Writing a Reflective Essay: Types and Structure

A Detailed Manual For Composing A Reflective Essay

“Entrusted with the mind-boggling weight of composing my first reflexive academic paper, I was sitting quietly and my fingers slowly moved over the dormant buttons of my PC keyboard. Where may I possibly start? Where may I possibly end? Considerations quickly found their way in my psyche as I visualized the slippery adventure on which I was going to embark.”

Reflective essays are those types of papers that appear to be quite simple, but then very difficult to compose, all simultaneously. Reflective essays comprise a critical evaluation of the private experience and with the correct guidance, they aren’t hard to assemble. A reflective essay is similar to an entry of a diary, then again, others will peruse it so it needs a lot of rationality and a decent structure. In such a manner, a reflective essay is much similar to some other essays.

In the article, we investigate how to compose an incredible reflective essay, analyzing how to create a decent structure and some recommendations on the writing process. We’ve even tossed in an illustration of a reflective paper as well, making this a definitive guide for anybody requiring help in writing a reflective academic paper.

What Do We Call a Reflective Paper?

When you write a reflective essay, an author fundamentally inspects his background, henceforth the term ‘reflective’. The motivation behind composing a reflective paper is to allow the author to relate to a specific private experience, yet to likewise investigate how the individual in question has changed or gained from those events. Reflective writing can be shown in different configurations; however, you’ll regularly observe it in a learning log arrangement or journal entry. Thus, journal entries specifically are used to pass on how the author’s considerations have and advanced through the span of a specific period.

You can change the style of a reflective essay contingent upon the target group in question. Reflective papers can be scholastic or may be highlighted more extensively as a piece of a general bit of composing for a journal, for example. For class tasks, while the presentation view can change, the aim mostly continues as before: teachers expect students to move understudies to contemplate a specific learning knowledge or a succession of events. Here are some commonplace illustrations of reflective essay formats, which you might require to write:

An Emphasis on Self-Improvement:

A sort of reflective essay regularly used by teachers as a procedure for helping students to figure out how to analyze their background to advance emotional development and improvement. The paper gives the student a superior comprehension of educational material.

An Emphasis on the Literature:

This sort of paper is expected to give a rundown of the writing, after which it is connected to the students’ background.

Though you can change the style of a reflective essay, there is an element that will generally stay intact, it is the structure. You might be alleviated to realize that, like most any paper, a reflective essay commonly contains an introductory part, the body consisting of several paragraphs, and a conclusion.

What Do I Expound on?

As you decide on the content of your paper, you have to remember that a reflective essay is exceptionally personal and planned for connecting with readers or a target group. Furthermore, there’s substantially more to a reflective essay than simply telling a story. You should most likely reflect (more on this afterward) on your life experience by demonstrating how it affected your consequent behavior and how your life has subsequently changed.

In the beginning, you should consider some significant events throughout your life that have truly affected you, in a good way, in a bad way or both. Some ordinary reflection essay topics may be about a real experience, an envisioned experience, a particular item or spot, an individual who had an impact on you, or something you have watched or perused. In case you are writing a reflective essay as a feature of a scholastic exercise, odds are your teacher will request that you center around a specific scene, for example, when you needed to settle on a significant choice – and think about what the results were. Note likewise, that the result of the experience is particularly significant in a reflective essay; if you don’t mention it, you will be ‘telling fairy tales’.


It sounds self-evident, yet the reflective procedure shapes the center of creating such essays, so you hit the nail on the head from the start. You have to truly consider how the individual experience you have concentrated on affected or transformed you. Use your recollections and feelings of the experience to point out the suggestions for you on an individual level.

When you’ve picked the theme of your essay, it’s extremely significant to research it attentively and invest a great deal of energy attempting to consider it vividly. Record all that you can recollect about it, depicting it as plainly and completely as you can. Remember your five senses as you do this, and make sure to make use of adjectives to portray your experience. At this stage, you’d better make notes using short word combinations, however, you have to guarantee that you’re recording your reactions, discernment, and your life experience.

When you’ve effectively purged the substance of your memory, you have to begin thinking. An incredible method to do this is to choose a few reflection questions which will probably enable you to ponder the effect and enduring impacts of your experience. These are some helpful questions you can think of:

  • What have you found out about yourself because of the events?
  • Have you got better as a result of it? How?
  • Did it have any good or bad influence on you?
  • If you remember the past, what might you have done any other way?
  • Why do you think you chose the specific decisions that you did? Do you think these were the correct decisions?
  • What are your general considerations on life experience? Is it true that it was a helpful learning knowledge? What explicit abilities or points of view did you procure subsequently?

These inquiries should help to begin your process of reflection. Keep in mind, asking yourself bunches of inquiries is vital to guaranteeing that you ponder your life experience– an aptitude that is at the core of writing an extraordinary reflective academic paper.

