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Home Blog Reflective Essay Guide A Step by Step Guide to Writing a Reflective Essay

A Step by Step Guide to Writing a Reflective Essay

 A Step by Step Guide to Writing a Reflective Essay

If you have been assigned the task of writing a reflective essay, it will be an excellent opportunity to polish your creativity and writing skills.

A reflective essay is slightly different from other essays as it requires a personal point of view of a chosen subject. Thus, you need to analyze a particular subject with your personal experience, understanding, and knowledge.

The only key to write a reflective paper is that you need to be more expressive. The more expressive you are, the merrier it will be for your essay. Feel free to talk about life experiences that are valid to your topic. Writing your reflections can actually be a strength in this kind of essay.

If this sounds like something that interests or concerns you, then keep reading! This blog contains every detail necessary to produce an impressive reflective essay.

What Is a Reflective Essay?

A reflective essay describes an experience or event and analyzes the meaning of that particular experience and the lessons it delivers. One thing that makes it a reflective essay is that the writer analyzes an event of the past from the present.

When writing a reflective essay, you are required to open up about your emotions and thoughts to paint a clear picture of your personality, history, and individual traits.

It is required that you include a description and a vivid summary of the experience; it will make the reader feel that he has experienced it as well. Moreover, you need to explain your reactions, thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

A good reflective paper should be creative, insightful, and authentic. It needs to express your opinions on a specific topic interestingly so that the reader wants to follow what you're saying without getting bored or leaving it before reading.

Reflective Essay Format

The reflective essay format is similar to other essay formats. Here is the format for you to learn how to start a reflective essay:

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Reflective Essay Format and Template (PDF)

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How to Start a Reflective Essay?

Writing a great reflective essay is a chance to polish your skills of writing and enhance your creativity. However, sometimes, it gets difficult and confusing to write it. There are many high schools as well as college students who get confused thinking where to start.

So, we have compiled some steps that will help you to write a perfect essay.

Let’s discuss them in detail.

  1. 1. Choose Your Topic Carefully
  2. If you are given the freedom to choose a topic and don’t have any idea regarding it, the best way is to brainstorm and research some trending and good topic ideas. Unfortunately, a common mistake when writing a reflective essay is to choose a topic that is too broad or too narrow.

  3. 2. Research About Your Subject
  4. Make sure you do thorough research on your topic first. Close your eyes and start imagining or remembering. Then, watch, listen, and read the information regarding your topic.

  5. 3. Brainstorm
  6. Before you even start writing, brainstorm your ideas first. It is always a wise step to take before writing anything.

  7. 4. Choose Reflection Questions
  8. Take a look at the questions below to get a better idea:

    • What did I notice?
    • What do I feel about it?
    • Why am I feeling this way?
  9. 5. Answer the Questions You Have Chosen
  10. After selecting your questions, you need to give their answers. Start from one essay question; make sure you answer it properly. After that, head on to the next one.

  11. 6. Recognize Your Experience Meaning
  12. Before you even start writing, you need to choose the most significant lesson you have learned from your experience. This “most significant lesson or thing” is going to be the thesis of your essay.

  13. 7. Follow the Structure
  14. Like all the other essays, the reflective essay also has the same format, which comprises the introduction, body, and conclusion paragraph.

    Therefore, follow these steps and makes your essay writing process easy.

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How to Write a Reflective Essay?

Here are some steps that you should follow when you start writing your reflective paper.

  1. 1. Write the Introduction
  2. To understand and know how to start a reflective essay introduction, you must first understand that an introduction is a piece of brief information about the main topic and its background.

    In the reflective essay introduction, you will recognize the subject and provide the reader with an overview of the impression you have taken from it. Therefore, the introductory paragraph of your reflective essay needs to include a thesis statement that will act as a focal point of your paper.

  3. 2. Body Paragraphs
  4. The first body paragraph should mention the impactful impression your subject has made on you. Then, provide relevant facts to support your thesis statement.

    Moreover, the body of your essay will also describe most of the ideas you touched on in your introduction.

  5. 3. Write a Conclusion
  6. Restate your thesis statement and summarize all the reasons you have mentioned in the essay’s body paragraphs. After that, sum up your essay with your final thoughts on the subject; close your essay with some reflective thoughts.

  7. 4. Proofread and Edit
  8. Never submit your essay without editing or proofreading. Even though you have spent hours of effort and put a lot of hard work in doing your essay, your essay will have no worth if you haven’t proofread and edited it.

    Here is the reflective essay outline sample for your ease.

Reflective Essay Outline

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Reflective Essay Outline (PDF)

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Reflective Essay Examples

We have compiled some perfect reflective essay examples below to help you get started on your paper.

Personal Reflective Essay Examples

A personal or self-reflective essay explains a personal experience and how the narrator feels about it. It can include anything from a travel experience to a picnic or anything else. Get the samples below.

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Personal Reflective Essay Examples (PDF)
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English Reflective Essay Examples (PDF)

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Reflective Essay Topics

Check out these reflective essay ideas on the most common subjects you can write about:

  • Something from your imagination
  • Something you have experienced in real
  • A special object
  • Something you have seen, heard, read, watched, touched, or smelled.

We are sure these subjects must have sparked your imagination, but here are a few essay topics that will help you get the bigger picture. In addition, these topics will help you understand the kind of topics teachers like to assign.

  • The desert, mountains, countryside, or beach
  • A special room or hideaway
  • The house you grew up
  • Home of some relative
  • A person that taught me how to improve reflective writing skills
  • New Experiences
  • When your piece of writing published
  • Important conversation
  • The older man line of thought
  • The time you overcame your fears

A list of topics will help you get a picture of what good ideas are like and how to come up with one of your own.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long is a reflective essay?

The reflective essay should be between 300 and 500 words. However, it will vary according to the chosen topic.

What is the purpose of a reflective essay?

A reflective essay is a great opportunity for the author to explore what has happened in their life and show how this specific event may have changed them.

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