3 Simple Tips To Cut Down Your Essay Word Count


There’s usually two main problems when it comes to writing essays: writing enough words, and cutting down on words.


Some teachers give you the option of going either ten percent below, or ten percent above the word count.


But still, it can be tricky.


Down below, we have some simple tips on how you can reduce your word count on essays.


This is what we will be looking at.

'The blame for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet ultimately rests with Friar Lawrence.' Do you agree?


Friar Lawrence’s poor communication is the main reason why Romeo and Juliet committed suicide. Friar Lawrence is from an outer, surrounding town of Verona. He studied alchemy and chemistry for the majority of his life, even going as far as to studying with the Capulets’ own pharmaceutical physician, he was that good. It was ultimately his fault because he was good at medicine and gave Juliet the poison.



1. Get Rid of Unnecessary Info


When it comes to essays, we can over explain ourselves too much but writing too much to reach the word count.


But what happens if there’s too much over-explaining?


Over-explaining usually looks like adding information from the text that has nothing to do with the essay topic.


For instance, if we were writing an essay about Romeo & Juliet, and that prompt is:


'The blame for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet ultimately rests with Friar Lawrence.' Do you agree?


If we were to write a body paragraph in response to this, it should answer the question, not bring up information that has literally nothing to do with it.


An example of a body paragraph with irrelevant information is:


Friar Lawrence’s poor communication is the main reason why Romeo and Juliet committed suicide. Friar Lawrence is from an outer, surrounding town of Verona. He studied alchemy and chemistry for the majority of his life, even going as far as to studying with the Capulets’ own pharmaceutical physician, he was that good. It was ultimately his fault because he was good at medicine and gave Juliet the poison.


The underlined information is completely made up, but it has absolutely nothing to do with what the essay question is asking.


Instead, make sure that everything you’re explaining is connecting back to your main point in the essay question.


Here is an example of what relevant explanations look like:


Eg. Friar Lawrence’s poor communication is the main reason why Romeo and Juliet committed suicide. Friar Lawrence’s intention is sending Romeo a letter about Juliet’s plan to fake her death is foiled, when the letter does not reach him. This miscommunication occurs because of a plague that hit the surrounding cities of Verona, causing letters to brought to a standstill. Much like the mindset of a person in denial, Friar Lawrence refuses to feel guilt for the responsibility he held over Romeo and Juliet’s subsequent deaths. Similarly, his actions is marrying the couple make him just as guilty as his lack of communication.



2. Remove Irrelevant Evidence


On the topic of what’s relevant or not, evidence is a major part of essay writing.


Although, sometimes students tend to include quotes that have nothing to do with the essay question!


This is exactly like asking your friends or parents a question, and them giving you an answer that has nothing to do with what you just asked.


It’s annoying.


So how do we fix it?


Well, the easiest solution is to search up quotes that are relevant to the theme of the essay prompt.


For instance, if the essay question is talking about war as a theme, search up quotes that are about war.


If the question is asking about love, then find quotes that are about love.



3. Shorten Your Sentences


You may think that sentences that go on for ages and ages make it seem like you know what you’re talking about.


In reality, it just frustrates the assessor.


This is because they have no idea what you’re going on about.


In that case, how are they gonna mark you properly?


It also makes your word count blow over the word limit.


To avoid this problem, practise writing your essays with shorter, sharper sentences so that you’re not including any unnecessary words.


If you’re typing up your essays, go over it and edit out the words you think are not needed, or paraphrase that sentence so that it’s shorter and sharper.


This is an example of a sentence that goes on for way too long:


Eg. Friar Lawrence is the reason why Romeo and Juliet both committed suicide because he basically gave Juliet the poison and totally confused Romeo which made them both kill themselves out of despair and love for one another.


That did not make sense.


At all.


Here’s an example of a shorter sentence that does make sense.


Eg. Friar Lawrence’s poor communication is the main reason why Romeo and Juliet committed suicide.


This way, there are less words, but it still makes perfect sense.

Essays can be so annoying to write, especially if you’re not a fan of the text you’re studying.


But once you wrap your head around what you need to include, you’ll be all good to go.


SparkNotes is probably going to be your best friend throughout VCE, but if you’re finding that it’s not as helpful, feel free to check out our website for class times so you can drop in for a visit!


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