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How to write a paper using APA format style - instructions for beginners

If you are a beginner when it comes to writing a paper using the APA format style, there is one sure way to ensure that you get maximum marks for following the rules. Get hold of an example of a paper using the APA format style and take note of all its requirements. Make a list of these requirements. This becomes a check list so that once you've finished writing your paper, you go through your checklist and make alterations as you go.

Of course you can save a lot of time by locking in the pre-writing requirements before you start to write. Here are those pre-writing requirements.

  • Use standard sized paper such as A4.
  • Use a 1 inch margin on all four margins of every page.
  • Choose Times New Roman as your font and use 12 point as your size.
  • Double space your typing throughout your paper.

Now all of the above requirements which form the foundation of the APA format, can be locked into your word processing software so that you are ready to go before you're ready to go.

Then you need to understand that there are four main sections of your paper when being created in the APA style. Those sections are as follows.

  • Title page.
  • Abstract.
  • The writing or body of your paper.
  • A separate page for references.

Now each of those four sections above have their own specific requirements. But once you have an overall picture of what you need to create it makes so much more sense to operate in the APA style and to remember what goes where. For example, the title page has your title in the centre of the page in the top half of the page. It should not have more than 12 words and if it has more than one line those lines should be approximately equal in length. You will use upper and lower case typing.

Throughout your document you will have what is known as a running header which is an abbreviated form of your topic, especially so if it has up to 12 words, and this will appear on every page along with the page number of your document.

You'll need a separate page for your abstract which is your synopsis or preview of what is to come and when it comes to the body of your paper, the greatest number of words in your paper, you may very well choose to use quotations or references to other sources. This is to be commended. But how you cite these references is important. It will be on a separate page at the end of your paper.

There are numerous free online examples of presenting a paper using the APA format. Study these. Follow the instructions to the letter. Of course the actual writing of your paper is of vital importance but if you are required to present your writing using the APA style, then there is no excuse for you not get it absolutely correct.

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