Writing an essay is one thing, but formatting it correctly can be another thing entirely. With MLA, APA, and even the Chicago Manual of Style formats, you have a lot to keep track of, and it is changing all the time. This is a headache even after you have done writing, which was supposed to be the hard part! Even if you get the technical formatting right, there are a lot of unspoken rules about how essays are supposed to work that no one bothers to tell you. Having someone explain this all to you can get really confusing, same thing with a tutor. The best way to learn how to write an essay is to read an essay, so consider finding a sample term paper.
The thing about the sample you find is that it does not necessarily have to do anything with the essay you are trying to write. It is just a sample after all; matching it is nothing more than a nice bonus. Finding sample essays is not difficult either; they are all over the internet. You can even find one in a particular format by doing a couple of quick searches on MLA format or whatever you are using. Some simple use of search engines or writers websites will end up giving you all you could desire.
Formatting the essay itself is likewise simple. Since the actual words you write do not matter, you do not need to do anything more complicated than looking at the sample paper and copying the format over. Look at the indentation. Make sure the font size is the same, and while you are at it use the same font. Print both of them out and ensure that your margins and line spacing match exactly, and make sure that everything is block adjusted. This will ensure that you have an essay that sends the right kind of message to your instructor.
Beyond that, there are informal cultural norms when writing essays that might not be obvious at first. It is quite easy to write an essay with an awkward turn of a phrase or using poor form to frame an argument. These are the things your professors can tell you, and often no one will think too. You know this has happened when you read your work and feel something is wrong, or off. The only thing to do is to practice at this, and reading sample essays can help a lot. This is because you can see what is wrong and adjust appropriately.
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