat rich foods in large quantities in advance of the fasting, which is a key component of Lent. Hence, the name “Fat Tuesday.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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    1. Answer key questions. To write a reflection paper, you need to be able to observe your own thoughts and reactions to the material you've been given. A good way to start is by answering a series of key questions. For example: What was your first reaction to the material? Was it positive, negative, or neutral?

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  7. How to Write a Reflective Essay With Sample Essays

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    Some typical reflection essay topics include: a real-life experience, an imagined experience, a special object or place, a person who had an influence on you, or something you have watched or read.

  13. Reflective essays

    The reflective essay is one of the most common reflective assignments and is very frequently used for both formative and especially summative assessments. Reflective essays are about presenting reflections to an audience in a systematic and formal way. Generally, all good academic practice for assignments applies when posing reflective essays.

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    Seeing reflective essay examples can help you understand how to accomplish a reflective essay writing assignment. View examples of reflective essays.

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    If you have to write a reflective essay, here are some tips to follow. References should be listed on the final page of the writing. In the essay, try to avoid using the same phrase multiple times. Give your take on the topic in the writing. Verify that you have explained everything that was previously unclear.

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