At the core of a well constructed reaction and reflection essay is a detailed, thought provoking account of a particular experience, in addition to a re-evaluation of that experience after it has taken place. By understanding the fundamental attributes that contribute to an insightful reaction and reflection essay, you’ll be able to write yours with power and strength.


Before you begin working on your reaction and reflection essay, establish a focus and overall direction. Decide on an experience you’re going to write about, and ensure that the experience you choose inspired and influenced your life in a substantial way. Whether you’d like to focus on your high school graduation, a thrilling sporting event or a presidential inauguration, keep the reasons why the experience was so powerful at the forefront of your mind.

The Moment

Describe in detail what your feelings were the moment your focus experience occurred. If you decide to focus on a negative experience, like watching your favorite politician fall during a campaign event, clearly express your feelings of shock, worry and horror. If you immediately called the police or a loved one upon living through your focus experience, include this in your essay in order the severity the situation possessed. Also, outline details such as exactly where you were, what time it was and who else observed the situation.


Expose your reader to your interpretation of your focus experience now, some time after the incident has taken place. You may have a drastically different interpretation of your focus experience now that you are removed from it, and elements to which you were blind during the moment you may see now more clearly. If you’ve found out that your brother cried after kicking the winning championship field goal, but you weren’t able to see that while you were in the stands, for example, it may alter your feelings about the experience as a whole.

Overall Feeling

Before you complete your reaction and reflection essay, provide your reader with your overall feelings and interpretation of your focus experience. Work off of and integrate all the points you’ve made so far in your essay to form a concrete position on what the experience was, how it influenced you and what your current feelings are about living through it. It’s entirely possible and expected that the act of writing your reaction and reflection essay will develop and heighten your connection to your focus experience. Before finishing, you should explain why.