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10% leeway on essays

I am currently writing an essay, and I am over the word count. Now, I appreciate that a word count is a word count, and I must stick to it. However, I have heard that there is sometimes a 10% or 20% leeway on the word count.

Is this true, or is this a myth?
Reply 1
It is true in some places and not in others (it can change between departments!). Nowhere I've read for a degree allowed this, and only one place I have worked did. By contrast, plenty of users here have encountered this allowance.

Best to check the spec sheet or handbook- failing that, ask a member of staff
(edited 2 months ago)
Original post by LiteraryGeek
I am currently writing an essay, and I am over the word count. Now, I appreciate that a word count is a word count, and I must stick to it. However, I have heard that there is sometimes a 10% or 20% leeway on the word count.

Is this true, or is this a myth?

As above, totally dependent on the uni and department/faculty etc.

Also worth double checking for yourself what the policies are - by way of anecdote another student told me we had a 10% leeway which I accepted as truth (stupidly really) and I just realised that actually being 10% or less over the wordcount is just the threshold for a more minor penalty of 5% off the end grade in my department (well, faculty)! Fortunately it was for a formative essay in my case above but illustrates the point - very variable and you should always check yourself!

It should usually be listed on your department/course handbook - sometimes it may be left to individual module leaders how the manage it in which case you'll need to check the module handbook details.
(edited 2 months ago)
Original post by LiteraryGeek
I am currently writing an essay, and I am over the word count. Now, I appreciate that a word count is a word count, and I must stick to it. However, I have heard that there is sometimes a 10% or 20% leeway on the word count.

Is this true, or is this a myth?

Hi there

I think this would depend on your University. Some courses may offer a 10% leeway, but others may not. I would recommend checking the marking criteria for your assignment to see how much you are allowed over a word count.

I hope this helps.
Chloe
University of Kent Student Rep
Reply 4
Original post by LiteraryGeek
I am currently writing an essay, and I am over the word count. Now, I appreciate that a word count is a word count, and I must stick to it. However, I have heard that there is sometimes a 10% or 20% leeway on the word count.

Is this true, or is this a myth?

I would imagine there will be some leeway (it would be crazy to set a 1500-word essay and give a penalty where the word count wasn't exactly 1500 words), but the specifics will depend on the particular rules in place, which you'll need to check.

10% leeway is probably not unusual, but I'd be surprised to see more than 10%. Remember that answering the question within the the word limit is an intrinsic part of the assessment.
Reply 5
It should state in the Assessment Brief if there is a margin ether way of the stated word count (often 10%), and whether there is a penalty for being under or over the permitted limits. For example, where I am, we have to stop marking once the word count goes over the word count + the permitted 10%.
Reply 6
Original post by martin7
I would imagine there will be some leeway (it would be crazy to set a 1500-word essay and give a penalty where the word count wasn't exactly 1500 words), but the specifics will depend on the particular rules in place, which you'll need to check.

10% leeway is probably not unusual, but I'd be surprised to see more than 10%. Remember that answering the question within the the word limit is an intrinsic part of the assessment.

My undergrad department would penalise 5 marks for every 10 words over the wordcount!
(edited 2 months ago)

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