Assignment Writing

Reflective Essay Writing – A Comprehensive Guide 2024

If your professor assigns you to write a unique and outstanding Reflective Essay, then it will be a brilliant opportunity for you to polish your creativity and writing skills. However, the reflective essay is by some means different and unique from other types of articles that you have written. This type of essay needs the writer’s viewpoint on the subject they chose. This is why, as a student, you need to study a specific topic with your understanding, knowledge, and experience. 

Moreover, reflective essays critically examine life experiences; with proper guidance, they’re relatively easy to assemble. Besides, you have to write a reflective essay like others in the sense that it needs to be easily understood and well structured, but the content you write is more akin to something personal, like a diary entry.

Thus, in this blog guide, we will explore in detail how to write a reflective essay, what makes a good structure, and a few pieces of advice on the writing process.

What is Reflective Essay?

A reflective essay is a type of writing that explores how a historical event shaped the author’s understanding and learning. The author narrates the event in the present tense, highlighting its importance and the insights gained from it.

Before writing a reflective essay, you must be well equipped to communicate about your thoughts and emotions. With the help of this expressive wiring technique, you can gain a unique and better understanding of your history, traits, and personality. From start to end, you have to maintain the flow of your writing so the reader will feel and enjoy the experience themselfs. Additionally, you must verify and justify your responses, sentiments, ideas, and emotions. 

A perfect reflective essay example has creativity, authenticity, and insights. As a student or writer, you need to express your thoughts on a specific topic to encourage and hook the reader to your words.  

Types of Reflective Essay

There are three main types of reflective essay


In this type of essay, you must explore a theoretical concept or idea and relate it to the writer’s experience or observations. For example, you can write a reflective essay about love, justice, happiness, or any incident and how it applies to your life.

Case Study

This reflective essay analyses a specific event, situation, or problem and its influence and implications. For example, you can write a reflective essay about a project you worked on. Discuss all the challenges you faced during this time or a decision you made and what you learned from it, and also discuss future work.

Personal Experience

This type of reflective essay focuses on the writer’s memorable or meaningful experience and reflects on its significance and lessons. For example, you can write a reflective essay about a trip, a book you read, or someone you met and how they influenced you.

Format of Reflective Essay

While writing a reflective essay, the writer will examine their life experiences. Hence, “Reflective’ indicates that the writer examines and evaluates how they have changed or learned from those experiences.” Moreover, the purpose of writing a reflective essay is to offer a platform for the author to narrate a particular life experience and discover how they have changed or learned from those experiences. On the other hand, it conveys how the author’s thoughts have developed and evolved throughout a particular period.

Now, if we talk about the format of a reflective essay, it may depend on the target audience. It can be academic or may be a feature magazine class assignments, etc. Here are some typical reflective writing examples formats that you may have to write:

Focus On Personal Growth

Teachers often use a reflective essay as a strategy for helping students learn how they can analyse their personal life experiences to promote emotional growth and development. It gives the student a better understanding of themselves and their behaviours and helps them make better decisions for themselves. 

Focus On Literature

This kind of essay requires students to deliver a summary of the literature, and how it applied to the student’s life experiences.

Reflective Writing Models

Reflective writing models are frameworks that help students or writers structure their reflective thinking and writing. They usually contain different stages or questions that guide you to analyse your experiences, feelings, thoughts, and actions and to learn from them. There are many reflective writing models, and some of the most common ones are:

Era Cycle

The ERA Cycle is one of the most popular and straightforward models of reflection and contains only three stages:

  • Experience
  • Reflection 
  • Action

This cycle will start with an experience we have been through before or something entirely new for you. Further, the experience can be positive or negative or relate to your work or something else. Once something has been experienced, you will reflect on what happened. This will allow you to think through the experience, examine your feelings about what happened, and decide on the next steps. 

Driscoll’s What Model

Driscoll developed another popular model in the mid-1990s. There are three main stages of this model

  • What?
  • So what?
  • Now what?

By asking ourselves these three simple questions, we can begin to analyse and learn from our experiences. First of all, you should describe what the situation or experience was. This gives a clear idea of what you are dealing with. The next part is to reflect on the occasion by asking, ‘So what?’ – What did you learn from your positive or negative experience?

