Experience with APA

As I’m working on my degree in English I am also working for a psychology minor, which means that every few semesters I’ve had to take one psychology class or another. This semester I chose to take Cognitive Psychology because it sounded like it would be a fun class. And it has been. The content is very interesting and it’s fairly easy to stay attentive during class.

But then came the term paper.

Seemed easy enough. The only requirements were that it be written about something from the field of cognitive psychology, with a length of 7-10 pages and at least three academic sources. Those are some fairly simple requirements. Nothing I haven’t done before. In fact 7-10 pages has become a normal amount for most papers I end up writing for classes. And then he dropped the bomb that it had to be written in APA, style and formatting.

That was something new. All I knew about APA was that it was a way of formatting papers that was different from MLA, which was the only format I had ever used or studied. So when he not only asked for that format but also that style, I freaked! I didn’t know anything about this. I hadn’t even known that there was a specific style of writing that went along with the format.

This lack of knowledge catapulted this paper into the position of the hardest I had ever written. I wanted to do really good on the paper but I was constantly caught up in the logistics of APA. I had to learn how to cite both for the references page and in text. I had to learn how to add a heading that changed from the first page to the rest, which is not easy. I had to figure out what was meant by APA style and how to write like that. I worked diligently on the paper but still felt very unsure when I turned it in. As I was writing I was constantly second guessing every single word I was writing, wondering if I was doing this right.

After several nights of little sleep I had to call it quits and turn in what I had. Partially because I had run out of time but also because I would have driven myself crazy trying to perfect a paper that I felt like I knew nothing about. As cognitive psychology is the last psychology class I will be taking, it is nice to be done with APA and back in my natural habitat of MLA.



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