How to Write the Best Reflective Essay
Post date: January 4, 2018
Tips on Writing Better Essays
Writing essays is an interesting intellectual exercise which requires the writer to prove their point of view by providing convincing arguments within a certain word count limit. A lot of students don’t see it as interesting intellectual exercise but rather as a sophisticated method of torture. In fact, there’s nothing difficult in writing good essays, but if you’re repeating the same mistakes over and over again it becomes very difficult to understand how to start writing better. It’s time to rejoice because these 4 tips are the best essay help that you can get:
Read essays of other people
The more essays of other people you will read the faster you will be able to develop your own writing style. Interestingly, it is useful to read not only well written essays but also essays that are written poorly. Why, you may ask? The latter gives you an understanding how you shouldn’t write while the former makes you understand how to start writing better. Read essays of different level – both from academics and your peers. Read essay written on different topics and of different types, because they may be written in different styles and use different kinds of arguments which will improve your understanding and broaden your writing skills greatly. Use critical thinking while reading: what you like and what you don’t like? Are these essays persuasive or not? Is argument strong or weak? Is it a balanced essay or not? Also try to learn new techniques and stylistic devices.
Broaden vocabulary and learn to use it appropriately
If you have an excellent vocabulary it will help you to say exactly what you want in the most understandable and concise manner. If you don’t, most probably you will say a lot of words which can convey little meaning. Broadening vocabulary is something that a good essay writer should do continuously to become better and better at writing.
Here are the best ways to build vocabulary:
- Make a “word a day” subscription
- Read a lot of books in different genres and look in a dictionary every time you encounter an unfamiliar word
- Use a thesaurus (but find examples of correct usage of words when you’re using them for the first time)
- Learn roots, suffixes and prefixes
- Start a thick vocabulary book
When you learn new words start using them right away, otherwise you might easily forget them. And remember: never use sophisticated words just to show how smart you are. Use words only when they’re appropriate.
Use words that develop an argument
Don’t repeat the same words over and over again but instead use words that are convincing and create a structure. Use words like “however,” “furthermore” and “moreover.”
Refer to opinions of others
Quoting other people’s opinions, especially if they’re experts and citing original sources, especially if they’re reliable and respected ones will increase the quality of your essay greatly.
Best Reflective Essay Writing Tips
Reflective essay is a piece of writing that reflects certain life experience. It can be compared to the diary entry, with the main difference that other people will read it. That certainly implies more requirements in terms of structure and coherence. Let’s take a look at what can reflective essay be written about:
- real life experience
- imaginary situation
- person who had an influence on you
- something you’ve heard about, read, or watched
- special object or place
The process of writing an excellent reflective essay consists of the following six steps:
Step #1: Choose a topic
In case you need to choose the topic you can google topic ideas or look at the list above for inspiration. Here are some examples of the topics:
- Visiting my mom’s summerhouse where I spent my childhood
- How giving food to poor people during Thanksgiving made me feel better
- My experience of helping others during last-year’s Christmas holidays
Step #2: Think or learn more about your topic
If you’re writing about something that you’ve heard or watched, you need to learn more about it. And in case you’re writing about your experience, you should spend some time recollecting it in details so that you won’t miss anything while writing. Use a piece of paper and pen to write everything that comes to mind.
Step #3: Brainstorm
Write down everything that pops up in regards to your subject. Think about noises, colors, tastes, smells, sounds, pictures – everything you can imagine! Use adjectives which describe your sensory experiences. You can start with short phrases and use them to form complete sentences and paragraphs later.
Step #4: Select reflection questions
Select one of the reflection questions listed below.
Choose at least 3 and answer them:
- What have I noticed?
- What were my feelings about this?
- Why was I feeling this way?
- Why was this experience unique? Where there other people who experienced it differently? Why was their experience different?
- Did this experience change me? How has it changed me?
- Are there things which I might have done differently?
- Is this experience similar to other things which I have experienced before?
- Can I use this experience to help someone else?
- Was this event or experience typical of me?
- Was it a bad or a good thing?
- Can I apply the things I learned from it in my future life?
- Have I learned any new skills?
- Can it help my future career?
- Did this experience expand my consciousness?
- Was it emotionally difficult for me?
- Have this experience influenced my understanding of God, religion or spirituality?
- Could this experience make me understand that someone else was right and I was wrong?
- Would I do it once again?
Step #5: Answer the questions that you have selected
When you have selected three or more questions from the list above, answer them. Don’t try too hard to make the form perfect at this stage. Focus on expressing as many good ideas as possible.
Step #6: Decide on the meaning
One last thing you need to do before you’re ready to write a reflective essay is to decide on the meaning. What is a single most important thing that you have learned from the experience that you’re describing? What memory will you carry on? What key impact did it have on you? This central thing will be your thesis statement.
There’s more to know than these six steps if you want to know how to write a great reflective essay. For instance, it is crucial to know which topic is an interesting one and which is not. Therefore, it is recommended to spend more time choosing reflective essay topics. Another advice which should be given is to read good reflective essay examples which earned their authors the highest grades. It will help you to understand what differentiates a good reflective essay from a bad one. In general, the more reflective essays you will write, the more you will understand what it takes to compose a good one.
Use these best essay help tips and forget about problems with essay writing!