The final stage asks you to think about the action you will take due to this reflection. It is essential to believe that there may be no changes made in the review and that you feel we are doing everything as we should. This is equally valid as an outcome; you should not worry if you can’t think of something to change.

Jasper’s Model of Reflection

This model has three levels

  • Descriptive
  • Analytical
  • Evaluative.

It helps you move from describing the situation to analysing the factors and perspectives involved and evaluating the outcomes and implications.

Gibbs’ Reflective

This model has six stages: description, feelings, evaluation, analysis, conclusion, and action plan. It helps you reflect on how your feelings and reactions influence the situation. On the other hand, Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle should also reflect on how you can improve your future practices.  

How To Start Reflective Essay?

Writing reflective essays is complex and sometimes confusing. There are lots of college students who find themselves in trouble and think about how to start it. Therefore, we have a list of steps to help you write a better essay. So, go through it and learn how to write a standout reflective essay that will hook the reader’s eyes. 

Choose Your Topic Carefully

Before introducing your reflective essay, you can choose a unique topic. If you need to learn how to do it, the best way is to research trending topics. Also, you have to brainstorm ideas and thoughts in pertinence.

Do Prior Research About Topic 

Before choosing a topic, find out as much as possible about it. Think of all the different things that could happen with that topic. Use the internet to check your facts before learning to write about your thoughts.

Brainstorm Your Ideas

For writing a perfect reflective essay, brainstorming is necessary. It will always be a wise step toward writing an ideal reflective essay. So, when you are done picking up the title and researching, start brainstorming your ideas.

Pick-Up Reflection Questions

The next step is to choose some questions to write a self-reflective essay. Below are some examples to get some better ideas:

  1. What did I observe?
  2. What do I think of it?
  3. Why am I experiencing this?

Answers To All The Questions

Now, it’s time to answer the questions you chose earlier. Begin with a single question at a time, and make sure you answer it correctly without any gaps in the story. Then, go to another one afterwards to complete the section on how to start a reflective essay. 

Follow The Entire Structure

Just like another essay, there is also a reflection essay format. Which includes the introduction, main body, and conclusion paragraph at the end. So, doing these things will help you write your essay better.

How Do You Write a Phenomenal Reflective Essay?

You should follow all these steps to know how to write an effective reflective essay. Let’s survey these steps to write an essay successfully. 

Write an Engaging Introduction

To understand the reflective essay introduction, ensure that it is the first section of a quick explanation of the primary issue and its history. However, at the start of your essay, you will acknowledge the subject and give the reader a thorough review of your impression. You must introduce your essay’s main point in the reflective paper’s opening paragraph. This is the core argument of your writing.

Body Paragraphs

Once you know how to start a reflective essay and write an appealing introduction in the first paragraph, now in the body paragraph, you can support your main statement with pertinent data. The majority of the topics you include in your introductory section are likewise described in the main body of your essays.

Write a Conclusion

In this part, provide a summary and reiterate the statement. This will end all the justifications you have given in the body of your essay. Further, your final and concluding remarks on the subject should also be included in the last. The ending section of your paper should consist of some reflective statements. Include a concluding sentence and any helpful reflections for each article’s conclusion.

Proofread And Edit

Proofread and edit should be one of the essential steps. When you are done with your writing process, then it’s time to submit your essay after proofreading and editing. You spend hours writing a brief essay with much hard work and effort. But still, you need to edit and proofread at the end. There are many essay writing services in the UK that you may use for editing and proofreading.

Final Notes To Remeber

Let’s recap: The motive of writing a reflective essay is to demonstrate what lessons you have taken away from your past experiences. While writing the reflective essay, you must do your best to understand your thoughts about what you experienced. Moreover, you can also think about what you already know or did before and how that affects your point of view. When writing a reflective essay, you must look at your feelings, beliefs and values. Reflective writing can make you feel better and help you see what you are good or bad at and what you need to learn more about. Besides, it also improves your thinking skills, taking a look inside yourself and seeing how you understand things.

If you still need help starting the writing process, try our Best Essay Writing Services, which will help you structure your thinking and ideas and produce a coherent piece that stands out.