Writing a Reflective Essay

Guidelines and Tips by The Academic Papers on Writing a Reflective Essay


What is a reflective essay? What does it mean to do a personal reflection? What is a reflective summary? What is reflective writing? How do you write a personal essay? These are the queries being made daily by thousands of personal who want to get guidance and information as they have been assigned a reflection essay. The current article aims at providing answers to all such queries. In particular, the purpose of the writer is to provide a comprehensive guideline on how to write a reflective essay.

What is a Reflective Essay?

Through a reflective essay, the writer explores an aspect of the world and describes how it has affected him/her personally. The purpose of reflective writing is more than just engaging your reader. You have to tell the reader how an incident has impacted you what changes it brought to you personally. It is a type of telling a story but story itself is a part of the essay while remaining essay is a discussion or description of your own thoughts or feelings. For example how the death of your dear one impacted you? What difficulties you have gone through during your school life being a black student due to racism? You are a migrant living in U.S, how do you feel about new immigration orders signed by the president? In brief, we can say that:

  • In a reflective essay, you write about something that brought significant change to your life such as an accident, a death of someone, an illness or any issue related to your personal life.
  • In the personal reflection, you may write about something that is very annoying in your life such as racism, social inequalities, discrimination or minority etc
  • You do a personal reflection about an event that occurred in your life and describe how you feel about it during, before and after the occurrence.
  • Remember that there is a difference in writing a story and a reflection essay.

What is the Purpose of Writing a Reflective Essay or a Personal Reflection?

By assigning a reflection paper or a reflective essay the teachers are aimed at following learning outcomes;

  1. The student will gain a deep knowledge about the world aspect he/she is writing about.
  2. The student will learn to write an effective method of writing the introduction, main body and conclusion of the essay.
  3. The student will learn to express his/her own thoughts, opinions on any issue in an appropriate manner.
  4. The student will learn about the style of reflective writing.

Tips On Writing the Reflection Part of the Essay?

Reflection is the most important and difficult part of a personal or reflective essay. While writing this part of the essay, you first need to think deeply about yourself, make an outline of the impacts and changes any particular aspect of the world had on you. Remember that you are writing about your memories on a personal experience, you need to express your feelings and reflect on these feelings using your own thoughts and opinions. You can make your expressions powerful through hindsight.

You will tell the reader what you have learned through the particular experience about yourself and how it helped you grow or how you have developed. In the reflection part of the writing, you will be using phrases like; “looking back, I can remember that…”, “now I know …”

Points to Consider Before You Start Writing Your Essay:

In the first step of writing a reflective essay, you need to do some analysis, research and outline of the essay.

  1. In the first step, you need to make an assessment of the essay question given to you.
  2. Read carefully the marking criteria as it will help you stick to the important points and you will follow right direction while writing your reflective essay.
  3. Make sure to maintain the confidentiality and anonymity of the personal involved because a reflective essay is always based on a real life incident which involves many people besides you.
  4. In the description part of the essay, describe the whole scene by answering what, when, how, who and why like a question.
  5. Note down the main issues or points you have identified related to your experience.
  6. Find relative literature that may support your opinion as it will make your essay authentic.

The Reflective Essay Plan:

Write Introduction of the Reflective Essay:
In the introduction part clearly state what your essay is about? What is the essay question? What is the main focus of the essay? Why it is important to write about this topic or question? How the essay is going to give answer…i.e. reflective mode?

Main Body:
In the main body, you need to describe the event or experience of your life. Write an evaluation of the event like what was good or bad and how did you feel about it. Analyze the event using cause and effect or compare and contrast method.

Start the conclusion of essay writing a summary of the event you have explored. Reinstate the purpose of the essay and offer your suggestion related to the needs you have identified in the essay.


Albert Barkley

SEO Expert and Blog Writer at The Academic Papers UK!