How to format an essay

How to format an essay using MLA, APA. and Chicago styles

It does not matter whether it is academic, informative, or a specific extended Essay structure. Exemplified essays for IB have very specific requirements. They must adhere to a particular academic style (most notably MLA, APA, Chicago)

  • Title Page
  • Abstract: This paragraph is composed of three paragraphs that total approximately 300 words and contain 100 words each.

Paragraph 1: Must include a research question and thesis along with an outline of the essay’s importance.

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Paragraph 2 – Key resources, scope, and limitations of research, etc.

Paragraph 3 – Conclusion you reached in your essay.

Table of Contents (with page numbers).

  • Research question
  • Thesis
  • Introduction
  • Arguments
  • Sub-headings
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix
  • Works cited (bibliography)
  • Introduction

This is the research question

  • Body
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography (Works Cited)

This outline format is great for writing an extended essay. Remember that each step must be completed by the student. Each academic assignment should contain the correct citations. There are many citation styles. However, MLA or APA are the most common and preferred by professors. These formatting styles differ, so students who do not follow specific guidelines for writing academic papers are often given poor grades. Learners who want to write flawless essays need to be able distinguish between MLA and APA.

Plagiarism is possible if you fail to follow the current citation guidelines and understand APA vs MLA. It can also lead to poor performance. Recent research has shown that students in undergraduate programs struggle to understand citation styles and to correctly cite references. What is APA and MLA? How can you decide if you should use APA or MLA? This comprehensive, but easy-to-understand post will explain all of this.

What’s the difference between MLA/APA?

MLA stands as Modern Language Association. APA stands to American Psychological Association. These styles are used for formatting academic papers. Both styles are used to credit the sources cited in writing. It is easier to write APA or MLA. It depends on how well a student understands the guidelines. Many people believe that APA is easier because it is used in sciences. However, what might seem simpler for one student might be difficult for another. Understanding MLA vs APA can help you present the content of your paper in a clear and concise manner, regardless of whether you prefer APA or MLA.

Who Uses APA vs MLA

College students often wonder if they should use APA or MLA. It all depends on what your professor is teaching. MLA is often preferred by the humanities, but APA is used more frequently in science courses. However, it is best to talk to your professor about the format you are expected to use. Besides, a basic understanding MLA vs APA format will ensure that you remain consistent, regardless of which style you choose.

What’s the Difference Between APA & MLA?

Although bot formatting style requires both in text citation and a listing of references, the first big difference is that the current APA Edition is 7th, while the MLA edition is 9th. Here are some major differences between MLA citation and APA citation.

Intext Citation

APA’s direct intext quotation uses a comma. It separates the author’s year, name, and page number. The year is not listed in MLA. A comma separates the name from the page number.

  • APA: (Davis 2019, 2019m, p.225)
  • MLA: (Davis 225)

If you are using APA format for indirect in-text quotations, you don’t have to include the page numbers. In MLA however, you must include the page number in parenthesis. If you wish to use an indirect quote from a secondary source, you must include the author’s name and add qtd.

You might, for example, be reading a book by Aron that uses a quote form Davis. If you wish to include this quote in your paper, MLA rules dictate that you mention Aron in both the in-text and works reference. Davis states that 30% of doctors are against euthanasia. in Aron 21).

Two or More Authors

In APA, two authors use the symbol & to separate their names. MLA uses the word “and”. Three or more authors will use the word “et al.” It can be used in both citation styles. Examples:

  • APA authors: (Davis & Aron (2016), p. 73).
  • Three or more authors: (Davis et al., 2016, p. 73)
  • MLA Two Authors: (Davis 73 and Aron 73).
  • Three or more authors: (Davis et al. 73)

Sources in the End of the Paper

Both formatting styles require that each source mentioned in an essay must be listed on a separate webpage for APA. In MLA, however, the word references will be used. The order in which authors are cited in APA is alphabetic, while works are listed chronologically. MLA, on the other hand is alphabetic and can be used for authors or works.

Formatting Rules

MLA doesn’t require a title page, but APA does. A running head is not necessary for academic papers that are formatted in APA. However, a professor may request a running head for your assignment. Every page should contain the words “Running Head” followed by a colon. The header should contain the last name of the MLA author, and the page number must be right-aligned. To help students understand the differences between MLA citations and APA citations, here are some additional formatting rules.

  • MLA does not require you to use subheadings or headings. APA requires that you use headings and/or subheadings to organize your paper.
  • MLA allows long quotes of 40 words or more, but it must be indented one table. If the quote is longer than four lines, it must be blocked or indented on two tabs in APA.
  • The title page of APA refers to the title page. It includes the title of the paper and the name of the student. It is important that the information be centred. In MLA, however, there is no title page. However, on the upper right corner you can add your first name and last name, class name, professor name, and date.

The MLA format and APA are intended to help you avoid plagiarising, which can result in a heavy penalty like being kicked out of the institution. If you still have problems citing correctly after reading this article, and wish to avoid plagiarism at all cost, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our experts will help you quickly understand the differences between APA and MLA.

APA Essay Format Basics

The formatting requirements for your paper may vary depending on the instructions of your instructor, but most likely, you will need to include a title, abstract, introduction and body as well as reference sections.

