Academic

Reflective Essay: Ace it with this Simple Guide

Reflective essays can be confusing. They don’t have a set pattern and differ from your conventional academic essays. But that shouldn’t scare you away. Their treachery can easily be overcome! Here are some ways to ensure that even a bobble head can pen down an excellent reflective essay!

Here are some simple tips that we at inkmypapers have been using to write the perfect reflection.

Reflective Essay

Wonder what this evokes in me?

 

What is a Reflective Essay?

First things first. You can’t expect to get a good grade or even delve into the process of acquiring it if you don’t understand what a reflective essay is.

As the name of the essay denotes, you got to REFLECT!

Your face does not tell your whole story, there is so much more to you than what it shows. The bruises and scars are just the surface, the story behind how you got them and what you learned from each encounter needs to be brought to the forefront.

So do not go into writing a reflective essay thinking that all you need to do is to describe your experience. The main gist of a reflective essay is in reflecting. As a general guide, 30% description, 70% reflection.

 

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Always plan ahead

Perhaps the most important first step for any essay is good planning and outline.

It may sound easy to jump into the writing because well, it’s basically your perception shaped by an experience right? But you have NO idea how confusing it will get because you won’t understand where to go next, your points will be clustered, incoherent and lack depth.

In the outline, you must:

  • Work backwards by first outlining the lessons learnt

After receiving numerous reflective essay assignments over the course of 7 years, we at inkmypapers have discovered a worrying trend. Most of the reflective essays do not actually want you to reflect. What they want is for you to craft a reflection that ultimately states how you have learnt certain lessons that are related to the module being taught.

This is why we suggest this very controversial point: work backwards. If the purpose is for you to reflect on what you have learnt during the module, work backwards by first identifying a few lessons that are related to the module that you want to reflect on.

Important to note that you do not state lessons that are not related to the module! If it’s an accounting module, do not start talking about leadership skills that you have acquired during the course of doing the accounting group assignment.

 

  • Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle

Once you have identified the lessons learnt, go through the steps in Gibbs’ reflective cycle. It is important that every step is followed religiously!

Gibbs' Reflective cycle

 

The Reflective Essay Structure

The good and the bad thing is that there isn’t a set structure for these kinds of essays. However, recent trend has schools suggesting a guideline for reflective essay. If your school does not provide you with a structure, here are the two most common structures you can follow.

Structure 1

  1. Introduction that identify key learning areas
  2. Describe each key learning areas (by describing, I mean going through the Gibbs’ reflective cycle). One key learning area per paragraph.
  3. Conclusion

Structure 2

  1. Introduction that identify key learning areas
  2. Describe each key learning areas by going through the Gibbs’ reflective cycle, but leaving out the action plan
  3. Action Plan
  4. Conclusion

 

Some reflective essay examples

more-examples-01

Alas, not showing any reflective essay examples for a blog post on writing a reflective essay is a crime. Here are some examples taken from reputable schools in the UK and Australia.

Essay Example 1

Examples from University of New South Wales

Example from University of Canberra

Several different examples of reflective writing

 

Need further tips?

If you need further help on writing a reflective essay, or think we have left out on some crucial points about reflective essay, you can always get to us through our contact page.

 

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