A Few Things To Keep In Mind When Formatting a Term Paper


The first thing that you need to acknowledge when formatting a term paper is knowing which side you belong to: Modern Languages Association (MLA) or American Psychological Association (APA). Knowing these two formats are very crucial to completing your papers especially when you are taking courses from both the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Other than identifying your format here are ten things to keep in mind when you are formatting that term paper:

  1. Font: Regardless of the style guide that your paper will fall under, you are charged with the task of using a consistent font style and font size throughout your paper. The font you choose must be easily legible. Many professors prefer Times Roman size 12 or 14 font. If you change the font style and size for your headings, keep it consistent.
  2. Margins: There should be margins to all sides of your paper, the top, bottom, the right and the left. The margin is usually set at one inch all around.
  3. Numbering: Your pages should be numbered in the upper right corner of your paper, using header. Please note that when using the MLA format, your last name is usually placed in front of the number.
  4. Indentation: Your paragraphs should be indented. Indentation should be one inch from the margin you created on the left side of the paper. Please note that the Tab key is not necessarily an effective one inch margin.
  5. Title Page: A title page is necessary and should bear the following information: title of your paper, name of your institution, your name and the professor’s name. In some instance, a teacher may request you include the due date and course code.
  6. Abstract: An abstract is necessary if you are using the APA format. This gives a synopsis of your work, without going into details.
  7. Spacing: Your term paper is to be double spaced throughout.
  8. Table of Content: Include a table of contents where necessary to serve as a quick guide to the different parts of the paper.
  9. References: Don’t forget your reference sheet. This should be done in alphabetical order according to the authors’ last name.
  10. Teacher: Your professor’s word is law. Do as they say.

If you follow the guidelines given above, you will find it much easier to complete your term paper using the correct format. It will also save you having to do it over, if your professor doesn’t approve your idea of formatting.