Reflective essay writing is well spread task in schools and colleges all over the world

An article is about how to prepare and write reflective essay using all tactical-literary techniques.

Reflective essay always has the goal of convincing the reader (listener) of something, changing or fixing his opinion on a particular issue (if the author’s and reader’s opinions coincide.

Therefore, the basis of reasoning is one main idea, which core is clearly formulated, understandable and justified from different positions.

Writing reflective essays on a free topic

Step one. Formulate thought you want to prove clearly.

You can check the success of this step in the following way. Read the wording to several people: if they do not have questions about your position (objections on the substance of the matter – do not count), then the wording is good. Now we can proceed to writing essay.

What a reflective essay consists of?

It consists of 3 parts:

thesis (that idea, judgment, position that you formulated and which you will prove);

arguments (each of them should serve as a visual, accomplished, and therefore convincing proof of your thoughts);

conclusion (it repeats the thesis, but brings it to a new level with broad generalizations, forecasts, recommendations, etc.).

An optional but desirable part of the reflective assay is a short introduction, the task of which is to engage the reader in a dialogue, to identify the essence and urgency of the problem.

Example. The theme of reflective assay is “First Love …”. It is possible to talk about the first love endlessly (as well as about other questions), therefore immediately we take the first step – we formulate the thesis.

With the thesis “The first love is the most important stage in a person’s life that will affect all future relationships and the personality itself”, the introduction can be: “For teenagers, it becomes the meaning of life, and for adults it causes an indulgent smile. However, in vain parents and acquaintances grin: according to psychologists, first love hides the source of our “adult” happiness and misfortune.”

Main part: arguments, content of arguments

Argumentation in reflective essay should occupy not less than 2/3 of the total volume. The optimal number of arguments for a small (school or examination) essay is three.

The best arguments are widely known historical facts (or not very well known, but which can be easily found in authoritative sources – encyclopedias, reference books, scientific works, etc.). Good evidence will be statistical data, the events under discussion. In school essays, the best argument is a literary work, but not all, but that episode, the story line, the hero’s story that confirm your idea.

To pick up the arguments correctly, mentally each time, pronounce your thesis and ask the question “Why?”

Example. Let’s take another thesis related to the theme “First love” – ​​”To love means to become better”. Why?

Seeking to please another person, we are improving. Argument from literature. Loris, wishing to unravel the soul of Onegin, spends his days in his library reading books, eagerly peering at the notes left by Mark, and reflecting on what she has read. She not only understands, at last, with what person fate brought the two of them together, but she also grows spiritually and intellectually.

Argument can be some personal experience, but remember that such evidence is least convincing and it is well represented in the form of an extension to the main facts, known and authoritative.

Step two. Choose the arguments that support your idea, and arrange them in the following order: “very convincing – convincing enough – the most convincing”.

Conclusion about writing reflective essay

Conclusion deepens the thesis, contains advice, rules, and offers forecasts even if they are not explicit.

Example. The first love, no matter what age it may be, can make a man a tough, ruthless cynic, and an incorrigible romantic, and a realist who does not exclude any opportunities for himself.

The first one will be deeply unhappy: he will not be able to love, which means that he will remain alone. The second one from the absolute optimistic idea of “love forever” often turns to the same pessimism of “no love”. However, only the third one is able to find harmony. To make the number of these people bigger, adults, relatives, friends should be careful and serious about the feelings of teenagers and children.

Common mistakes in writing an essay

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Essay writing is a crucial part of education. Writing an essay may become a challenging task for even a literate writer paper. Not only does it take a lot of effort and inspiration to get started, but it is also very important to keep an eye on grammar, spelling and punctuation.

So, check out the most frequent mistakes essay writer make over and over again in order to avoid them in your own essay:

  • Spelling mistakes occur very often in students’ essay. Students use incorrect homophones (the words that sound the same but have different meanings).
  • Subject-verb agreement. Keep in mind one simple rule: you have to a singular verb with the singular subject and a plural verb with the plural subject.
  • Absence of a comma after introductory phrases.
  • Wordiness. Do not use too many words. It makes your writing unclear and hard to understand.
  • Incorrect usage of commas with a compound subject.
  • Absence of commas around interrupters.
  • Pronoun confusion.
  • Never use double negatives.
  • Titles and names in an essay. Do not forget that titles of book chapters or articles go in quotation marks while titles of books and journals go in italics.
  • Common grammar mistakes. For example, plurals and possessives.
  • Noun-verb confusion.
  • Abbreviations. Never use full stops in abbreviations: NATO not N.A.T.O.
  • Contractions. Remember that academic writing must not contain any contractions such as can’t, don’t, won’t.
  • Using too much information which clouds the main thesis.
  • Inability to follow instructor’s specifications. Make sure you fully understand the topic. The better you understand it, the easier it will be for you to provide a well-written essay.
  • Lack of examples.  Do not forget to illustrate your points or arguments.
  • Dubious structure.  All information, arguments and facts should be presented logically in order to help your readers understand it better.
  • Using too long or too short sentences. If your sentences are too long and complicated than it is rather hard to understand your essay. On the other hand, too short sentences may not reveal your idea to the full extent. Try to find a good balance of them.
  • Not citing. Do not forget to give credit to the author every time you use information from an outside source.
  • Semi-colons. Incorrect using of semi-colons is the most common error. Semi-colons are used to connect two ideas or replace a conjunction or a full stop.

Overall, these points represent some of the most common mistakes students tend to make while writing an essay.  Obviously, it is going to take some time and practice to avoid making these mistakes in the future. However, if you keep this list in mind, writing an essay will become a piece of cake.