Answering Essay Questions In Apa Format

Here's how to format questions and answers in APA format:

  • Begin your question on a new line and type number 1 followed by a period. 
  • Type the discussion question in Times New Roman font, 12 point size.
  • Use double spacing and one inch margins.
  • Separate your answer from the question by beginning your answer on a new line.
  • Continue to use the same formatting for fonts and spacing that you used for your question.

Continue the list of questions on a new line and type number 2 followed by a period. Align the number 2 under the 1.

Example question and answer in APA format:

1.   What year was slavery abolished in America?

Slavery was officially abolished in the United States in 1865, although many states abolished slavery for themselves at

various dates between 1777 and 1864.

Thank you for using ASK US. For more information contact your campus librarians.   

From an on-line search of APA style guides it appears that the APA style-guide is set up for research papers that would include a title page and abstract.

It appears though that most universities that I searched either had a defined page count before an abstract page was needed or said to check with the course instructor.

These are just a sample of some;

At this private college the exceptions from an abstract are where,

  • Smaller essays (3 pages or less)
  • Informal writings (in almost all instances, the paper will be 3 pages or less).
  • Papers over 3 pages in length that are formatted in APA style but do not contain a citation or reference.

At Western Oregon University they have two sample papers, one for a short paper (without abstract) and one for a formal paper (with abstract)

Lastly ,as an example, these two colleges Capital Community College and Empire State College state that the student should check if an abstract is needed.


Check with your instructor to see if an abstract and/or keywords are required elements of your paper.

Empire State

Be sure to ask your mentor whether or not s/he requires an abstract.

So while it appears that APA does not have any special short paper format it appears , from samples above, that institutions either have a formal policy or leave it to the discretion of the instructor.

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