Should I ignore the word count rule?


I am a second year University student and am concerned about the rules regarding word counts on various assignments. I am known to go over the word count extensively and consistently.

Now, this has not impacted my grades in my first year due to the work I completed receiving very high marks (75 - 95). However, I recently reread the academic guidelines and I can lose 5 percentage points (i.e. 5 marks) from not complying with the word count.

My main point is that I would much rather do my best work than worry over a word count. I feel I would be missing out on interesting content I comprehensively research if I am limited to 1000 or 2000 words. What do you think I should do - ignore the word count or do my best work and potentially lose 5%?

9 Answers

  • DON W
    Lv 7
    1 month ago
    Favourite answer

    Start by writing your paper, with whatever length it requires for you to address the topic.

    Then go through it again, starting to reduce the word count.  Is that that sentence really necessary?  Can it be shortened?  Did you make the same point several times?  Is there a more concise way to make your point?

    You'll gradually reduce the word count, hopefully to the required maximum number.  In the process, you'll learn how to edit your work, which will probably be a useful skill when you go into the work place.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    The first thing to do is to check with your tutors at your university. Some universities might have slacker attitudes than others.  Even some tutors might have slacker attitudes than other. Some nations might have stricter notions. Etc, etc.

     We are a random collection of respondents, from anywhere in the world. We do not know where you are.

    My personal recommendation is to stick to the rules. Without local knowledge no sane person would recommend differently.  You said it: 'potentially lose 5%'.

  • 1 month ago

    Obey the rules or suffer the consequences and stop whining like a two year old.

  • 1 month ago

    well, it's easy to go over a word count. It actually shows you did less work than everyone else since it's harder to get it down to the word limit, to be succinct, and produce a more polished result. It's easy to just do word vomit all over the page, not hard and shows you did more work like you're thinking.

    You won't usually get the chance to go over a word limit in most things. E.g. in internship applications, job applications, conference abstract submissions, things are more often like Yahoo! Answers in that you can't type beyond the char limit. So, it's up to you what you want to do, 5% isn't a big deduction. But, it's a generous option (accepting a deduction in exchange for not following the rules) that isn't the norm. It's just like this in college sometimes because it's still not real world

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  • 1 month ago

    No. Your "best work" needs to include your ability to self-edit and deliver a thorough and compelling document within the word count.  

    If you are unable to  synthesize and select the best representation of a point from different research sources, that is a skill you need to learn.  The professors have already determine that a complete and accurate essay or research paper can be written within the word-count guidelines the give.  

  • 1 month ago

    You should absolutely comply with the word count. 

    Would you really rather take a 5% (or higher) penalty than follow directions?

    I had a professor that assigned papers not to exceed a certain number of page. If you handed in a paper over (for example) four pages, he would rip off/delete anything more than four pages, and then take off points for failing to include a conclusion, ending the paper in the middle of a sentence, etc. 

    Part of learning to write is learning to write concisely.

    Go ahead and write your paper without worrying about the word count. But after it's finished, go through it and narrow it down, per DON W's advice, until you get to the required word limit. 

    Your paper will be improved, not worsened, by the effort. You'll choose only the most relevant examples, and delete extraneous words and digressions. Sure, on occasion, you'll only be able to include three good examples instead of four, but that teaches you how to analyze your research and choose only the most relevant content. 

  • John
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    In the vast majority of cases, you should stick to the word count.  

    The only time its best to go overboard is if you have one of those rare professors who will complain regardless of what the students do, and regardless of what the parameters for the assignment are.  In that case,  In that case, I would rather get negative feedback tempered by the fact its good work. 

  • 1 month ago

    the word count forces you to prioritize and summarize ... try doing it using those criteria ... it is worth the effort

  • 1 month ago

    Part of what you are supposed to be learning is to express yourself in the number of words allotted. If you ignore the parameters of the assignment, you are not completing the assignment. If you can't do your best work in the allotted word count, your best work IS NOT good.

    Frankly, you could be assigned a score of ZERO and that would be fair.

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