Title Page

A title page for your essay should be in APA format. Your name, school affiliation, and the title should all be included on this title page. Your teacher may ask for additional information like the title of the course, instructor name, and date.

  • The title of your paper must be brief and should clearly explain what the paper is about.
  • You can have a title that is longer than two lines, but not more than 12 words.


An abstract is a short summary of the paper that follows the title page. According to APA style, an abstract is not required for student papers. An instructor may ask for one. Abstract is a that you should include. It should not exceed 100 to 200 words. Instructor requirements may change. 1


An reference list of all sources should be included in your essay.

  • The reference section can be found at the end.
  • Bibliographies should be alphabetically listed by the last name and author.
  • References should be double-spaced


A APA-style essay requires that the text contain the essay’s actual content: the introduction, body, conclusion.

  • An essay should have at least one inch of uniform margins on its top, bottom, left, right, and sides.
  • The font size for the text should be Times New Roman 12.
  • Double space your paper
  • In the upper right corner of every page, you should place a page number.
  • Your paper should have the first word of every paragraph indented to one-half inches

A running head is added to professional papers (typically not student papers) at the top of each page. The running header is a simplified form of the title. It should not exceed 50 characters (including any spaces).

How To Write an Essay in MLA Format

You must first follow these guidelines to create an MLA essay. This is the business essay service.

Font 12pt Times New Roman


  • Double spacing everywhere
  • Spaces between paragraphs are not allowed.

Heading Example of the heading in the upper left corner of the essay’s 1st page.

  • Your name (John Smith).
  • Margot Robbie, Name of the Professor/Teacher
  • The class (Depends of course/class)
  • Date (20 April 2017).

Margins – One-inch margin on top, bottom, left, and right

Page Numbers Last name and page numbers must be included on every page as a “header” in the essay. If it is not, it will replace the text.

Title A title format for an essay must be used. It should be placed centered on the first line of the essay and in the same font and size that the essay.

Indentation Just press tab (1/2 inch)

Align. Align to the left-hand side and ensure that it is aligned equally.

Chicago Style

Chicago style is used in academic writing that emphasizes the source of origin. A paper’s success depends on its ability to properly cite and include footnotes.

Chicago Style Essay Format

You can apply the same bullet points structure to the Chicago essay format.

Title Page

  • Chicago style title page is all in spacing.
  • You should place the title and regular text down the page. If more than one line is required, you should double-space.
  • Next, in very middle of the page, center your full-name.
  • Below the page, you will find the course number and instructor’s names as well as the date in separate double-spaced columns.

Margins – Use one-inch margins to the right.


  • You should always be double spaced.
  • Avoid extra spaces between paragraphs.

Font is Times New Roman’s best option (12pt).

Page numbers

  • Last name and page number at the top of the page.
  • Numinate the title page. The title page should be the first page.

Footnotes – The Chicago format calls for footnotes to paraphrased or quoted passages.

Bibliography The bibliography looks very similar to MLA. Find the right information and then enter it in a specialized citation website.

Tips for Writing an Academic Paper

Although there is no right or wrong way to write a paper; however, there are some guidelines that will help you maintain a consistent workflow. Be it a college application essay, a research paper, informative essay, etc. The following is an outline of a standard essay format you should follow. This outline has been broken into steps for easier reference.

Pick a Good Topic

Many students struggle to choose a topic that is relevant for their essays. It is important that you pick a topic that you can fully explore and exceed your word limit. If you choose a topic that is interesting, this should not be a problem. It should not be too broad to make it difficult to find the right information in a single paper. Avoid being too specific or you might find yourself overwhelmed. Your instructor can help you with your essay writing.

As soon as you can, start your research

Before you begin writing, be sure to have an understanding of the material you are working on. Find compelling arguments and counterpoints. Facts, trivia, and facts are all good options. When it comes to information gathering, the sky is the limit.

Select Specific, Compelling Resources

You should feel comfortable speaking about the subject when you have some knowledge. You can start by selecting information that has been saved, bookmarked or saved and begin to find it. To complete your paper’s citations, you will need everything. Keep a list of websites, books, articles, and other resources that you can cite. Find out if you are able to reduce or expand the scope of your research.

A outline is created

Have a plan. This may be the most important part of the process. You can easily refer to a strong outline if you have a specific goal and a strong essay outline . The progress will be quick because you have direct links to the research you did before. A list of keywords can help to increase informational scope. It will be easier to identify each section’s direction and informational criteria if you have keywords.

Create a draft

Before you begin to write anything into your essay’s body, be sure to make sure the outline includes enough information to support any statement you decide to explore. Allow yourself to be creative with your paper. The content will develop over time if you stick to a 5-paragraph structure.

Ask for a peer review of the academic paper you are submitting

You will have the draft completed and ready to send out for peer reviews. Ask a classmate or a relative if they’re willing to give their input. Take as much feedback and make improvements as you can.

Final Draft

Go over the final draft at least twice before you send it in. Make sure to focus on small mistakes such as grammar and punctuation. Check that the essay structure you have created is correct. You can get assistance from our essay writing service if you need it.

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