Use patterns of reflection before the learning process, during it, and after it to guarantee that you keep up an exclusive quality of the analysis. For instance, before you truly plunge into the process, think of questions, for example, what may occur (with respect to life experience)? Are there any potential difficulties to remember? What information is the best arranged to get closer to life events? At that point, as you’re arranging and writing, these inquiries might be valuable: what’s going on inside the learning process and in what way? Is the learning process working out true to expectations? Do I manage to solve problems effectively? Is there anything that should be done to guarantee that the learning process is fruitful? What am I gaining from this? By getting such a system, you guarantee that you are monitoring the reflective process that ought to support your work.

The Outline

There is an exceptionally helpful hint: even though you may feel solid and steady with all that time spent thinking, don’t begin composing your essay until you have made up a complete, balanced arrangement! Your paper will be quite a lot more understandable, your thoughts passed on with preciseness, and your paper will probably get higher grades. This is a particularly significant move when you’re handling a reflective paper – there can be an inclination for individuals to get somewhat ‘lost’ as they recollect their background in an unpredictable and disorganized way. In any case, if you build up a detailed plan (this is equivalent to an ‘outline’) and guarantee you stick to it like a traveler to the map, you ought to do fine as you leave in a definitive advance creating your article. In case you need further persuading on how significant to structure your essay is, we’ve abridged the key advantages of making a thorough paper plan beneath:

A plan enables you to build up the essential details that you intend to add to your paper – this is incredible for helping you to choose any unnecessary data, which can be deleted to make your essay short and up to the point.

Think about the plan as of a guide – you decide ahead of time the questions you wish to explore and talk about in your essay. Your work will more probably have an unmistakable through-line of an idea, making it simpler for the reader to get it. It’ll likewise enable you to abstain from missing any key data.

Since the plan is the paper’s ‘skeleton’, you’ll spare an enormous measure of time when writing as you’ll be indeed acquainted with what you need to state. So, you’ll have the option to give more time to proofreading and editing the essay and guaranteeing it exceeds the highest expectations.

Presently you’re acquainted with the advantages of using a plan for your reflective essay, it is significant that you realize how to write it. It may be impressively unique in other typical academic papers as well.  Yet, what remains the same, is that you have to begin your outline by writing the introduction, body, and conclusion. We’ll dwell on this in more detail.


Similar to the case with all academic writing, your reflective essay must start within the introduction that includes both a catchy sentence and your thesis statement. The purpose of having a catchy sentence is to attract the attention of your target group or reader from the start. You should depict the thrilling parts of your story in the first paragraph to stand the best odds of holding your reader’s attention. Read again the opening citation of this article – did it catch your eye and urge you to read further? The thesis is a brief synopsis of the focal point of the essay, which for this situation is a specific experience that had a great impact on you. Make sure to give a fast review of your experience – don’t give an excessive amount of data away or your reader will get impartial.


Next, you outline the body of your paper. This can be the most difficult part of the whole paper. Have you tried describing a story to someone just for them to tell you to be more laconic? The key here is to put a lot of time into outlining the body, and you can draw on the tips to enable you to do this right:

You should try to use a chronological approach. This implies working on all that you need to address as it occurred in time. This type of approach will guarantee that your work is precise and systematic. Remember that a reflective essay doesn’t need to be direct, yet working sequentially will keep you from getting a random memory from your experience. Spread out the significant components of your experience in chronological order – this will at that point help you to perceive how to get your story together.

Make sure that the body of your reflective paper is well centered and contains appropriate evaluation and reflection. The body ought not just to sum up your experience, it ought to investigate the effect that the experience had on your life, just as the lessons that you have learned subsequently. The accentuation ought to, for the most part, be on reflection. A reflective state won’t just give readers knowledge on your experience, it’ll feature your character and your capacity to manage or adjust to specific circumstances.


In the final part of your reflective essay, you should concentrate on uniting your piece by giving a summary of both points, and what you have learned subsequently. You should try to add a couple of sentences on why and how your behaviors and practices have changed. You should also think about how your personal traits and views have been influenced, for instance: what about your critical thinking abilities? What can be said about the way you deal with your problems? What might you do in another way in similar circumstances later on? What have you done to put into action everything that you have gained from your experience? Remember that your teacher will search for the proof of reflection to meet an extremely high requirement.

Congrats – you currently have the apparatuses to make an intensive and precise outline which should place you in great stead for a definitive phase of writing an essay and writing upon the whole.

Compose Your Essay

Like with every written task, plunging into your chair and to take a pen and a sheet of paper (or rather than that -place your fingers to your PC keyboard) can be overwhelming. Be that as it may, you have spent a lot of time and effort making up a well-written outline for your essay, you ought to be ready, which will do the process of writing as easy as it can be. The following ought to help to make writing your essay easier.

