What if I write too many words?

This is a question which often interests candidates.

In both Part 1 and Part 2 of FCE Writing, you’re required to write from 140 to 190 words.

First of all, examiners don’t usually count the number of words you write. They don’t have time. But they have an instinct. They mark hundreds of exams and very quickly – without doing a word count – they know if an answer is too long.

And if an answer is too long, you run the risk of a lower score.

  1. You may get a lower score for Content. To get a 5, all content needs to be relevant to the task. If you write too many words, you may be repeating yourself, or going off topic, so an overlong answer might result in a mark of, say, 4 for Content.
  2. Alternatively, you may get a lower score for Communicative Achievement (CA). To get a 3 for CA, you need to hold the reader’s attention. If you write 350 words instead of 190, you may lose the reader’s attention, and therefore get 2 and not 3 for CA.

These are possibilities but they may not apply. If you write slightly more than 190 words, it’s not a big problem. A lot more than 190, however, is a problem. To be honest, it’s best to stick to the word limit.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s