What is a Reflective Essay Paper?

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A reflective essay paper includes a description of an experience or a process followed by a personal reflection and evaluation of that experience, such as what went wrong, what could have been better or what worked well. Write a reflective paper, which is more than just storytelling, with information from a standardized test prep instructor in this free video on education.

Part of the Video Series: Education: English, Math & Teaching
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Video Transcript

Let's take a look at how to write... or let's take a look at what is a reflective essay. So reflective essay, again that's a word that sometimes people might be kind of daunted by, they don't know what it means. But it's really pretty simple. It means that you're going to reflect on something that you've done. A lot of times like in high school this is going to be like the my summer vacation essay. Where you're going to reflect on something or a trip you had you know to Arizona or something like that. The key with a reflective essay is that it's gotta be more than story telling. It's gotta be more than just what happened. You're going to tell what happened. You're going to give information. You're going to give details. The more details the better... they make a powerful essay. But, to make it a reflective essay, we're going to go beyond that. You're going to evaluate the experience. You're going to say what worked, what didn't work. What you enjoyed, what you didn't enjoy. You can even say what would have made it a better trip. What would have made it a better experience. By the way this isn't just the my summer vacation essay. This is what scientists do at the end of an experiment. At the end of a long process. They'll write a reflective essay or even a book on the experience, what they did, what they could have done better, what they could have done differently. What affected their research. Okay... you're also going to give... so you're going to give your opinions about the experiences. What's going to make this a really great paper when you write it is you're going to make sure that you're opinions are directly related to the experiences that you had. So for example, in the essay, you're going to describe an experience, and then you're going to say your opinion on that. And teachers really appreciate it when you connect the two. So rather than just giving experiences that you don't talk about, and even worse, rather than just giving opinions about things you haven't even talked about... you're going to describe an experience and then reflect on it and that's the perfect reflective essay.


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