Longer essays may also contain an introductory page that defines words and phrases of the essay's topic. Most academic institutions require that all substantial facts, quotations, and other porting material in an essay be referenced in a bibliography or works cited page at the end of the text. This scholarly convention helps others (whether teachers or fellow scholars) to understand the basis of facts and quotations the author uses to support the essay's argument and helps readers evaluate to what extent the argument is supported by evidence, and to evaluate the quality of that evidence. The academic essay tests the student's ability to present their thoughts in an organized way and is designed to test their intellectual capabilities.
Personal and narrative essays are also composed for different purposes and contexts. A personal essay is often a requirement for college applications, scholarships or other academic honors. Some applications, for example, ask you to write about challenging life experiences, favorite activities or a book that has influenced your life. Writers often compose narrative essays, though, for class assignments in composition or creative writing or submit them to literary journals for publication. Rather than being used as a mechanism to evaluate character, narrative essays are often written for self-expression and entertainment.