A perfect essay consists of many things that a professor or a reader will be looking at besides its argument. For instance, there is the formatting of the document to make it appear scholarly.
The formatting has to use the right form of in-text citations, and the reference page should have the right spacing and alignment for the selected style. There are additional issues that make a scholarly paper ready for submission, and you should know them to safeguard your grades.
Moreover, a well-formated paper has a better chance of marking and getting a grade while a poorly formatted paper would face outright rejection.
Know the Differences Between APA and MLA
The most common styles for referencing and formatting are APA and MLA, with each of them being suitable for particular subjects. Philosophy papers will mostly demand the use of MLA while sociology and psychology papers mostly go with the APA format.
There are additional styles that are specific to particular subjects and are not very popular. They include Harvard, Chicago/Turabian, ASA, AMA, and IEEE, among others. You can get guides to read about the difference between MLA and APA referencing so that you avoid the confusion grappling most students. The guides will also let you write different essays and format them in either style as part of your practice.
Integrate Ideas with Different Citation Formats
The next thing to building a good essay would be to attribute the sources of your ideas or arguments in an appropriate manner. For instance, when picking an idea from a novel, you might have to write the author and page in your citation when using both APA and MLA, since you are getting a direct quote.
However, if you are paraphrasing, then the author and year for APA or the author and page for MLA will suffice. Other finer details also emerge as you look at the reference pages, your subheadings, and your overall arrangement of ideas. APA papers mostly need you to start with an introduction without specifying a subheading while it might be necessary to have that in the MLA paper.
Have a Personal Tutor
You can use guides and grasp the basics, but you also need lots of practice. A good way to have that is by getting someone to assign you topics to write about and then take you through the marking process. That way, you do spend too much time learning about the style without knowing the key things to apply in your specific assignment.
Remember that assignments will come in various types, and they will have unique requirements. A tutor takes you through these specific situations to avoid additional confusion. Think of it as getting an insider’s secret to a perfect grade.
Take Assessment Tests
If you are not the type to rely on a tutor, then assessment tests could be your thing. You will go through different perfect and imperfect uses of APA and MLA, and you will have to point out the mistakes. The test determines your readiness for using either style for your assignment. It gives you marks based on items you got correct and the importance of the items to the overall look of the paper.