Tips on how to Write a Reflection Essay

Tips on how to Write a Reflection Essay

Your guide on how to write a reflection essay

If you don’t know how to write a reflection essay, this article will help you write the perfect essay. To start off though, it is important to understand what a reflection essay is.

A reflection essay refers to the kind of writing where the writer is supposed to examine their own experiences in life. The writer is supposed to write about these experiences and explore how they have developed, grown or changed as a result of them.

This kind of paper allows the writer to communicate how a specific experience, lesson, article or lecture has shaped their understanding of material related to the class. The perfect example of a reflection essay is the Blog Reflective Essay which was written by a professional writer.

A reflection essay is subjective and personal though it still maintains an academic tone and should be cohesively and thoroughly organized.

Important points on how to write a reflection essay

Knowing how to write a reflection essay is simple and here are a few points to put into consideration:

  • Reactions and thoughts

While writing a reflection paper, whether it is on literature or personal experience ensure you need your reactions and thoughts to the experience or reading. Make a presentation of your feelings regarding what you have read then explain them.

Also, you can use the paper to analyze literature. Make sure the paper is cohesive and that it directly refers to a specific quote or passage in material that has inspired the feeling. Also, you can include personal experiences in the paper but do not be overly dependent on it. The best thing is to base your reflections and reactions to the material of your subject.

  • Do not summarize

The reflection paper should not be a summary of what you have either done or read. Make sure the thoughts and ideas in the essay flow freely. The notion of this paper is to describe your analysis and reactions to an experience or reading but it is far more formal as such, informal language should be left out.

  • Organize thoughts

As you continue with this guide on how to write a reflection essay, bear in mind that it is supposed to be tackled like any other essay. This means you have to include an introduction that describes the kind of expectations you have. Also, you will have to summarize conclusions you have drawn in the process.

The body of the essay is supposed to provide an explanation of how you deduced your conclusions and why by providing concrete details related to your experience and reading. Write a conclusion that is related to the expectations you have or come up with another analysis or conclusion in consideration of your reactions and feelings.

Important tips to remember

Now that you understand the steps to follow, what else do you need to know before writing a reflection essay? Take note of the following:

Brainstorm ideas

  • Start by identifying main ideas, summarizing the reading, lesson or experience. This should be done in two or three sentences that are descriptive but straight to the point.
  • Write down content that stands out and the reason(s) its stands out. You could also write a short story or summary of events that occurred in the course of your experience and which stand out. You should also include sensory options, sounds or images into your work as well.
  • Chart things out in three columns as it will make it easy for you to keep track of ideas. In the first column, list the key experiences and main points which can include anything the speaker or author deemed as important and specific details that stood out to you as well. In the second column, list personal responses to points you have highlighted in the first one and mention how your experiences, beliefs and subjective values influence your response. In the last column, describe the extent of personal response you intend to share in the paper.
  • Ask yourself questions that will guide your response such as whether reading, experience or lecture leaves you with questions and whether they are the same questions you previously had or they developed upon completion

Organize the paper

  • Writing your essay in a simple easy to understand format is an indication that you know how to write a reflection essay. Ideally, the number of words should be anywhere between 300 and 700. The only time you should exceed this word count is when you are specifically asked to do so by your instructor.
  • Introduce expectations you have regarding the reading, experience or lesson. For a lecture or reading, you are supposed to state this based on the abstract, title or the introduction while for experience it should be on the basis of prior knowledge.
  • After writing the introduction, include your thesis statement which should be a sentence explaining your transition from expectations of your last conclusion. Ideally, the explanation is supposed to indicate whether your expectations were met. The thesis also provides cohesion and focus for the paper.
  • Explain the conclusion in the essays body. It is important to explain conclusions as it helps establish how you reached your conclusions through concrete details and logic. Bear in mind the paper is not supposed to be a summary but rather, it is supposed to draw specific, concrete details from the experience or text so as to provide context for the conclusions. At the same time, make sure each idea or conclusion developed has its own paragraph.
  • Make a conclusion of the summary and ensure it succinctly describes the overall feeling, understanding and lesson you got from the experience or reading. The understandings or conclusions you make are supposed to support your conclusion and while two or three might conflict, most of them are supposed to be in support of your conclusion.

Additional tips on how to write a reflection essay

  • Reveal your information wisely-To some extent, a reflection paper is personal since it includes subjective opinions and feelings. Rather than reveal everything about yourself, ask yourself, carefully whether it is an appropriate addition to the essay. If there is a personal issue that you feel uncomfortable about and it affects your conclusions, it is a wise idea not to include it.
  • Maintain an academic/professional tone-Though reflection papers are objective and personal, you are supposed to keep your thoughts sensible and at the same time, well organized. You should not drag others into your writing. If the experience you have decided to reflect on was made uncomfortable, unpleasant or difficult by someone, it is advisable to still maintain detachment. For instance, rather than saying “ Frank was a rude jerk” say “One man spoke harshly and abruptly, making me feel insecure”. Also, you can use the first person pronoun while writing your paper to explain your opinions and subjective feelings. Do not use slang and be careful to counter check your grammar and spelling.
  • Review the paper at sentence level-An essay that is well written and clear must have sentences that are well written as well. This means your sentences should be focused and every sentence should to have a verb and a subject. The length of the sentences should vary as well but include complex sentences and single subject verbs with multiple clauses. Make sure that the tone used in the paper is natural and conversational in order to keep it from appearing to be too wooden.
  • Use transitions as they help introduce specific details and also shift an argument. Additionally, they make it possible for you to illustrate one detail or experience that is directly linked to your conclusion. Some of these transitions include “for instance”, “for example” and “as a result” etc.
  • Relate classroom information that is relevant to the reading or experience. For example, if it is literary criticism, mention how ideas and beliefs about literary theory are addressed and if it’s a social experience, relate to specific social patterns or ideas that were discussed in class.
The following samples will help you know how to write a reflection essay:




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