The Best Way To Write A Personal Response Essay

January 2, 2023 Martha Simons
personal response essay

Table of Contents

There is a general perception among the masses that academic writing has almost no space for personal opinions and views. This is not true as many mainstream essays, including narrative and descriptive essays, are based on personal experiences and observations with no grounding in academia. The same goes true for personal response essays.

In this blog, we will cover the definition and the process behind writing a good personal response essay. In addition to this, we will also share some practical tips that will help students wade through tricky waters. Students who do not wish to write personal response essays themselves can hire Write My Essay to do the heavy lifting for them!

Personal Response Essay 101

There are many misconceptions surrounding the nature of a personal response. The most common one is that it is a full-fledged assignment. This is simply not true as students are at full liberty to enjoy the subject and then furnish their personal beliefs, likes, and dislikes about it.

In simple terms, a personal response essay is based on the personal opinions and views of the writers regarding a source. That source can be another piece of writing, a movie, or anything. Even though it is based on personal likes and dislikes, it is necessary to cover the bases with reasoning, logic, philosophy, and discipline.

The balancing act in a personal essay is not only to identify and explain a writer’s point of view regarding a subject but to justify it according to the contents of that source. In this sense, it resembles closely argumentative and persuasive essays.

Writing A Solid Personal Response Essay

Many students make the mistake of believing that they do not need a whole process to write a good personal response essay. Since there is nothing to it except personal subjectivity and preferences, they make the mistake of going through the whole assignment without solid planning. Instead, they can make it smoother and more likable by mapping out the whole path. This is what this section intends to do.
Understanding The Subject
There is no point in recording your response to a subject if you fail to understand it completely. So, the natural first step in the process is to read, observe, go through, and understand the subject so that the response will be true to the source. You can also go through other response essays to better understand the dynamics and mechanics of the subject. Once you are done with this step, you will be better able to handle the next step.
Organizing Your Response
This is the main part that many writers skip, thinking it will waste time on their part. On the contrary, if they can map their response by organizing the whole process, they will be able to produce a more riveting piece of writing in their essays. The best way to do so is by researching and outlining the essay at the same time. This step will naturally lead to the writing phase which should not be delayed.
Composing An Introduction
The opening is the most important part of the essay as it helps writers to capture the readers’ imagination and make them crave more. In a response essay, you should assume that the reader has already experienced the subject but missed out on a crucial point. That point can be dressed and polished to make all the difference in the beginning. This will lead to the main body which is the part and parcel of the personal response essay in terms of contents and word count.
Exploring Your Reaction
This section is also called the main body of the essay as it will cover the whats, whys, hows, whens, and who’s of the subject. You get to not only showcase your interests and preferences, but you will also need to provide evidence and proof through direct quotes and references from the source. This is the bulk of the essay but you need to manage it accordingly. Otherwise, it will take more space than it should and constrict it for other sections.
Summarizing Your Verdict
Just like the introduction, the closing of a response essay should ring true to the tone, voice, and contents of the essay. Novice writers often make the mistake of adding new points or exploring new angles in the conclusion. This could not be farther from the standard practice as it throws off the readers’ concentration and focus. The closing lines of the verdict should be catchy and memorable through one-liners and other literary devices since it will be the last thing that readers will read and remember about the essay.
Editing And Proofreading
Once you are done with writing the essay, it is time to set it aside for a while and then approach it with another perspective. The mindset for writing and editing or proofreading an essay should be different. Even when there are no obvious mistakes, there are always novel ways to improve the quality of the essay. Writers can use both their knowledge and online tools to ensure that they are submitting an error-free and consistent piece of writing. Peer reviews are another source to cover bases for quality.

Practical Tips To Excel In Your Response Essay

For novice writers and students, it is not enough to only have a guide on writing a personal response essay. In addition to that, they need solid tips and hacks to ensure that they are on the right track, right from the beginning, among other things. In that spirit, we have added some practical tips and ideas that will help students in quickly conceive and write the ideas for their response essays.

Stick To The Guidelines

Students look for different sources when they are assigned a personal response essay. This is only natural as they want to fill in all the details before starting the task. Unfortunately, this often leads to poor choices and issues as they seek knowledge and advice from people and sources that are not qualified for the role. So, instead of looking here and there for issues, they should stick to the guidelines.

Explore Possibilities & Examples

Personal response essays are not supposed to be written merely based on personal perspective and subjectivity. Rather, personal opinions and views should be strengthened and augmented with empirical evidence and support. Compared to other essay types, they are more straightforward and embedded in the subject to ensure that everything is right on the mark. To do this, writers can explore possibilities and examples from other writers.

Proper Formatting Is A Must

Formatting is often overlooked by writers as something superficial and unnecessary. This cannot be farther from the truth as it is something that should be right on the dollar for the document to be worthwhile. That’s why it pays to research and get a strong command of the proper formatting to ensure that guidelines and the best practices of the industry for excellent writing.

Understanding The Rationale

If we recall the definition of a response essay, it closely resembles a critical essay. The premise here is to go through a subject, a personality, an object, a place, or even another piece of work from a writer and then express your opinions and views about it. That’s why at every step of the process, you need to keep the purpose in mind – telling readers what the subject is all about. Instead of relying on the interpretation of others, you need to come up with an original thought and show its soundness.


How can I write a good personal response essay?

Students are rightfully dreaded when they get the assignment of writing a personal response essay. It is hardly anything they can get to practice beforehand. That’s why we have highlighted the process of writing a solid personal response essay in the blog. Go check it out as it will help you cover all the milestones.

What is a good personal response essay example?

A good personal essay example solidifies its place in the minds of the readers by highlighting and balancing all the elements of the writing. When this is done according to the norms, it leads to better writing and quality of the essay.

What is the best way to introduce a personal response essay?

There is no single best way to open a personal response essay. Often, it starts with a hook that can grab readers’ attention through different literary devices, including a question, a statistic, or a bold or brief statement. After the hook, writers should provide some context to the subject before putting the thesis statement. 

What are the major elements of a personal response essay?

The major elements of a personal response essay are as follows:

  • Main premise
  • Opening
  • Main Body
  • Closing

What is the ideal length for a personal response essay?

There is no standard ideal length for a personal response essay. According to some experts, students should eye for 350 to 750 words to comfortably accommodate the opening, the main body, and the conclusion of the essay. If there is still any confusion, they should consult with the instructors to ensure accuracy.

Can I use the first-person narrative in a personal response essay?

Yes, of course! There is nothing wrong with using a first-person narrative in a personal response essay. Since it is an essay based on your response toward a subject, such as a book, a movie, an article, etc., it is fitting to add a personal touch to the overall format of the essay.

Summing It All Up

A personal response essay is a writer’s subjective approach toward the quality and integrity of a subject. Even though it is embedded with personal opinions, views, likes, and dislikes, it is necessary to cover the bases through evidence and academic support. Since it is a standard practice in colleges and universities, it is natural for students to get stumped when they are assigned a personal response essay for the first time. That is why we have designed this blog to help students check all the boxes.

Still, for those who do not want to go through all the trouble to write a personal response essay themselves, Write My Essay is happy to do all the hard work for them!

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