APA Essay Format

The APA essay format (The American Psychological Association format) is one of the most popular formats in creating the academic papers, especially in the scientific disciplines. It has a lot of peculiarities that change from year to year. This writing format has evolved through time, and these changes were made due to the increasing speed of the development of electronic technologies. The following article will be particularly interesting for those who faced with the challenge of writing an APA paper.

As for the general formatting rules, they should be as following:

  • Spacing. The whole document, including all the tables, appendices, figures and footnotes should be double-spaced. As for the spacing after punctuation, use one space after all the commas, colons and semicolons, and space twice after the punctuations marks at the very end of the sentence.
  • Margins. APA essay format requires 1 inch from all sides – left, right, top, and bottom. Earlier it required 1½ inch, but the standards changed.
  • Text Indentation and Alignment. The text alignment in the APA format essay should be flush left.
  • Font type and size. All the APA texts require 12-pt Font, Times New Roman.
  • Running Head. Unlike other writing formats, APA requires the Running Head. It is a short title located at the top of every page of the paper. It should not contain more than forty symbols and should be typed flush left.
  • Active voice. For many years, APA writing format required impersonal approach. The writers spoke objectively about the concepts and notions. Thus, they tried to make their papers free of “I”, “We”, and other personal pronouns. Nowadays, all the APA papers require active voice. Now, it is better to say “our analysis” instead of “the analysis.” This tip will make your essay sound as active as possible.
  • Pages. The page numbers should be put one inch from the right corner on the first line of every page of the paper. The order of the paper parts should be as following:
    1. Title page;
    2. Abstract;
    3. Body;
    4. References;
    5. Appendices;
    6. Footnotes;
    7. Tables.

It would be great if you could go to the library and find a perfect APA format essay example. It will help you to understand how to organize all the thoughts and information into one single unit.

Title Page

Unlike MLA format, APA style essay requires a properly formatted title page. A title page should contain the title of the paper, the name of its author (co-authors), and the institutional affiliation. If there is no institutional affiliation, the writer should indicate the city or state. The title page serves as the Page 1. It should be typed, 12-pt font, times New Roman. The APA title page includes the Running Head as well. The title page may also include the author`s note. It is not a necessary practice, but sometimes the acknowledgments of somebody`s assistance, as well as financial support, should be mentioned. Moreover, it may include the author`s mailing address for the future correspondence.


An abstract is a brief summary of the whole APA essay. Its length depends on the length of the paper. However, usually it consists of 150-200 words typed in a block format. The abstract expresses the key ideas of the writer and begins on Page 2. Also, the abstract may include the keywords with the aim to give the target audience the brief introduction of what will be discussed in the paper. All the numbers in the abstract should be typed as digits, except the ones that begin the sentences.

The Body

According to the classic organization of the essay, the body should consist of several main paragraphs. It should begin with the page three and be logically divided according to the writer`s main ideas. The text of the body should be typed flush left while the first line of each paragraph should be indented 5-7 spaces from the left. Be sure to use the transition words to make your body smooth and coherent. Usually, APA sample essay requires ground research, and you should cite all the sources that you use for supporting or opposing your arguments properly.

References and In-Text Citations

You should know all the peculiarities of in-text citation since they are crucially important things in avoiding the plagiarism. If you want to document some thoughts or ideas, the author`s name and date of the source`s publication should be mentioned in the body of the paper. The rest of the information will be put on the reference list. This is the proof that being an author you properly acknowledge and respect the ideas of other writers.

Try not to use too long quotes unless it is necessary. If you use the quote with 40 or more words, you should use it as a block quotation. Indeed, almost every paper requires using the sources, because you cannot take all the information from your knowledge or previous experience. You need to use the works of the experts of the chosen field to achieve your personal goals.


Appendix is not a must, but if you use some complex equipment or stimulus materials, you should declare that in your appendix.


As well as the appendix, the footnotes are occasionally used to back up the substantial information of the text.

Tables and Figures

Some of the research papers in essay APA format need to present the qualitative data or some statistical results in the form of the tables. Such notions as Frequency, Size, Population, and Age are the examples of the qualitative data. The figures can be used in the different forms – graphs, images, illustrations and others.

APA and MLA styles are the most widely used essay formats. Follow the guidelines mentioned above when writing an APA paper and your professor will be impressed by your professional approach. Do not forget that your paper should also be free of plagiarism and grammar mistakes. Submit your paper on time, and your academic rating will increase for sure!