  • To figure out the tone and style which your writing ought to be, read other reflective papers and articles in different journals and papers, for example.
  • Try not to contemplate how to start writing your essay; simply begin writing and you could always return later to alter anything you’re not excited about. Your first draft copy won’t probably be your best exposition writing work yet it’s crucial to know that the sooner you begin writing, the more additional time you will have to continue changing your paper until it’s ideal. Try not to avoid using a free-stream technique, writing and recording your considerations and emotions when you recollect them. In any case, ensure that you stick to your outline. It is your guide which will guarantee your writing doesn’t distract too far from the topic.
  • For each point you write about an event or occasion, back it by depicting how you were affected, using particular instead of dubious words to pass on precisely how you felt.
  • You should write your paper from the first person guaranteeing that the tone of your essay is extremely personal and reflects your character.
  • If you have to, read again our notes on making a plan. As you write your essay, present your musings gradually, making sure to concentrate on your key results.
  • Consider beginning your introduction with a short funny story or citation to get your reader’s interest, or other catchy methods, for example, flashbacks.
  • You should choose your words cautiously to appropriately express your emotions and feelings. Keep in mind that a reflective paper has a descriptive segment, thus should have a wide scope of descriptive words, adjectives. Keep away from dubious modifiers, for example, ‘alright’ or ‘pleasant’ as they don’t generally offer much understanding into your emotions and character. Be increasingly precise – this will make your composition more captivating.
  • Be straightforward with your emotions and assessments. Keep in mind this is a reflective assignment and is the one spot you can unreservedly concede – with no repercussions – that you fizzled at a specific undertaking. When evaluating your paper, your teacher will anticipate a profound degree of reflection, not a basic survey of your experiences and emotions. Demonstrating profound reflection requires you to move past what is on the surface. Be very basic about your experience and your reaction to it. In your assessment and examination, guarantee that you make valuable conclusions, adding thoughts from outside the experience you had. Keep in mind that you can speak the truth about your emotions without writing it directly. Use words that work for you and match your character.
  • When you’ve completed the process of exploring and thinking about your life experience, ask yourself these: what did I especially like from the experience and why? Thinking back, how effective has the procedure been? Consider your emotions following the events and how they are different now; you can assess the distinction between your prompt and current observations. Asking yourself these questions will help you to accomplish reflective tasks viably and proficiently.

Try not to avoid using different punctuation marks. It allows keeping your composition energetic! Isn’t that right?

  • If you truly need to stir your reader’s creative mind, you can use symbolism to make a striking image of your life experience.
  • Ensure that you feature your defining moment. Without this minute, your subsequent emotions and musings aren’t as trustworthy and your contention not as solid.
  • Don’t neglect to continue emphasizing the life lessons you have learned from your experience.

Next Tip – Use More Sources

A reflective bit of writing is centered around personal life experience, it’s significant you attract different sources to exhibit the comprehension of your experience from a hypothetical point of view. It’ll demonstrate a degree of investigation – and a standard of unwavering quality in what you’re guaranteeing – in case you’re ready to approve your different points of view that you find. Consider potential sources, papers, studies, books and even articles from magazines. The extra sources you choose to add to your work depend exceptionally on your field of study. Examining a wide scope of sources will demonstrate that you have read a lot on your subject, that you have an understanding of the accessible books regarding the topic of your essay, and that you have thought about more extensive implications of the literature pieces for your paper. To add different sources into your paper demonstrates that you know about the multi-dimensional character of both the learning and critical thinking process.

Reflective essay example

If you need some motivation, you should explore our sample of a little reflective essay, which can become a valuable beginning for you when you start to write yours.

Several Final Notes to Recollect

The way to creating a reflective paper is showing what lessons you have learned from your experience and why and how you have been formed by these lessons and what the results are.

The reflective thinking starts with you – you should deliberately try to recognize and inspect your contemplation in connection to a specific event. Don’t doubt to find out any earlier information or knowledge on the subject, that will enable you to recognize why you have shaped certain conclusions regarding the matter. Keep in mind that the key to creating a reflective academic paper is the assessment of your attitudes, presumptions, and qualities, so be forthright about how you think. Creating reflective papers can be very useful, helping you recognize and explain your qualities and shortcomings, especially as far as any gaps in your knowledge are concerned, that you might have. It’s a decent method to make better your basic reasoning abilities, as well. It empowers you to embrace a contemplative stance in analyzing your experience and how you learn/understand them.

In case you are experiencing issues with beginning the writing process, why not use mind-mapping that would assist you with structuring your reasoning and thoughts, empowering you to create an appropriate paper. Making a mind map will guarantee that your content is written in an extremely methodical manner that will be simple for your mentor to pursue. Here’s a summary of this article, that may also help to make a mind map:

  1. Define the topic of your essay.
  2. Write down all the thoughts and ideas that are somehow related to the topic. If you need, any thoughts or ideas together, draw diagrams, etc.
  3. Let your plans and ideas multiply, realizing that you will always have sufficient energy to alter your work.
  4. Think about how your thoughts are linked with one another, at that point start to write.

Lastly, remember that in spite of the fact that there are elucidating components in a reflective paper, we can’t underline enough how vital it is that your work is explanatory and embraces a reflective stance regarding your experience and the lessons you have gained from it.

We wish you all the best!

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