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Reflective Writing

Understanding A Reflective Essay And How To Write It

A reflective essay is a unique paper that focuses on your personal past experiences. Your lecturer will ask you to write the essay to determine how much content you have absorbed and how well you have been able to integrate the content into the real world.

Reflective essays are usually part of most college and graduate school admissions where the officials ask students to write about a given experience. This helps the officials to know more about the student.

Benefits of a reflective essay

In addition to helping the lecturer know whether you grasped the information taught in class, the reflective essay also gives you a chance to think more about yourself and determine whether you understood what was being taught. The essay also helps you to gauge your writing skills

What should be in a reflective essay?

Whilst the essay may seem easy and casual, it needs to have a clear objective and be organised. A good essay should have the following parts:

Introduction: this is where you give your readers information about the topic that you are writing about, general feelings that you had before the experience and a hint of the conclusion.

Body: just like in any other writing this is the meat of the paper. You should include details about the experience. This includes: opinions, observations, and lessons learnt.

A traditional reflective essay has a three-paragraph body that covers separate topics or ideas. If you have more ideas you should go ahead and write a longer body. All you need to do is to ensure that all the paragraphs flow well into each other.

Conclusion: just like when writing other essays you should conclude the essay by restating the topic and mention a little bit about your main ideas.

References: even if you will be discussing your experiences, you most likely borrowed a few ideas from other scholars. You should write down the resources you used in their correct format.

Reflective essay writing tips

For you to pull off a great paper you need to follow these tips:

Do not get sloppy: whilst the essay is casual than other forms of academic writing and you do not have to undertake extensive research and citation, you do not have a reason to be sloppy. The punctuation, clarity, logic and grammar should be perfect.

Consider the elements: a good reflective essay has three elements: analysis, synthesis and evaluation.

The analysis forms the basis of the paper. Here you need to analyse how your responses relate to your text.

In synthesis you have to see how the various parts of text work together and how they impact your paper.

Finally in evaluation you should reflect further on your experience and let your readers know the lessons that you learn from the experience.


A reflective essay focuses on you, but you should ensure that it follows all the essay writing rules. To ensure that the paper is free of errors you should proofread it more than twice. It’s also wise to have another person go through it.

February 11, 2016

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