How to Cite in an Essay- 5 Simple Tricks for Students

How to Cite in an Essay

Written tasks are the most popular tasks students get in college. They usually come with a huge list of requirements and guidelines to follow. You have to research, take notes, organize them on an outline, and cite your sources.

The last step of the writing process is often postponed by students. They might not see citing your sources as something you have to do carefully. 

However, a few points of your grade are awarded if you have managed to follow the requirements. And correctly citing your sources is one of these requirements. Essay writing comes with challenges, but none that you cannot face. Learn how to cite in an essay using these 5 simple tricks. 

5 Simple Tricks for Students to Cite Their Essays

  • Style Guide 

  • Use Modern Tools to Cite Essays 

  • Be Consistent

  • What to Cite and What Not 

  • Citing While Writing

Style Guide 

In your requirements list, you will find a lot of guidelines. You may have recommended sources to read and get inspiration from. You will find requirements for your essay length, but also suggestions on how to write smoothly. And one of the most important requirements many students miss is using the appropriate style guide. 

Depending on the subject you study in college, a certain style guide is recommended by professors. Each of them comes with its rules, so it is important to be aware of the style guide you have to use. The most used ones are APA style (American Psychological Association), Chicago style, and MLA style (Modern Language Association). 

Use Modern Tools to Cite Essays 

Writing essays and papers already takes most of your time. There is a lot of time involved in the research and writing part, so students might not give so much attention to citing the sources they use correctly. Some students even fail to take notes of the sources, so they might end up submitting a paper that is not original.

There are tools you can use to cite your sources and keep track of them. I’ve always taken care to cite my source for every written paper. Ending up plagiarizing is sometimes unintentional, but the consequences are severe. And putting your academic progress at risk is not worth it. 

Be Consistent 

Every student desires to submit an essay that is powerful and gets him a good grade. One of the reasons many students fail to get the maximum grade is because they are not consistent with the chosen style guide. Indeed, it may change depending on the subject and your professor. Which might make you mix their rules a little bit. It is essential to be consistent and make sure you use the same style guide across your whole paper. 

What to Cite and What Not 

As plagiarism is not accepted or tolerated within schools and colleges, some students might go the extra mile and cite excessively. Indeed, you can be expelled or suspended if you are found plagiarizing. But citing excessively will not do any good either. It is important to keep in mind that facts should not be cited. 

For example, it is a fact that the Renaissance period took place from the 14th to the 17th century. So, in this case, there is no need for citations. But this is the only case where you should avoid citations. Whenever you present a new idea, a result from a study or research paper, or anything that is not created by you, you should cite and give credit to those who did it. 

Citing While Writing 

The reason why so many students fail to correctly cite their sources is that they do not note them down as they write. In your essay, you will use a lot of idioms, words, ideas, facts, stats, results, and so on.

Even though you might feel that noting your sources perturbs your writing flow, it might be a matter of habit. You can add comments as you write and cite your sources. In the end, it will be way easier to build your bibliography and add the sources.

Final Thoughts 

Writing is one of the tasks you will have during the study years that help you hone your skills. Not only your writing and communication skills, but also your research, critical thinking, and time management skills. One of the mandatory requirements of every written paper is to cite your sources. 

Plagiarism is not tolerated in any educational institution, so you need to make sure you avoid it at all costs. And citing your sources is exactly the solution for this. Hopefully, these five tips will make the process smoother and will help you use the right style guide, be consistent, and not cite excessively. 

Bio lines: Jeremy Raynolds is a content writer and blogger. He loves spending time in nature, which considers being his muse. Jeremy writes on topics such as writing, productivity, and time management.

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