APA Essay Reference Page Formatting: A Guide For Dummies

As you get older, the writing assignments you receive in school start to get more in-depth, and they start to have more criteria that you have to meet. It is no longer just about what you are writing and if there are spelling errors or not. You have to follow a certain format and adhere to the rules of that format. Now, there are many popular, and some not-so-popular formats that are used across the country. The two most popular formats are MLA format and APA format. In the beginning, most schools start with teaching and requiring students to follow the MLA. Once you get to college, it will vary depending on the class, but APA is the preferred essay writing format.

The reference page is the last page of the assignment. It is a separate page where you list all of the sources that you used in the text of the paper. Even this simple page has to follow the formatting rules you had to obey throughout the whole assignment. Here are some of the main things that you need to know about and APA style reference page.

  • The section head should say REFERENCES.
  • The page or pages need to be double space with the exception of the second or third lines of a single source.
  • The entries need to be in alphabetical order by the last names of each of the authors.
  • Unlike other formats, you need to list the full first name of the author instead of just the initials.
  • If a source has more than one author, instead of using the words and, put et al instead.
  • Indent the second or third lines of the entries.


  1. Book (one author)
  2. Full author name (last name then first name). TITLE OF THE BOOK IN CAPS AND ITALIZICED. Publishing City: Publisher name

  3. Scholarly Journal
  4. Full name (last then first). Year. “ARTICLE TITLE IN ALL CAPS AND IN QUOTES.” Title of the journal (in all caps except for prepositions and italicized) Volume number: Page number(s) used as the source.

At the end of the day, if you get a good feel of the rules of APA format, then you should not have any problem. Turn the rules of APA into a checklist that you keep in your mind throughout the entire writing process. And when it comes time to edit your work, just go down the list and see if you met the criteria for this format.