Reflective writing differs from average papers. Unlike the usual 3rd person singular, a person uses 1st person. Such essays do not demand objectiveness like others. The most important issue here is to introduce a personal viewpoint about some event, person, or notion. A reader is interested in the experience that a writer has received thanks to some crucial factors. Moreover, a narrator evaluates the influence of that factor and how it has changed him or her.
Even though the topic usually regards a concrete student and his or her feelings, it is necessary to follow academic rules. How to start a reflection paper and make the final paragraph strong? This article provides tips and tricks from experienced writers.
If students write a reflection for the first time, there should be someone or something to inform them about the correct performance of the assignment. Senior students use the following BOSWEE method:
Let’s talk about each step.
The first thing to do is to sit with closed eyes. The best ideas come when a person is relaxed and concentrated. One needs to take a piece of paper and jot down everything quickly. After, a student should estimate the provided topics and select the worthy one. Except for personal emotions, a student should mention literature, evidence, and facts. Another essential point is to highlight the importance of the idea.
One should also create a chain of events. A student should begin with a pre-story, then proceed to the most significant event, and finally, conclude what changes he or she has experienced. One should also decide what to share and what to keep a secret. It is not a diary. An educator will read it and might show the writing to others. So, one should be careful when introducing intimate information. A student should better keep details a secret that nobody should be aware of.
It may look like this:
Planning always helps. Its job is to let students imagine how a paper must look like and what things to include. It often happens that students forget to mention something when preparing reflective writing. A good plan prevents silly mistakes and the irrational structuring of paragraphs. Besides, one can trace the logical flow of thoughts, reasons, and consequences.
Each essay has a concrete structure. A reflection paper also has it. There should be an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. How to start a reflective essay? Successful writing catches a reader’s attention with the very first sentence. Moreover, its last sentence leaves a pleasant aftertaste. That is why it is essential to make them sound strong and influential.
Bad example. I met a girl in the subway.
Good example. A weird thing happened to me when I met a girl in the subway.
The first sentence does not impress or stimulate the desire to read. The second sentence intrigues and evokes the desire to find out more about the girl and the things that happen next.
An introduction is a start that pushes to reading. It lets readers learn about the topic, intentions, conclusion, and value of the paper.
A body develops the main theme of the essay and provides strong supporting arguments.
A conclusion summarizes significant moments and changes that a student has experienced.
An introduction and a conclusion should have a hook. These are some common hooks with examples.
When the outline is ready and a person knows what to write about, it will be time to reflect. One should not be in a hurry. Besides, the best paper usually occurs when a writer is inspired. So, one should not create when being tired and unmotivated. Planning might be done in advance, while writing requires a fresh mind after rest or good sleep.
An essay must not be long. As a rule, it has to be about 300-700 words (up to three pages). Each sentence must contain precious information for the target audience. One can compare personal experiences and feelings with those of others. Life samples of outstanding people or quotes might fit best this purpose.
If you are stuck in the beginning, use the starting phrases and clichés to make it easier
Evaluation is a critical point of writing. To make sure that everything fits university requirements, one should make up a check-up list:
Is my paper interesting?
Is it precise and to the point?
Is it logical?
Does it show how I have changed?
Does it provide any value to the reader?
Is there anything to improve?
One can also ask senior students or professional writers to evaluate it. Independent meaning is as precious as the writing process itself. Besides, an expert can send a report with useful suggestions and hints.
The last step is to check the paper. Grammar, lexical, and formatting mistakes might result in poor grades. A high-level paper must have zero mistakes. Professionals usually use several tools to improve the quality of the written text.
|Grammarly||a good grammar checker. It shows errors and suggests improvements. One should not completely rely on it because the system follows a pattern while humans analyze information before correcting something.|
|Hemingway||improves the readability by letting users simplify sentences and delete unnecessary words.|
|CiteThisforMe||is a perfect tool in the creation of formatted citations.|
|PlagScan||detects plagiarized sentences, so a person can paraphrase them to make the text unique.|
Students should also take into account vocabularies such as WordHippo and Thesaurus to avoid repetitions and monotonous expressions.
Even though it is a reflection, a person should not turn it into something too private. The main goal is to analyze an event and a key personality to show how they have changed the author. So, he or she relies on experience to understand the current changes.
|Another mistake is disorganized writing.||Students write such essays when ignoring outlines and academic requirements that concern a structure.|
|Informal or reflective does not mean free writing.||Students often forget to use proper lexical units. They overuse jargon and collocations. One should keep in mind to preserve a formal academic tone.|
|Reflection is not expository writing.||A student should better describe than tell. The description helps to convey one’s feelings and lets a reader take the author’s position.|
The last recommendation is to focus on one experience instead of introducing an autobiography. Only significant moments are essential and valuable for readers.